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Telling Stories…

By April 11, 2010How To, Writing

Several months ago, I made a decision to enact a massive change in my life. It was so big, in fact, that it could have destroyed me. But I wasn’t really up for that. So, I took the only kind of control that I could. I wrote the story of how I wanted the transformation to go.

I wrote about it every day, from the moment I decided to make the shift until the moment I pressed the button. I wrote in great detail the events as I wished them to happen – and, as if I was writing and reading a novel, I both infused and experienced the words that I typed with the emotions I wanted them to carry.

I crafted my own story. And it worked. I would say that 97% of it came true…and that there’s still time for the other 3% to rise up from my computer screen and march right into this room. I’m quite sure it will.

And then, on January 1… I invited you to join me in a daily exercise to write how you wanted the year, month, week, day, next hour to go as a way of taking some kind of control. At that time, I hadn’t seen my story-writing come to fruition yet, I was going on blind faith – and an absolute refusal to give up.

I will readily admit to you that I haven’t done this everyday – at all. In fact, life got busy and I let it push me around, from meeting to deadline to to-do to success to defeat, and back around again.

And then, I got it.

In one of my favorite movies, The Holiday, Eli Wallach says to Kate Winslet (care of Nancy Meyers who wrote the screenplay): “In the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.”

When we don’t write our own story, when we let other people, or simply life, write it for us, we play small, we become the best friend. And THIS, good people, is NOT the time for THAT.

So, go! Write, design, create…and then follow your script. It shouldn’t be too hard, you already know it by heart.


This post emerged in response to Chris Brogan’s call for posts about the importance of story in our lives. There’s a chance I’ll get a free copy of a phenomenal sounding book, Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, out of it. But if I don’t, I’ve already got it cued up on my Nook…because I think it’s our stories that make this place go ’round – and, besides, CB always gives good book.

Image credit: ATIS547

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Isao says:

    It’s the audience who filters people in the movieville into protagonists and sidekicks but for those inside, every life is running it’s own show. I cannot agree more that if we let our life write our history, it DOES. The sad thing is that it is less messy than we do our own writing: that’s why we give it up under the beautiful slogan of “go with the flow.” I had lived so for long and had enough. I will write my history in all of its glorious messiness and will watch it later as I watch Uwe Boll films – memorable for being so bad and funny (in a bad way).
    .-= Isao´s last blog ..What exactly is “Green Consumerism?” =-.

  • i really really love this, i love your idea of even writing how you want the next hour to be, this is really powerful! I’m really enjoying reading some of the posts that came from Chris Brogan’s call to action but i must say yours is the one that motivates me to action.
    .-= Nanette Labastida´s last blog ..The yellow brick road to reality – how the Wizard of Oz changed my lifestory =-.

  • Wow! I mean really – Wow! I’m going to try this starting tomorrow.
    .-= Julie Hedlund´s last blog ..Gratitude Sunday 7 =-.

  • Edgy Mama says:

    I love this idea, Jules. I remember you telling me about it in NYC, and I thought, “Wow. That makes perfect sense.”

    I’ve often written letters to my “future” self. Some times I remember to go back and read them. Some times I don’t. But the idea of writing your life on a more regular basis has great appeal. Thanks.
    .-= Edgy Mama´s last blog ..Another day, another beer festival =-.

  • Should be required reading for all therapists and anyone who looks forward instead of living in the rearview mirror. Thank you, Julie!
    Arlene’s blog:
    .-= Arlene Kirsch´s last blog ..Timing Major Gifts =-.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    You just totally inspired me to do something. I mean TOTALLY inspired me. Wow. I can’t believe this never occurred to me before. After I read this, I had the biggest DUH moment ever. (Oprah has Ah-Ha moments. I have Duh moments). But I’m kinda thinking of clicking over to Brogan’s post just to see…. No, can’t compete with my girt. Still. It’s kinda tempting.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Should you role play? =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      I can’t wait to see the fruits of your inspiration!!!! Definitely click on his post – it’s not a competition, just the first 100 posts. I have no idea if I was fast enough…

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    And you are a girl, not a girt. Although girt is kinda cute, yes? My little girt? Maybe not. Actually, you are a woman, but let’s not get too technical about these things.
    .-= Alisa Bowman´s last blog ..Should you role play? =-.

  • Amy says:

    Julie, I love reading your beautiful words every day and am thrilled that I finally subscribed to your feed.

    This post really hits home today because my family is making a huge decision. This morning I sat down and found a note I had written during the keynote at Blissdom:

    “The moment you commit, providence moves.”

    Maybe reading this post from you today is providence moving for us…

    • Julie Roads says:

      Amy! I’m so glad you’re here too. I’m honored. I hate to get too hooey – but your comment reminded me of the time I had my tea leaves read ( – and was told that when I ‘jumped off the cliff’ there were many (more than the reader had ever seen) spirit guides waiting to catch me, take care of me, and – well – guide me.

      I took it with a grain of salt…but, you know what? It’s been pretty true. (Even if I don’t ‘get it’ right away’).

      Wishing you the best of luck, wisdom and grace with your decision…

  • Lovelyn says:

    The idea of writing down the story of what you want happen sounds really great to me. I’m going to start doing that first thing tomorrow morning.
    .-= Lovelyn´s last blog ..Jump =-.

  • Wow Julie. I love this and still I hesitate…there’s no way it would work for me. How about YOU write MY story and I’ll dictate? THen maybe it will work :)

  • Andi says:

    I was just telling Alisa about this: I was part of a group of ladies that were working together on launching businesses and the leader had us write a letter to ourselves in the future. It really help solidify some of the desires that I had for the future but had only really articulated in my head. Once it was out on paper, it became more real. I think it is a really effective tool.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..The discovery of a new dish or 100 =-.

  • LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! can’t wait to share it.
    .-= clairemontgomerymd´s last blog ..thank you baby buddha =-.

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