riffs & rants blog

Storycraft Series Part I: The Curse of Expediency

Storycraft is popular. It seems to be “in” right now, the subject of many blogs, videos and online classes. Storycraft is in, because it’s real and resonates with people. Good stories never go out of style. The downside of the current emphasis on storycraft is that is there are people out there looking to directly manipulate it, turn it into a “strategy” or “tactic” and otherwise use it for less than scrupulous means.

But here’s the thing, bad people will always hack good tools for unscrupulous means. Any mechanism we use for anything is, at this very moment, being used by someone else to deceive others or to commit crimes. Disregard the people out there who are using story to deceive. These people are con men, they have been around forever and will never go away. We have to act in spite of them. Instead lets keep our focus on real people and real stories and how we tell them.

Relationships are what make stories. Telling a story means getting that the most important element in any interaction anywhere is the relationship. In business, you see too many brands pretend that relationship is secondary and can be ignored in the name of expediency.


Expediency is the number one killer of a good story. It places urgency first, at the expense of the relationship. Expediency is leading the charge when you hear statements such as: “I don’t have time to go into the details, I just want people to buy my stuff.” Or, when you hear things like, “We don’t have time to teach the craft, we have to get students ready for the test first”.

Rather than putting emphasis on expediency, what would happen if you put the focus on the craftsmanship of the story? For starters, the process would slow down and being present takes center stage. Craftsmanship allows time for a story to unfold. It’s hard to practice craft when you are committed solely to expediency. It’s hard to write a story when you have not been present. Craftsmanship provides space for presence. When craft is at the heart of what you do, it makes it easier to tell the story because not only has the story been given the proper time to unfold, you have been present with all parts of the process, thus being better able to understand the story you are telling.

Being  present with all parts of the process is a good habit to have. We often want to fast forward over the tedious or seemingly unnecessary parts of a process. You may hear, “I don’t want to be involved in that” “Can’t we just skip over this part?”  “Why is this necessary?”

Being present for the whole process enhances the relationship and the story. When you have a baby or small child in your life, you don’t ship the child off to someone else for the “boring parts” and then pick up where you want to and expect to have a relationship with that child. You would just have fragments of random memories and no emotional bond. There would be no cohesive narrative, no relationship and without relationship there can be no story.

Humans love to manipulate things to their advantage and time is no exception. But, as nature has shown us, some processes can not be sped up or slowed down. Try engineering the planet to rotate more than once in 24 hours or around the sun in less than one year. For one, it is physically impossible. But let’s say it were possible. Doing so would completely mess up the seasons and rhythms and life on earth. It would literally end life on earth as we know it .

So why do we fantasize about and try to manipulate natural cycles with our relationships? You see it everyday,  “I don’t have time to do that, can’t you just push some buttons and make it run right?” “Crafting our own content will take too long, isn’t there some shortcut we can buy to get the same result?”

It takes time to craft a story that is truthful and resonates with others. In fact, it’s a requirement. You cannot say things that are not true, rush it along and expect to come out with a story that interests, engages and builds a relationship.


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