Everyone has a good anecdote to tell. There can’t be a single person out there that hasn’t stood in a group of people and had them all on the edge of their seats with an amusing story about someone at work, or old crazy Mabel down the street, or that one time a gaggle of geese chased you right into the canal and you had to backcrawl to safety the vicious beaky predators watching your every move from the towpath.
A raconteur is someone who tells anecdotes in a skilful and amusing way. We all love hearing, and telling, them and this is what makes being a writer so great. You know that wonderful feeling when everybody in the room is hanging on your every word. It doesn’t matter if you mumble a bit, or you forgot to mention the guy you’re talking about has a beard (which is totally important later on), what matters is people are dying to hear the end of your tale. They want you to give them more words.
As writers this feeling is the reason we exist. We want nothing more than someone telling us “I just couldn’t put your book down!” It’s the reason we write. And it’s a great feeling…so I’ve been told.
Try to remember this when your knee deep in your first draft, swearing at your main character and his ridiculous name changing antics (I thought Jeff was called Brian in chapter one?); or stabbing yourself in the hand with your favourite pen literally trying to bleed words onto the blank page; or even having coffee-fuelled conversations with yourself about character motivation and where the hell did that pesky conflict go, I swear it was here a second ago…
You have to remember that feeling of awe that oozes from the people around you when you’re telling a lovely little ditty about Rita the accountant losing her ‘dignity’ at the Christmas party. That feeling of grandeur you get from people jostling you for more information “What happened next? What happened next?!” when you tell them all about your goosy gander fables.
Remember it and remember why you love writing