Why can’t I tell a story?
When I’m talking to someone, whether it be through verbal conversation, email, or through IMs I have absolutely no problem expressing exactly what it is that I mean to say. As long as there’s another party to the conversation I’m completely fine expressing my ideas. I feel confident, smart and comfortable. I can keep focussed.
When I try to express an idea through writing (such as this) I can’t seem to assemble simple ideas no matter how hard I try. In fact, the harder I try the worse I become. It’s completely crippling to me to the point that I feel like I’m missing some sort of storytelling gene.
Does anybody else face this type of problem, or maybe the exact opposite? Any recommendations?
I can write a letter without much of a problem as long as my aim is clear and my audience defined but if I’m unsure of who the reader is then I’m a bumbling idiot.
Perhaps you’re just imagining the problem? Your OP seemed clear enough to me.
Many people consider themselves worse (sometimes much worse) at speaking / writing / socializing / thinking than how others actually judge them.
Alternatively, perhaps you got lucky and your OP was a fluke. In which case, all I can suggest is: practice. Conversational English (spoken or written) and Formal English are different beasts, certainly. But I think that proficiency in either, plus practice, should allow for proficiency in the other. Many people don’t get the chance to practice formal/instructional/expository writing very often once they leave school; maybe you’re just rusty.
I will admit to being confused about how you’re using the word “storytelling,” though. Your examples of things you’re good at sound more like storytelling to me than the examples you give of things you’re not. But that’s a nitpick, I think your point is clear.
Considering that 99% of what I’ve read on the internet (excluding the Dope, of course!) is not even half as clear, concise and readable as your post, I’m not sure why you think you have a problem. If the OP is an example of how you write when you’re being a “bumbling idiot”, then you can relax because it’s not noticeable to anyone who isn’t you.
“Storytelling” I used because it’s more of a one sided monologue type thing.
I tend to shy away from telling stories where input isn’t required from the listener. The same is true of telling jokes. I’ll only tell a joke if the punchline is short.
This topic came up because I went to reply to another post in another thread. I found myself deleting everything I’d written and trying to start over again until I gave up altogether. This is pretty much the rule with me rather than the exception.
I couldn’t figure out how much of my response should directly pertain to what the person is asking. I can’t respond without qualifying myself somehow and then I find myself telling my own story. Depending on the topic, it’s hard to keep my own story short and sweet. I soon find myself in for more than I’d bargained for and abandon the thing altogether. It’s like I can’t stay focussed when I’m left to my own devices, but if it’s a straightforward conversation where responses are immediate, I’m fine.
I do the same things. If you bothered to look at my posts you would see that I jump in to a conversation if I think I have something useful to add. Sometimes it may be something I’ve read or heard, or some event that has happened to me. I hope that it makes my posts interesting. Sometimes however I start concocting a post and decide I am starting to sound like an idiot, far to full of my own importance and just don’t bother posting.
I did it a couple of days ago but can’t recall the subject. It just seemed my point wasn’t worth the preamble and the post read like part of an autobiography. So I didn’t bother posting it.
I could do the same with this one - it’s all about me.
Write down what you’d say if you were talking.
Not easy, I know, but don’t let the medium get in the way. (I imagine it’s harder if you don’t touch type, since the writing process involves thinking about what keys to press.)
What you are describing to me strikes me as a validation issue. If you can convey your point when you have a. a target and b. someone responding and lose it when those two things are missing, I would guess that it really is a confidence issue you have. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who says NOTHING until you are done talking? My mother does this if she is being bitchy about the subject (i.e. my husband) and I always think I’ve dropped the call. My response is usually to continue discussing the subject she doesn’t like (i.e. my husband) until she is well annoyed. A tangent, sorry. But essentially, those “uh-huh” “yeah” “oh really” play the role of letting the other person know you are listening and that you give a shit. Perhaps without that, you think that the anonymous or group effect is that they really don’t give a shit about you or what you are saying.
Work on it and you can be like me, who always ends up saying far more than anyone could give a shit about.