I started “One-Minute Story Tips” almost 10 years ago – whaaaaaaaaaaat! – as a way of overcoming my shyness problem.

Oh hahaha.

While attending Toastmasters, a public-speaking club, I noticed a lot of people thought I was magical.

Like a witch. A word witch. As I worked to transition from writer to speaker, there was an assumption that writing was easy for me because I was somehow “special” or more “creative” than most.

Those assumptions? All wrong.

What’s worse? Creative falsehoods create an “us” (non-creatives) and “them” (creatives) division that simply does not exist. We are ALL creative because we are creators. Period.

One of the many reasons why I rarely mention that I write professionally is because I get nervous by what can happen outside of me (assumptions) and inside of me (writer’s block).

My Muse is always listening so if I ever sound too cocky, creative or precious, CRAM! That inner critic/Black Parrot/turd bird cracks me open like a walnut.

I don’t write because I like it. I write because there’s literally nothing better for me to do. I write because I must.
What about you? Why are you, bless your sweet heart, working so hard and diligently to communicate, to build bridges, to share ideas and connect deeply?

Here’s my guess.

You read about and practice the art and science of storytelling because you believe, right down deep in the marrow of your bones, that you carry a story capable of helping others.

Good. Well done, lighthouse.

Now is everything peaches and cream for you? Of course not. The opposite of conformity is creativity. And creativity’s original meaning is “chaos.”

Like our lives, stories are made up of beginnings and endings. Write a book, finish the book, write another one. Write a speech, perform the speech, write another one.


But there’s a difference between spinning a story and spinning our wheels.

This (sad, disturbing) spring I realize more than ever that new growth demands a letting go of the old, outdated and outgrown.

Like most people, I love new but hate change.

In the creativity realm “staying safe” means not growing, not taking risks, not approaching life with playfulness and a beginner’s mind.

If you’re not growing creatively, sadly, you’re dying creatively. Your lovely Light is dimming but still flickering. Creativity demands fuel and that energy source is inextinguishable as long as we continue to grow, play and share.

As a parting gift — oh, did I bury the lead? Yes, this is our last “One-Minute Story Tip” post —here’s a line of inquiry that quickly and easily shows you where to cut, prune and de-weed your creativity plot. (Note: A plot can be a tombstone or a garden. Act accordingly.)

What needs to be pruned or trimmed in your life? (Don’t say your waistline.) What feels heavy in your life? What’s no longer joyful or fun? If you could start all over (you can), what would you stop doing?

Where in your storytelling or creative life are you stagnant and treading water? Perhaps you’re attending workshops you don’t enjoy? Reading books that don’t delight you? News steeped in fear, panic and anger? What projects have gone stale and need a good flushing?

What (or whom!) bores the heck out of you? New growth needs room to get strong, collect sunshine and eventually blossom. Spring is the time to clean up shady, rotting debris so creative sunshine can rain down and nourish new growth. Cut deep when cutting clutter.

When will you tiptoe into the deep (pee-free) end of the creative pool? Say “today.” Living a creative life doesn’t demand a blowtorch and bulldozer. Tiny, empowering, daily decisions add up to big, positive changes. How do you eat an elephant? That’s right. One bite at a time.

Time is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Have you started your story?

Are you closed to finishing your story?

What other stories are inside of you, waiting to shine light into the future?

On my end over here in Story Land, I am approaching a few creative beginnings and endings. Two of them I’ll share with you. I know: you’re welcome. We’re besties.

First milestone: I’ve been putting pen to paper for almost 25 years. Secondly, my 85th birthday cake is 36 years away. (Do that math! Do it!)

This spring is the time to purge deep, pack up and move on.

The storyline for “One-Minute Story Tips” has come to a cheery close and a new beginning beckons. Of course, you’re all invited!

My goodness. You’re my Story Sister and Beacon Brother!

I’ll still poke around from time to time online. I’m always available by email. And supposedly I’m going over to Twitter to host “spaces” about storytelling.

So I’ll leave you with this while sending tons of smooches.

Above all else, thank you for being so kind. I adore you and appreciate you. And I believe in you too.

Your story DOES matter and you DO have gifts to offer the world. You’re scared because you’re creatively growing. Keep going, kind heart.

Consider your story your lantern – the Light illuminating the path ahead of you as well as the love within you.

Storytelling ain’t easy because the art demands we continually grow, grow, grow. Push, push, push.

Every time we feel scared or stuck, we are expanding and cutting a new path through the brush, into the darkness, toward the mountain… and then?

What happens next?

You know.

When storytellers encounter a tall mountain or a deep cave, we climb high or descend low, confident our journey will eventually enlighten and transform us. And others.

Always remember to honour the stories you are telling. Like magic, stories build our world as well as our legacy.

May the world we help build this year be one that sets flame to Darkness. As an old season ends and a new season takes root, I wish you strength, courage and Joy in your storytelling adventures.

Stay brave, calm and filled with wonder, storyteller.

Writing for you these many, many years has been such a gift.

Thank you for lending me your ears, eyes, heads and hearts.

Much love to you now and always + stay in touch,

♥ Shannon