Origins of a Stoic Storyteller
Welcome to my very first official blog post! This space will be used to provide (not so) Deep Thoughts and random commentary, generally about or tied to audiobooks or corporate narration (a.k.a e-Learning). But first, I need to get my writing muscles stretched. That means an origin story! Because what can one write about more easily than one’s self?
My name is not Slim Shady.
My name is, however, Lisa. I’m snarky and sarcastic and laugh a lot, often inappropriately. Also, Stoicism made me a Narrator.
Stoicism, for those who are unfamiliar, is a school of philosophy from Ancient Greek & Rome. NJlifehacks.com has an excellent article for a deep dive, but the gist (also from their website) is as follows:
In short, Stoicism is a tool set that helps us direct our thoughts and actions in an unpredictable world. We don’t control and cannot rely on external events, but we can (to a certain extent) control our mind and choose our behavior. In the end, it’s not what happens to us but our reactions to it that matter.
Once upon a time – ya know, way back in 2018 – life forced me to figure out how to work from home on a varying schedule. I needed to be 100% remote at least 99% of the time. Not wanting to be tied to a headset and a time-clock or to clients of unknown and unreliable origin, I delved deep into my soul and the search results. A side-hustle/work-from-home blog post mentioned voiceover work and/or audiobook narration as a way to make some scratch from the comfort of wherever.
I started digging a bit. Discovered it was, amazingly enough, perfectly reasonable to consider converting a closet to a sound booth and recording voiceovers and narrating audiobooks in my home. As I have the privilege to live in the woods, in a log cabin, with a single neighbor, creating a quality space in which to record was no problem.
All that time spent playing with oscilloscopes, sound equipment, and other assorted electronics came in handy! Configuring a workstation and setting up the interface and mic were nothing compared to some of the systems I put together back In The Day. Besides all of my tech know how, all of the skills developed in Life Before Narration seemed to coalesce to form an ideal potion.
- Years of experience in small businesses doing everything from answering the phones to installing software to running the company (and most all tasks in between).
- Research and text analysis skills – see??? there IS a use for BAs in philosophy and English!
- Love of reading and all knowledge and learning in general. (Philosophy degree, duh.)
- Just. Everything.
So I dove in.
Next thing I knew, it was 2020, the world was insane(-r), and I had narrated over 30 audiobooks.
So narration is THAT easy?
No. Not even close.
Becoming a narrator wasn’t something that happened overnight. The constant learning and growing is honestly one of the things that draws me to voice acting so much. There’s been research and coaching and workshops and webinars and mistakes and experiments and fear and excitement and becoming a narrator is undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made.
All because I applied philosophy to my situation. I didn’t allow circumstances to dictate what happened to me. I assessed, reviewed, reassessed, discussed, questioned, considered. THEN I chose. And I did. (Am doing!)
Philosophy and Narration
This whole new career thing isn’t working because of fairy godmothers or pixie dust. It isn’t working because I whined a lot or simpered enough to gain immediate yet fleeting ground. Nope. Audiobook and corporate narration are working because I work hard. They work because I want it and am willing to do whatever it takes to Make it So. Perhaps most importantly, I am willing to take the time it may or may not take to reach my goals as I set them.
The Stoic virtues of courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom have always served me well and now is no different. In fact, they are indispensable as I build my business.
A narrator (especially in audiobooks) must: love learning,
desire the ends and not mind the means,
not be claustrophobic.
She must be diligent, tenacious, meticulous, kind, and passionate. Yes, passionate. Stoicism totally allows for passion. Being a Stoic doesn’t mean being emotionless, it just means that the emotions aren’t in control. They do not dictate my thoughts and actions. I control THEM. Then I channel them in the booth.
Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com for audiobooks and lswareonline.com for corporate narration/eLearning.