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Spring Cleaning for Storytellers!
By: Storyteller Joe Paris


You there, Storyteller ! Put aside whatever plans you had for the rest of the morning or afternoon or evening and read on - and then do some serious Spring Cleaning ! Your success as a Storyteller may depend on it !

I am talking about a Spring Cleaning of your Storyteller’s Mind and Heart and Body and Soul, of course, not your home (though that area might need your attention this Spring as well ! ).

The concept of Spring Cleaning is the same no matter what: clear out those things that are no longer a useful part of your storytelling (so many tellers just keep doing the same old things), discard old ways, bring in new ways (this takes work ! ), add on things of value for you as a teller !

Here’s a brief guide you can use to get started with your own Storyteller’s Spring Cleaning, but it’s up to you to explore other avenues as well and finish this essential task ! There’s not a moment to lose !

FIRST: Re-think your most basic goals as a Storyteller. Do you have measurable goals? (Remember: "That which is measured gets done." - Mozart (Mose) Bernard, philospher (1901-1983)).

My Uncle Mose Bernard - our family’s Storyteller and philosopher - always encouraged us to choose goals that were neither too difficult (these kinds of goals cause frustration) nor too easy (these kinds of goals don’t require us to do our very best).

So when setting goals this Spring for your Storytelling year, give yourself a deadline and measureable targets of some kind:

- What kind of money (exact amount) would you like to make by Memorial Day?
- How many tellings would you like to do by Labor Day?
- What Spring and Summer and Fall events at which you’d like to tell stories do you need to apply to NOW instead of waiting until its too late?
- How many new stories would you like to add to your repertoire by July 4th?

SECOND: Do you have a mission statement? In other words, what kind of Storyteller do you most want to be? It’s always amazes me when folks complain about the lack of work for storytellers yet can’t articulate who they are as a Storyteller !

Answer for yourself (so that you will able to answer for your potential employers) just why you do storytelling. Why do you love it? What motivates you? What is your vision of your own personal Storytelling Uptopia?

Many potential emloyers (schools, libraries, museums, children’s centers, fairs, Nursing homes, colleges, State and National Parks) also want to know what KINDS of stories you enjoy telling the most or specialize in and why - so you must have thought through this question before you attempt a made-up-on-the-spot answer. Savvy administrators can see through lack of preparation in a skinny minute !

THIRD: What are ten things you could do differently that would make you a better Storyteller?
- More reaserch?
- Adding more physicality (gesturing, voice variation, movement of whole body, facial expressions) to your tellings?
- Involving the audience more in your tellings (making them more interactive)?
- Adding another skill (singing, playing a musical instrument, juggling, magic?) ?

How do you get from where you are now to where you want to be as a Storyteller? How do you close that gap? Do you need to create or join a Storytellers’ Guild in your area?

Sean Buvala and the folks at offer so much help on this very site that he can either answer almost any question you may have or point you in the right direction to find out some possible answers to ANY of these questions. Just ask !

So quick ! there’s not a second to lose ! Get started on your Storyteller’s Spring Cleaning now ! Your Storyteller’s Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul will thank you for it !

- (c) 2004 by Joe Paris. Reprinted with permission by the author, who wishes to thank the folks at for performing some serious Spring Cleaning of their own recently by re-vamping and improving the site ! Bravo !

Author Information:
Name: Storyteller Joe Paris
The contents expressed in any article on are solely the opinion of author.

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