Can You Change Your Origin Story?

Can you change your origin story?

Lately I’ve been hearing lots of different marketers and interviewees sharing their “origin stories.” This is the part of the spiel where someone talks about an epic or heartbreaking event that catapulted them on the path to who they are today.

One example is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (paraphrased from this podcast):

  • “When I was 14 years old, we were evicted out of our apartment in Hawaii ’cause we couldn’t afford the $180 per week rent. I remember my mom crying. I’d never seen her cry like that. My grandfather and my father had both been professional wrestlers, so I started going to the gym and working out. I knew I needed to find a way to help out so something like this would never happen to my mom again.”

For writers, this might be something like:

  • “When I was in 11th grade, my English teacher told me I couldn’t spell my way out of a bucket. So I gave up writing—even though I loved it—and didn’t start again until retirement when I discovered an old journal from junior high and realized it was actually pretty good.”

Now as a storyteller, I’m sure you realize we’re not limited to just ONE origin story. You’re allowed to frame yours in all sorts of ways, just like you’ll probably have a different version of your Author Bio for the back page of your book than when you’re called in as a guest speaker at your kid’s Career Day.

When I think about the origin story for myself as a publisher, it’s always framed around Ed McCloskey coming up to me at the end of our first Year of the Book back at Paul Smith Library. “Demi, I want to tell you about this idea I have for the sequel…” I remember staring back, cocking my head to one side like a dog might do, and saying, “Dude, what part of YEAR of the Book did you not understand?”

That was the moment that told me the work of helping everyday writers achieve their seemingly unobtainable dreams was nowhere close to being done.

So what’s YOUR origin story?

My challenge for you today is to think (and write!) about one or more defining moments that launched you on the path of a goal you achieved (or are yet to achieve).

I’d love if you’d share it with me! Just click Reply to the email (or Comment below if you’re reading this on the blog or social media).

P.S. If you don’t yet feel like a success, maybe it’s time to re-frame the story you’ve been telling yourself… I’d be honored to talk with you about your book idea and help you find a way to write to “The End.” Reach out to me anytime at:

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