How To Write Something That Everybody Will Remember
Good words move you.
Great words make you cry.
Perfect words stick with you forever.
I Remember My Grandfather’s Funeral..
I didn’t have any sort of connection with the man sadly. I went though, because it meant something to my Dad. I didn’t even go up to my grandfather’s body to pay last respects.
I feel horrible for that in hindsight.
Even though the whole ordeal meant nothing to me, something happened at that funeral that I’ll always remember.
Some man who wasn’t related to me in any way got up to speak about my grandfather. He started slow, but then told a funny story about a time when Mr. Kuegler played with him and his friends one afternoon.
He said they were all acting like superheroes, or something, and that my grandfather was the “bad guy” and kept trying to tie him and his friends to a chair to “defeat” them.
But my grandfather was witty.
He didn’t tie a knot at all with the ropes, but made it seem jussttt tight enough to give the boys a little resistance/belief that they actually did something to escape.
The man said that, since he was the “hulk,” he busted through the ropes every time and saved everybody else.
He said he loved those afternoons, and that my grandfather would oblige everybody and really spend some quality time making their dreams of being superheroes a reality.
As he got to the end of the story his eyes filled with tears. And then mine did. And then he didn’t say much more and sat down in his chair.
I didn’t know who that guy was — I still don’t — but I’ll always remember that story.
The Time My Article Hit The Front Page of The Huffington Post
It was 4 AM in San Francisco.
I got back at 1 AM, but I couldn’t sleep a wink.
A date I had with somebody went awry (what a great word), and I felt terrible about it. I didn’t feel understood; I felt like life wasn’t fair.
I wanted to take my brain out and throw it across the room, but sadly that would’ve killed me (making my situation even worse).
Then I thought about writing, remembering my laptop was two feet away, and I begrudgingly began typing at 4 AM.
I hit “publish” one hour later.
It went viral by the time I woke up at 9 AM, hitting the front page of the Huffington Post and everything.
Here’s that post if you wanted to read it.
How To Write Stories Others Will Remember
My friends, writing isn’t difficult.
Getting into the right mindset to create your best content of all time, however, IS.
It’s excruciatingly hard.
That’s because not only do you have to be in the right mindset to tear through a page, you also have to have something crippling happen to you.
Like the death of a loved one, or an existential crisis, or a moment where your best friend won’t even stick up for you.
All of these moments are tough. They’re brutal. They dramatically throw your world off-kilter and put your mind into some sort of “survival” mode.
If you think about it, all of these moments end in a safety net getting ripped out from under you.
You can’t replace a loved one. You can’t replace a best friend’s support. You can’t easily revert back to the comfort you felt BEFORE an existential crisis.
In short, things sort of need to happen to you in order to write something truly, truly profound.
To be clear, you can write viral articles without having a loved one pass away. You can write a best-selling book without having a loved one pass away.
I’m not saying these things need to happen to write something good.
What I’m saying is, things similar to this need to happen for you to write the best words you’ve ever put on paper.
I’ll stand by that until I die.
And if your “best” isn’t associated with any crippling event RIGHT NOW, you simply haven’t lived long enough/tried hard enough to express what you feel in these life-changing moments.
You need to try.
Not for the views, or the fans, or being remembered.
You need to try because your soul deserves to express itself.
There’s a very particular song your heart sings in moments of dramatic change — you owe it to yourself to put that feeling on paper.
It will be your finest hour, and more importantly it will help you cope in ways a conversation with a counselor, a best friend, or a parent couldn’t replicate.
How A Disney Screenwriter Created A Scene I’ll Remember Forever
One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was getting the opportunity to interview Rob Edwards, the guy who wrote Disney’s Treasure Planet and Princess and The Frog.
I interviewed him for the Huffington Post, and if the link to that story still existed, I’d put it right here.
In “Treasure Planet,” Rob wrote a scene where a cyborg chef comforts the main character and tells him, as well as he can, that he loves him.
It’s a scene I’ll never forget, and I always wanted to know the story behind it — how it was written and everything.
Rob told me it was the most difficult thing he’s ever had to write, and that he basically cried the entire time writing it.
Then he showed it to somebody and they both cried reading it.
When’s the last time something you wrote made YOU cry?
More importantly, when’s the last time you had the guts to face an emotional topic, begin writing about it, and play a game of literary chicken with your heart when you’re five seconds away from publishing it?
It’s been a long time for me personally. It’s hard to push yourself to these extremes as a creative person, but oddly enough these extremes are where we produce our best work.
Stop Being Scared Of What Everybody Is Going To Think About You
Perfect writing is often grounded in an act of defiance.
“Oh, I can’t talk about this? F*ck you.”
Exhibit A: The Declaration of Independence.
There’s a lot of things we as creatives can defy:
- Caring about the opinions of others.
- Our comfort zones.
- Social norms.
Writing about something that seems taboo/is terrifying to publish can actually pull the best content we’ve ever written out of our souls.
When things get pent up, it’s only natural we have to blow off some steam at some point.
The same is true for writing. Topics that slowly eat at our soul are the ones we most need to write about. Oddly enough they’re the ones that also do the best because we’re honestly, unequivocally inspired to FINALLY write about them and let loose.
That’s a great recipe for writing something worth remembering.
The Best Thing I Ever Wrote
My best work will never be published anywhere online. It lives on the last page of a journal I filled out during an internship at Disney.
On that program I made lifelong friends, worked for the best company on the planet, and got to go to Disney whenever I wanted.
It was easily the best experience I’ve ever had.
On my last day in the airport I decided to fill out that last page. I knew I was leaving Orlando, a beautiful place filled with so much magic in places you’d never expect.
I wrote about my friends. I wrote about how I was scared to go home. I wrote about why I loved the person I was writing to.
I cried in the middle of the airport.
Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.
I waited until the last day because I knew my emotions would run me over like a bulldozer.
Be on the lookout for a writing window. Good writing can be created whenever, but perfect writing can only be created once in a blue moon.
I sat in an airport, as a man, writing in a diary.
F*ck your norms. Say that as many times as it takes. Something truly worth remembering can’t be created/shown while holding on to your comfort zone.
I hope you all experience this perfect storm one day. When it comes, give yourself to it and don’t ask any questions. It doesn’t matter what time it is, where you are, or who you’re with.
Give in to it.
You’ll be happy you did.
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