It’s easy for people to confuse writing and storytelling, but they’re different. Although the two are related, they’re more like kissin’ cousins–similar genetically, but different enough to allow them to get married. 

The differences stem from how we learn how to write as opposed to tell stories. Writers learn their craft through a rigorous education process that requires many steps and the first one isn’t even writing…it’s reading. Before writers can learn to write, their brains must first be trained to recognize and interpret the meaning of symbols such as letters and numbers. Only after learning to read do writers learn the rules for manipulating those symbols to represent their thoughts on cave walls, in newsprint, or on computer screens.

Storytellers, on the other hand, learn their craft informally and at a much younger age. Rather than having a prerequisite step, like learning to read, their education begins immediately as they listen to family members talk about adventures or read stories to them. These intimate moments teach children the power of connecting with others through shared experiences.

It’s time for the kissing cousins to meet. Writing meet storytelling. Storytelling meet writing.

I’ll leave the two of you to talk.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress