3 time-tested steps to a solid story, every time

No matter what you plan to write about, I bet it makes more sense than a talking wolf in pyjamas impersonating Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma.

And yet you and I will grow all dubious about our writing ideas. “What am I even trying to say here?” “Why would anyone care?” “Am I even qualified to write about this?”

Fables don’t take any of our self-doubting bullshit.

They will straight-faced tell us that a tortoise is racing against a hare and that somehow the tortoise takes the trophy, and we’ll buy it. …

Shipping everydays, getting bruises, and spotting quirks will be 3 of them.

The Creator Economy is that place where someone won’t turn off their ad blocker but would pay $10 to have their dick rated on OnlyFans.

Bizarre times. Kids no longer want to be astronauts, and why would they? Too much lag to stream from Mars. They want to grow up to be YouTubers now, put food on their tables with Patreon pledges.

This is, on one hand, exciting. Imagine everyone following their creative instincts instead of clocking up exploitative shifts at an Amazon warehouse.

But it also means more content creators to compete against.

We’re over 50 million people in this Creator Economy that is taking over the world. And…

Ideas that don’t lose their wings rarely take off.

The hype I felt when I heard the 3D printer had been invented was a mistake. But my brain couldn’t help himself from making a secular leap into a sci-fi future of boundless imagination.

“I can finally print a car and take it to work.”

How long until the hoverboards from Back to the Future 2 start mass production? …

A scientific study proves self-care can only take you so far.

Forget meditation apps, Tony Robbins seminars and all-inclusive wellness retreats. Happiness’ business model is pyramid-shaped.

A research article in The Journal of Positive Psychology says happiness comes from “making others feel good, rather than oneself.”

Very in fashion with the pyramid scheme model: you can make your first steps towards happiness on your own — read self-help, maybe do some yoga — but if you really want to make it, get your friends and relatives involved somehow.

I think this is a refreshing pivot. …

How do you make people choose you in a world of endless options?

During the golden age of magazines in the 70s, only so many of them could fit into the newsstand. Then, everyone started to walk with smartphones and iPads.

And the golden age was over.

Cause now the newsstand turned into a dopamine-hitting, infinite scroll of choice coming out of a blue-lighted screen, and the reader had to face a problem: endless choice.

The newsstand of creators has also blown up to infinity and beyond lately.

Now everyone has a blog, a YouTube channel, a podcast, a newsletter and a Patreon. There’s too many of us trying to make it. …

I made the mistake of being quiet for 4 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I still hate internet junk as much as Gillette hates bodily hair.

Every time I have to publish something trashy I feel like I’m littering the ocean with it — those internet wires travel underseas after all — don’t mind the actual continent of trash drifting through the Pacific.

But here’s my mistake.

I thought the internet was a stage.

Like the stage I got on before quitting my musician job to write on the internet. A stage is a place you go once you got your act together. A place to perform flawless work and amaze an audience.

I was wrong. I…

There’s really just one rule. The rest are methods.

No wonder why Jeff Bezos has become the overused inflatable doll of “entrepreneurial success stories.”

From a distance, it looks like he broke all the rules and won big — biggest — because of it. The ultimate character arc for the aspiring entrepreneur (in the movie, Jeff will be portrayed by Jason Statham to convey the disproportionate badassery we accredit him).

But he didn’t really break any rules. In fact, no successful entrepreneur ever breaks the rules.

They break the methods. And yes, the distinction is blurry. That’s why knowing the difference matters. …

More often than not, we’d rather have fun than improve.

If I didn’t learn fast enough, I would’ve lost my job.

My band had just landed a weekly gig at a rock pub run by a biker club — not the illicit kind (their only crime was having too many chains hanging off their leather pants).

Every Saturday we had to entertain the same black-vested, straight-faced regulars, who were not uncomfortable letting us know whenever we failed to amuse them. A tough crowd of tough-looking crows.

So we had to keep our repertoire fresh and engaging, or else we would’ve lost our edge against our major competitor: the Spotify list.

According to the author of “Flow,” it’s not your smartphone.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi published Flow in 1990. And fair enough, there were no smartphones back then.

So at first, I thought all those Lifehack articles and Inc Magazine listicles about “getting in the zone” were just adapting the message to our distraction-pestered era. “Shut the door,” “close all tabs,” “turn flight mode.” They all sounded like useful workarounds.

But the 90s was a fairly busy decade too.

You had to feed your Tamagotchi every 2 hours, tune in to watch Friends (none of that streaming service convenience) and keep up with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’ relationship drama — just to…

The next level: “forget the peripherals.”

My first self-help book promised me “wealth” and “happiness.” It’s been ten years (read: too late for a refund) and both are still on my to-do list.

Should I feel scammed?

Because, honestly, I don’t. Even though that book was filled with the overused, generic stuff: “set goals,” “manage your time,” “take care of your finances...” Sure, now they’re worth just a listicle — a Quora answer tops. But as a total beginner, those were cutting-edge mental models.

But we are not beginners anymore, aren’t we?

I bet your first try at self-help also felt like taking a pill of LSD (which in this family-friendly piece stands for…

Loudt Darrow

I write about how not to suck at being creative.

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