A story is told as much by silence as by speech. | Susan Griffin The other day I came across an article written by Steve Slaunwhite on how to be a better copywriter. His opening paragraph made me laugh.

You slave over your copy, writing powerful headlines and body copy that sizzles. You cover all the salient selling points and describe the product features and benefits in a compelling manner. Then, once you've completed your masterpiece, your graphic designer comes back to you and says, “The text doesn't fit into the layout. It's too long. Can you cut it?”

We’ve all been there.

As writers, we spend our lives filling our toy boxes with words – big and little, simple and sophisticated, snarky and refined. We have a soft spot for the thesaurus, and most of our friends dare not go up against us in a game of Scrabble. Words are what we do – and what we love.

Great writers are as skilled at listening as they are at speaking. They don’t let the words mute the message. They know when to reel in an overzealous adjective, just like they know the importance of holding out for the just-right verb. (Which often shows up in the middle of the night, waking them from a dead sleep.)

The greatest writers are also gifted storytellers. Sometimes their message is conveyed in words - other times, the white spaces in between.

But there is a difference between being a great writer and a great storyteller. Great writers share great words with the world. Great storytellers carry great stories to the world.

This week I discovered an amazing video on Vimeo. The Adventures of a Cardboard Box. It tells a wordless story that says more than any script could. Take a few minutes and allow yourself to drift back to childhood. Take a journey through the blank space in between. Let yourself be enfolded by a story that says so much – without saying a word. It’s 8 minutes well spent. I promise.


Your turn. Share a story that has moved you recently.