Ira Glass, Jane Friedman, steps to storytelling, storytelling, Writing

Storytelling in 4 Easy Steps

I love it when I find a video that helps me learn. On Jane Friedman’s post the other day, she listed her favorite online video’s. This took me to four short video’s made by Ira Glass on the building blocks of a great story.

The first one, shown above, leads to the other three on YouTube. In all, you’ll spend approximately 18 minutes of your time hearing his thoughts on storytelling. If you’re like me you learn best when you hear and read material. To really make the lesson stick I also need to be in motion (take notes). That makes me an audio-visual-kinesthetic learner. What can I say, I need the extra help.

My new index card of notes is now up on my physical bulletin board, covering up the last few inches of the cream diamond pattern.

In abbreviated notes, here are the four easy steps to storytelling. Each one corresponds to a video segment:

  1. Anecdote leads to sequence of actions that throw out questions that leads to interesting moments of reflection.  
  2. Abandon crap. Failure is a big part of success. 
  3. Develop good taste. You can tell when your stuff isn’t as good as it can be or it’s missing that special thing. Everyone goes through this process.
  4. Don’t imitate, be your own person. Be interested in the story, not your ego. Interact with others.
That was easy, right? Do you have any favorite online video’s that you’d like to share? Perhaps I can make a list and share it next month. 
Encouragement, Jane Friedman, Kirsten Lamb, Rachel Gardner, Self Publishing, Writer Unboxed, Writing, Writing blogs, Writing classes, Writing Resources

How to Save Time for Writing





There are few things I like to do other than write or find writing resources to help me become a better writer. Sure I miss watching my favorite television shows, coffee with friends, walking the dog, and watching my kids grow (I’m lying they are all 18-25, they’re grown). Sometimes I prefer to write than go on a date but perhaps that will change when the right one comes along. How I save time for writing besides the aforementioned is to look for shortcuts, i.e. good advice. Why reinvent the wheel? 

When I find great resources I believe in sharing them to help the next writer in his/her endeavor. Many publishers, agents, and authors have blogs that help writers become better. I usually stay away from any with bells and whistles on their blogs (flickering ads) or anyone admantly pushing their book. I don’t mind that their book cover is on their sidebar I just don’t want flashing arrows pointing to it or their ad popping up on my screen.
In the past few months I’ve found that I’ve kept returning to the same bloggers, who I believe are experts in the writing field. These are, in no particular order:
Jane Friedman‘s blog. She featured Writing Advice That Saves You 5 Years. It links to Steal This List. She has an archive of free advice for writers and is an editor at Writer’s Digest, a magazine I finally subscribed to after reading it at the library for four months.

And for plot and structure, I know no better teacher than The Plot Whisper. I learn better when I can read something and hear something. TPW has YouTube videos on each lesson, for FREE. 

Kirsten Lamb is the Queen of Blogging and Social Media. Her post The Right Way, Wrong Way, Smart Way caught my attention and is well worth the read. 
Rachell Gardner is a literary agent who has resources for writers who want to improve their craft and prepare themselves for publication. 
Writer Unboxed was started by two aspiring writers who began a community of contributing authors. They are “about the craft and business of fiction.” 


Deciding to go the e-book route and self publish, Joe Konrath’s blog tells it like it is-to him. He makes a lot of sense (he has sold books the traditional way) and now sells tons of his books, for e-readers. 


Also check out some more of my favorites listed on Top Ten Blogs for Writers


These resources save you time and money because many people pay for the kind of information these writers give and you can read them whenever you carve out 10 minutes. If you haven’t fulfilled your dream of writing a family history, memoir, magazine article or essay, here’s your chance to start again in the new year and save time to watch your children grow or go on that date.