As we got older, my family, being the goofballs we are, decided that on rainy days we needed something to do that was not shooting bows and arrows in the house. We live in tornado alley and watching the TV for warnings is important, but keeping us kids still long enough for them to look at the TV for warnings was hard. For those of you not in tornado alley, warnings are given on a small map in the corner of the screen, and they will scroll the written warning across the top or bottom of the screen. 

What was the solution? Oral storytelling to the National Geographic channel. In case you do not know what that is, at the time, it was mostly animal documentaries. They would turn the volume all the way down, and you had to “talk” for the animals and tell the story of what was going on from what you could see. It was made up, on the spot, and most times, you had no idea what was about to happen. 

It was a great way to enjoy family time, and we had hours’ worth of giggles. Sometimes we made the animals play tag. Other times the monkeys threw bananas because they wanted ice cream. It didn’t really matter what they were doing, the point was to take the information and make some kind of sense out of it. Did it always make sense? No, but that’s OK. You learned what worked, and what didn’t. Most importantly, you are forced to keep going with a story even if there were loose ends and parts that made no sense. 

Now, you are likely asking why that is important. The answer is simple. You have to learn to get over perfectionism when you write the first draft of a story. There will be loose ends, mistakes, things that make no sense and need cut, and more. It’s OK. The first draft can be messy, but if you do not learn to keep going, you will never make it to the end of your story. That is what “talking for the animals” taught me. 

I challenge you to let go of your fears and concerns about getting it to write, and just enjoy the moment. You can practice with TV shows, movies, youtube videos, etc. My kids especially like transformers and dragon cartoons. 

I would love to hear about your experiences! Did you try this? Have you learned to reach the end of your story another way? What helps you the most? What do you find most difficult?