One of the most enjoyable parts of my work is interviewing people about their story. You can see the questions we follow here.
My role is mostly to act as a facilitator. When you’re digging around unsupported in your own story it’s easy to get a bit… lost.
Most of the time one of two things will happen:
1. People rush through too quickly
When you rush you tend to say what happened, but not how you felt about it. The real gold is in exploring how you felt in a vulnerable way. Or even better, how you feel now looking back.
There’s also a tendency among logical people to provide short descriptions, or take detail for granted. The real gold lies in detailed descriptions. When you work through the process by yourself you tend to second guess yourself out of long descriptions.
2. People get lost in the story
Navigating around in your story is like wandering around in the Minotaur’s labyrinth. You tend to forget where you started, or where you were trying to get to. The risk is you go too far down a rabbit hole that isn’t actually very interesting.
It’s often difficult to tell which parts of your own story are important. It’s easier for someone like me as an objective third party. I have a tiny bell in my brain that goes “ding ding ding” when you stumble onto a rich vein.
When I feel someone has become lost I’ll normally bring the focus back to the last major turning point we discussed. Sometimes you have to retrace your steps before you can carry on.
When done correctly, the Story Map process props up your writing for a long time, whether or not you do the writing yourself. It gives you the raw material to work with so you’re never scrabbling around for things to say.