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Monday, July 8, 2013

The secret to being a successful storyteller is...

Commons Beach, Tahoe City, CA.
By Ted Slowik

Howdy Blues Musings readers! I've been out West since I last wrote, staying cool in scorched Reno (high, 102F). We spent the Fourth of July in Lake Tahoe, which is on the beautiful side of the Sierra Nevada. I was having too much fun to blog but if you want to get caught up on the trip you can stitch together the story from my Twitter, Instagram and Vine feeds.

For you new readers, Blues Musings is a lot of things: journal, diary, historical record, soapbox, instruction manual and advice column. It tends to tie in to music most of the time and invariably involves something in which I've participated. Namely, life.

Topics may range from artists whom I've seen or heard perform, friends whose work I support, writers I've read, creative types I've read about, and a lot of other things. I tend to write more about people I've met than those whose work I've admired from afar, but the rules are pretty loose.

Rule No. 1: There are no rules.

If I don't feel like writing for a week, there will be no new posts. I'm not paid to do this. These writings are more for my benefit than for yours. Which brings us to today's topic: songwriting.

I once read someone's advice to aspiring songwriters. The person said if you want to become a better writer, you should write every day.

I could not disagree more.

I believe you should not write unless you have something to say.

Maybe instead of practicing your writing you should go practice some living.

I get the point about practicing. The same is true for music. Practice, practice, practice. Practice makes perfect. Doctors practice medicine. I hope the doctors who see me have plenty of practice!

I get how practice makes you a better musician or more skilled in the use of language. But practice doesn't make you a better storyteller. Telling stories makes you a better storyteller. As in orally relating events that have happened. Verbally communicating a tale to one or more other person. Telling it like it is.

It's that simple.

That's all I wanted to say today.