Make Your Story Happen How-To Guide Step 1

Creating ANYTHING—making your story happen, however you know how to—requires you to be immersed, connected, and ready to produce.

My ‘All In’ theory applies to everything, including the writing process, so I used it as a springboard for this writing guide.

The first step of ‘All In’ is: Select. First, you have to choose what you want.

Unless you just need to take a drive, you don’t get in the car with no destination in mind. You have to have an end point in mind. A mission.

The same goes for painting a portrait, shooting free throws, writing a novel, playing a mandolin… anything in life. Identify what you’re trying to accomplish.

My friend said that, in 2012, he wanted to buy a luxury car and take his parents on vacation. Then, he figured out the path to doing so. Through his writing, his music, his website, his non-profit, he worked his butt off to make those goals happen.

But, when we talked, I noticed that his goals weren’t just about the tangible. He wanted the feelings, the affirmation, that would come from achieving those things. He wanted to own, outright, a sign of status. The car itself provided a layer of insulation against the judgment and discrimination that guys like him—physically imposing & brown-skinned—experience in this world. Providing for our parents is a milestone, a moment when relationships change.

To identify our underlying feelings, seek to understand them, then take action about them is an incredibly complex and fruitful process.

So often, we are disconnected from ourselves (and, even more often, unaware of it). And we find ourselves unhappy, unfulfilled, unhealthy, etc. You have to know what you want, deep down, before you can do anything about it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest

I can remember learning to write papers in elementary school—science, history, and (obviously) English required scientific reports, research papers, and book reports.

In Science, we were taught the Scientific Method and instructed to write reports in its same fashion. In law school, I learned the CIRAC method for writing legal papers. State your conclusion. State the issue. State applicable rules. Analyze everything. Conclude, wrap everything back up.

Different applications. Same leitmotif: start with, then work towards, the end in mind.

My 5th grade Literature teacher said that every paper we write has to have a point. And, then, that everything in the paper should talk about the point. Pretty simple.

To start, you have to select a focus.


Continue to Step 2: Direct