Create a Story Box

All my designer friends are obsessed with Pinterest.

It’s where they save ideas before they know what to do with them. It’s a productive platform because they add to their collection of images that resonate whenever they use the platform. Armed with an arsenal of images, they begin projects by scrolling through their collections of saved logos, fonts, and shapes instead of starting from scratch and praying for an idea to come to them. Designers aren’t the only creatives who collect ideas. Marketers have swipe files, songwriters have hook books, and artists fill their notebooks with sketches. 

As a writer, you should follow their lead and build a Story Box. The stories you collect can be from your personal life or the information you consume. Like Pinterest, focus on saving ideas that resonate in addition to ones that are immediately useful. But if a story makes you say “Wow” or rings in your mind for weeks after you read it, save it. Creating a Story Box is as easy as opening a Google Doc and populating it with every story that resonates with you, either with a short summary or a series of bullet points. With everything in the same place, you’ll be able to create intellectual serendipity for yourself. 

Scroll your Story Box whenever you want to write. If you’re hungry for inspiration, look for themes among the stories you’ve collected or the connections you can make to the ideas you’ve been thinking about. At other times, you’ll need a story to improve an article you’re working on where you’ve already codified the main idea but need a story to illustrate it. As you use it, you’ll feel the creative turbocharge that comes with having a Second Brain

Pinterest’s website says: When it comes to a great idea, you know it when you see it.” The same is true for stories. 

Start building yours by adding the stories you tell the most. If it helps, you can organize them into themes. Then add your favorite stories from books, articles, and podcasts. Don’t worry about your Story Box getting too messy because you can always search the document. And if you’re wondering how I found that anecdote about Pinterest at the beginning, it was inspired by an idea in my Story Box. 

Sign up for my free writing course if you want to learn more.

You’ll learn about Personal Monopolies, the Netflix Principle, and how to build your email list.