Category Archives: Writing + Blogging

Why are stories so important?

The world is overcrowded with information.

We’re wired to tell stories because it’s how we make sense of the world around us. Stories let us distill large, complex ideas and important messages into sticky, memorable pieces that we can carry forward with us in our minds. In the absence of a person or a phenomenon, we tell a story about what we saw and who we met.

Telling the right story about you and your business can be a big challenge–online, in person, or through social media. How do you decide what story to tell? And how do you know it’s the right one?

A story is what you take with you. We don't keep lists and facts and essays in our minds; rather, we carry relationships, connections, and (sometimes false) ideas about correlation and causation.

A story is how we understand the world.

We’re wired to consolidate complex information into pieces we can carry—like little suitcases for the brain.

The test of a great story is what people remember about you when you stop talking. Listen for what people say about you (or your company) after you’ve left.

If you have the chance, listen to how people introduce you; it’s an inside look into how people remember you and your business. Just like ideas, viruses, and people–stories have lives, and how far they spread relates to how sticky they are. The life of a story spreads when the story is good.

In general, this means that simple stories are better — the gift of a story is not capturing every single moment, although detail is important — it's in giving the listener something that they can enjoy and remember.

What stories are you telling — or what stories are being told about you and your business?

Doors are now open for the summer session of the Writer's Workshop, now open for early registration! Join us for a six-week program designed to kickstart your writing habit—and discover secrets of storytelling, narrative form, and powerful writing. Early registration closes May 25th and classes start June 30th.



Pandering — and 9 other things great writers refuse to do.

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words. — Mark Twain I don’t often publish guest posts here on It Starts With, but occasionally I meet a fellow writer with a story and a message that matches our audience. Today, I’m delighted to share the work of Isaiah Hankel. Isaiah isContinue Reading

The Writer’s Workshop is now open for our summer session! Join us for the next class—and kickstart your writing into high gear.

It’s baaaaack! The Writer’s Workshop will open up again this summer for a brand-new six-week session beginning June 30th. The Writer’s Workshop is a live course focused on improving your storytelling, writing, and narrative abilities through eight masterful lectures and exercises — together with a community of co-writers to share the journey. We interview experts across the industry inContinue Reading

The Write Life’s bundle: massive sale for writers!

Writing is powerful stuff. I teach several writing courses as a tool to gain insight into your inner wisdom, access your inner soul, and pen your own stories. If you’ve been itching to write, yesterday I shared several of my favorite resources in the March edition of my behind-the-scenes newsletter. Today, I’m excited to share aContinue Reading

Darkness and light: why writing is an act of bravery.

“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our life.” — Brene Brown Writing is an act of bravery. Each year, when I teach our writing workshops, I get to work with a small group of twenty-some writers, thinkers, and creatives. Inevitably, the process gets difficult in weeksContinue Reading

10 reasons you don’t want to miss this class. (It’s the LAST DAY to sign up).

Heads up: today is the LAST DAY to register for the Writing Workshop. It is also the LAST DAY to save $200 by registering for both the Writing Workshop AND the Content Strategy course. Join us now. Still need a reason? Here are a few:  10 reasons to sign up for the Winter Writer’s Workshop: 1: You’reContinue Reading

What’s one big thing you can do to improve your business and your life?

“Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.” -Paul Graham Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, wrote that “the new economy is about communication, deep and wide… Communication is the foundation of society, ofContinue Reading

Huzzah! Crazy discounts! January and February writing workshops, early-bird discounts, and double registration bonuses. It all starts… NOW.

What’s the best thing you can do for yourself and your business? Use your voice. Write your words. Tell your story. Say what needs to be said. Lead us to your ideas. Write powerfully. Pssst… we’re waiting for you to join us. TWO writing courses open this January and February: This Winter, I’m teaching two courses:Continue Reading

Finding your creative flow: 17 writer’s tricks to get un-stuck and start creating

I wrung my hands, trying to figure out what to write next. It was a typical afternoon at the computer: Somehow I had amassed more browser tabs than laundry quarters, each of which was threatening to pull me into an endless loop of reading more things on the internet — all conspiring to collect asContinue Reading

The best of the blog: behind the scenes on organization, archives, and new reading collections for your weekend.

What does 250 blog posts look like? A look back at the archives and the best bits from three years of blogging.Continue Reading