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  • Writer's pictureKen Voyles

What does the whole story look like ?

WHO – Happy new decade ahead for all those share a passion for telling stories either in words or photos. The world is our playground and we should make the most of 2020-2030 to share the world that is real, to explain what is true, to find what is hopeful and make sure what works to market or inform our readers, customers and potential clients. Truly, everyone’s story is worth sharing. Let me help you share yours.


There’s no beginning, there’s no end. Ever heard that? When does a story end ? How do we know we have read or heard the whole thing ? Ever wonder if what we’re reading is even worth our time (like a blog, perhaps)?

Getting at the real story is a mighty challenge. There are usually many sides or nuances to a tale, and sometimes we don’t get a chance to read or hear all of its facets, so we are left wondering if the whole truth is what is in front of us, or perhaps it is actually also in what is missing, what is untold and unwritten.

When it comes to our stories, are we at the beginning (no matter our age) or is it nearly the end ? Can we ever truly determine any truth beyond the limitations of what we can see, hear, feel or taste? Leaving aside ideas given to us by faith, it is good to have faith in something more than ourselves, the ability to discern what is valuable for us to know, and how that helps drive our own story forward.

For readers there are several challenging ways to assess whether something is worth our time, and today I want to challenge you. So, let’s take a few minutes of your valuable time right now and see if we can get a handle on this story concept.


First off you must ask yourself whether what you are about to spend time is something you need to read or just want to read. There is a big difference in the time frame here. In other words, the when is critical to finding a good answer. Often, we have to read material for our career or to function in our role at work and that requires we build when into our schedule. Sometimes the need to read outweighs whether we want to read something or have the time (when). Take a manual that helps us perform our task both properly and safety. I imagine we don’t just need to read that, but we want to read it, even though it may be tedious or boring.

Things that we want to read are often stuff we enjoy for fun, information gives us a modicum of joy. But even here we may be missing the point – material we want to enjoy can still be something we need to read and we need to find the time to make it happen. Research suggests good reading habits form very early in life and are shaped by what our parents taught us about reading, and the ways teachers ingrained curiosity in our hearts and heads. They took the time to show us that reading is time well spent, and worth the cost of us setting aside something else.


Second, is there a point of view, where does it come from and how does that impact my experience ? Our world sadly is a place full of “viewpoint” these days. Everyone has a take, an opinion, the answer, a message for everyone else, for anyone who will listen, read or look. We don’t just share anymore in the privacy of our homes, we broadcast from every social media outlet and interconnected web we can manage, and the where has grown and grown. Viewpoint can present challenges to our judgment as whether or not to read something. Perhaps we don’t agree and would never read something by “them.” Perhaps we only want to enjoy likeminded views, even in novels or plays. Depending on your answers to those issues we help you decide if the viewpoint matters in your enjoyment or need to read.


Frankly, what we want to get out of our time spent reading something, the experience itself, will drive and manage how we best decide a reading schedule, whether something is worthwhile, laying aside the veracity of the thing, our need to read it or even our desire to read it. Asking why something is important, why it carries meaning or significance to my life is fundamental to the need for understanding the beginning, the end, and everything that flows in between. Certainly, in the scheme of things your time, becomes the ultimate answer to so many of these questions and issues, but time is a linear thing and makes it difficult for us to go backwards or look forward with any framework of what is important right now, here in the present.


How one manages one’s reading habits, those storytelling wants versus needs, ultimately comes down to how well we define the key questions behind the material – the who, what, when, where and, most important, but often least understood, why, that sums up the whole story, its beginning and the end. Knowing this framework will enhance how well we get to the heart of a narrative and not just its bits and pieces. So, finding the beginning, or end, means a commitment built around a number of important concepts. Learning, wanting to grow, needing to study something for our career or family, all of these things add into the equation I have been prattling on about here. Let me end this as I began. Have we gotten the whole story ? Do we need the entire thing, from beginning to end, to find value, joy, and enlightenment ? Perhaps yes. Certainly it seems like no is just as good an answer.

You decide.

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