What’s Your Story? Creating A Narrative Line

So how do you get started on creating a concrete image and telling YOUR story as an artist? Perhaps the first element we must look at is why any of us wanted to become artists in the first place. What does that story look like? It’s interesting to reflect upon because the path of an artist is difficult in the sense that there is no delineated order of events or schooling that ensures a successful career. Artists self-navigate in many different ways and can still arrive at a destination or goal they want to achieve. Here is an important factor to think about while you are traveling on your journey – you can only live your life forwards, but only understand it backwards. This is the reason why trial and error, in my opinion, are important in your self-realization of who you are and what story you want to portray to your audience. Once you do some digging and can fully see what you want to cultivate, you can develop the narrative line in disseminating your story to the audience. This can greatly help you execute your story as an artist, but also in your life as well!

A scholar by the name of Potter (2009) sheds tremendous light on creating narrative to hook your audience, especially as it pertains to large amounts of that audience. He explains that the narrative line is key in the audience’s understanding of media messages. This narrative line is important as it trains artists to learn the structure of decision-making. These decisions lead to the design in their message, as they need to complete the picture of options to form their story. The story has to be envisioned in a fashion where audience members can digest the information and decode the message easily. If artists can follow this formula and convention, they will have a successful narrative line. There is a significant importance within the values of the artist. This is because the values of the artists are directly tied to the motivation behind their decisions to highlight certain referents (symbols) in the narrative line. Potter (2009) points out that most audiences concentrate on the “what” of the message, although, I think the “who” should be considered as well.  With thinking of the audience in mind, there should be more options in the maze of decisions for artists when deciding the narrative line, because it is an important element that helps create referents for audience members in messages. This boils down to being perceptive of how the audience can create meaning in their own lives, establishing a dynamic but simple line of thought to follow. If an artist deviates from their brand image too far, or creates contradicting storylines through their narrative – the collective message will be very hard to decode. Very largely it also shows that the artist did not put a lot of consideration into encoding their message. In my opinion, being able to slow down, assess and thereafter plan your narrative line will help you create projects, songs, and messages that help your audience authentically understand your story and want to be apart of it!