12 Months of Magic + My Year-End Gift to You
Greetings from McDonalds in Orange, Virginia, a town so tiny when you try to search for coffee shops, Yelp doesn’t believe it exists.
I’m sitting here as my boyfriend referees a basketball game at the high school down the street. Once he’s done, we’ll head north for Christmas.
Behind me, four men sit around a flat screen TV, swapping jokes in thick country accents. One of them wears a John Deere ball cap; another has fingers studded with gold class rings.
There’s a man whose spine stoops with the thick, steep curve of a life spent tilling fields. “It was the best apple pie I ever had in my life,” he says. “I’d marry the person who made this pie. That’s when a woman walking past me stops. ‘Honey,’ she says, ‘I made that pie.’”
His friends whoop with laughter. He sighs and shakes his head. “She just kept smiling at me, man.”
100 years ago, I bet their granddaddies gathered in a similar circle and traded similar jokes. I can picture them sitting on somebody’s porch, drinking sweet tea after sunset shut down the farm.
That’s because being a writer colors how you see the world. It changes things, wakes up a type of sight we all forget we have
For just a moment, the world as I know it fades away. The fryer is gone, the table is gone, the parking lot floodlights and my body are gone.
The creative impulse is like that. An intuitive hit that allows us to dissolve time.
You can sit in McDonalds and look around at acres of ancient farmland. You can walk by the ocean and imagine a future when waves roll 10 feet overhead.
Author Natalie Goldberg wrote, “As writers, we live life twice.”
I’d go a step further and say that, as writers, we live as many lives as we want.
Here’s what I mean:
When you tell a story, you revisit the past (or feel out a possible future).
You let the scenes appear like snapshots, like bursts of glitter fading black.
Then it’s your job to render the image timeless by capturing it in words. You do your best to grab a fistful of magic and make it shimmer on the page.
And when you do this, you submerge in a moment that exists outside of time. You can try on different ideas, different lives, with every story you create.
And you don’t even need to wear pants.
But magic isn’t the only reason you should relive your stories. There’s also gratitude, and insight, and sales.
In fact, I have a little gift to help you tell your stories.
It’s called The Small but Mighty Story Kit, and it teaches you how to create and use my 3 favorite types of mini stories.
Just sprinkle them like personality-packed fairy dust throughout your newsletters, blog posts, and teaser copy (the short intro text to opt-ins, contact pages, 404 pages, etc.), and watch your ideal clients light up as they absorb your unique brand of magic.
By the way: I’m forcing myself to take 2 WHOLE WEEKS OFF and recharge for the New Year.
That means I won’t be writing newsletters (or hitting send, at least) until the first week in January.
So I’d like to leave you with one last writing prompt for 2015:
Write out your year, once sentence per month, with the most magical things you remember.
Here’s a sample from my own life.
January: I am befriended by a vivacious and extremely talented website developer, and along with another talented local biz lady, we form my very first mastermind group.
February: I take the first international trip I’ve paid for exclusively with my business. Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is a wonderland of blue water and palm trees blowing in the breeze.
That is a real palm tree. I’m in heaven.
March: I lead my first formal workshop as a storyteller. “Storytelling for Marketing & Branding” is so much fun I practically dance around the conference room.
April: I cross a wild Western road trip off my bucket list. After surfing on the back of wild winds into Kalispell, Montana, my boyfriend and I hike up 3,000 feet in Glacier National Park, visit geysers and Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone, and discover the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas on a lonely acre of land. All firsts for me.
May: I hire a business coach that has me go DEEP into market research. I (finally) start using the word “message” in my frame of self-reference, and all the pieces of my brand vision start to click together. (Maybe this sounds boring, but I can’t overstate how miraculous this ah ha moment was.)
June: I speak at my first business conference. So many people come they spill out into the hall. Once again, I resist the urge to dance around the room.
July: I spend a week in Los Angeles and knock out every stereotype I can think of. Bonfires on the beach? Check. Surfing? Check. Bottle service in clubs while wearing a postage-stamp-sized-skirt? Check. I also use Uber for the first time.
Sunburn = long sleeves.
August: I join another mastermind group, this time with bigwig business owners in Charlottesville (where I live). As I read over the professional bio I need to send by way of invitation, I consider throwing up but don’t.
September: I start working in the ancient library at my local university. They have a room called The Harry Potter Room. My inner book nerd just about dies.
Book nerd heaven.
October: I chat with my only celebrity crush, DAVID DUCHOVNY, after I interview him for the newspaper (!) and he performs at a concert in Orange, Virginia. (What are the odds???)
I’ve been obsessed with The X-Files since I was in middle school—like I-still-own-Mulder-and-Scully-action-figures obsessed—so this is probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened in my adult life. (Read my interview with Duchovny here.)
November: I turn 30 and finish re-writing my website. The world doesn’t end, confirming my ability to step into new levels of power in my brand and business.
December: I beta test my newest service, Message Quest, and receive amazeballs feedback. I finish a mega-secret-project that’s taken me 3 solid months behind the scenes. (I’m looking at you, 2016!) And suddenly every moment feels like a breakthrough, a new wave of synchroncity. I’m thrilled. I’m tired. I’m ready to rest and celebrate this bold, beautiful year and the gorgeous people who have made it possible. My heart, my heart, my heart.
Easy, right? Try it sometime before your kiss on New Year’s Eve.
Think of it like one big thank you to the Universe and your fine self for a year’s worth of heart and soul.
If you find the Story Kit helpful, please let me know! I’m dying to find out how you use it.
And if you’re digging storytelling and want to use it more in you business, stay tuned. I’ve got some AMAZING story tools coming your way in 2016.
For now, I’m sending all my love to you and wishing you a light-filled rest of your year.