Short and Sweet Advice for Writers: Remember. The World Runs on Stories.

tiny storiesI have yet to meet a writer who doesn’t routinely doubt the sanity of writing. Despite realizing that writing is an inextricable part of our identity, we can’t help but question its usefulness and value. We feel guilty and self-indulgent. We worry (and sometimes believe) that there are other, more Important Things we should be doing with our time. 


No matter what our culture may try to make you believe. Writing is Important. Your writing it important.  Writing is your “real” job. It matters. And, you know why? Because the world runs on stories.

If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to go through ONE DAY without consuming or sharing a single story. Go ahead. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

It’s impossible.

Spend thirty seconds on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever platform you choose – it’s all stories. Watch the news, a movie, a TV show, or a documentary – all stories. Listen to the lyrics of a song, the banter of radio DJs, or the gossip of the little old ladies at your local coffee shop – all stories. Every commercial and advertisement you’ve ever seen – stories. Every whisper of the voices in your own head telling you you can or you can’t –stories. The dream your child told you over breakfast, the email your friend sent you about her trip out West, the joke your coworker told you at the water cooler – nothing but stories.

And not only do we have an insatiable hunger for stories, our appetites are as diverse as we are. While we crave stories in general as human beings, as individuals, we seek out particular kinds of stories – fiction and nonfiction, romance, fantasy, horror, historical, and so on. No matter what kinds of stories you write, there are people out there who want to read them, need to read them.

So, dear writer, when you are feeling low or confused or doubtful of your path, when you are questioning the sanity of spending an entire life putting one word down after another, remember that the world runs on stories: big stories and small, the stories heard round the world and the stories written only for your own heart, sad stories and happy, comforting stories and stories that upset the status quo, realistic and fantastic stories, tragic and funny stories … all kinds of stories, created by all kinds of people, and consumed by every human being on the planet. Remember this, and keep writing.


Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

67 thoughts on “Short and Sweet Advice for Writers: Remember. The World Runs on Stories.

  1. Pingback: Short and Sweet Advice for Writers: Remember. The World Runs on Stories. | Live to Write – Write to Live | Planet Simon

    • Hello! Glad you found your way over! 😉
      Congrats on releasing your stories into the world. Wonderful adventure, isn’t it?

      • Absolutely. I have so enjoyed the process. I has so helped me learn more about the world of writing and connecting with readers, lessons I couldn’t get if I didn’t take the leap.
        Truly an adventure because I don’t know where it will lead.

  2. Wow, so glad Crystalamay shared this! I have always kept a journal and written various things just for my own viewing and recently decided to blog. I then started a book and just continued on with it. I’m 13,000 words in and feeling just like you expressed here, a little guilty because I think I should be doing other things! Thanks for the post, truly inspirational, very pleased I read this.

    • I’m also glad Crystalamay shared it! 🙂 Welcome.
      A quick look at your blog tells me we share some interests – cats, castles, and the possibility of ghosts.
      Hope to see you around again soon!

  3. It’s reading only that creates a writer. 🙂
    I am glad there are people like you, Jamie who keep on inspiring people like me, when inspiration is the only hunger dose to one’s appetite. 😀 🙂

  4. There are times when people have asked me what I want to do with my life and I tell them write, that they ask what I’m going to do for a job. Writing is my job, but it’s more than that. It’s my passion, my life. I share my writing as part of who I am, not just something I do.

    • I agree. This is why I think writing is part of our identity more than an activity we pursue. Yes, it’s a practice and a craft, but that’s just the external element of it. There’s something that goes much deeper than that.

  5. I do write and publish books but I find it hard work. I don’t particularly enjoy it as much as other activities that I do, simply because it’s very hard work that rarely pays or is recognized. This said it’s an excellent exercise for the mind, for developing the imagination, for self analysis, self criticism for enlarging one’s knowledge though research and many other things. What else can one want from an activity? Anyway the reason why I started writing was because I wanted to add stories to the characters that I drew as I didn’t fancy the idea of selling my illustrations nor illustrating for somebody else books. As for questioning the sanity of writing one could question the sanity of doing most other things as well. The fact is that one is either active or passive, a doer or a watcher, I’m very much a doer and I’m very curious so I do things in order to find out and solve problems and writing helps me a lot.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like your pragmatic perspective – indeed, what else could one want from an activity?
      Congrats on your books – the lioness one looks quite intriguing. 😉

    • Yes – there are always so many things to do – no end to chores and obligations and responsibilities – but we do need to practice making writing a priority. After all, at the end of it all, are you going to lament that you failed to wash more dishes, or that you didn’t write enough stories?

  6. Pingback: Short and Sweet Advice for Writers: Remember. The World Runs on Stories. – Dianna Donnely's Real Food Meals and Books

    • Those doubts are sneaky, little critters, aren’t they?
      I must admit, that I often write these posts to myself – a gentle but firm reminder to get my priorities straight. 😉
      Thanks for being here to share my public/personal pep talk.

    • I love that illustration, too, Caroline.
      You’re welcome to steal it. I found it on Pinterest, but haven’t been able to track down the creator, so I’m afraid I can’t provide accurate attribution.


  7. I was feeling so high and dry, uninspired and sad lately due to my own disbelief in my creative side. This is just what I needed to see when I feel discouraged. Thank you for the encouraging words. Us writers need to stick together! Our stories ARE important!

    • We DO need to stick together.
      Glad I could deliver a little pick-me-up when you needed one. 🙂

      Happy writing!

    • It’s almost overwhelming when you really think about it, isn’t it? Stories are like our environment – they are everywhere – immersive, ubiquitous – they are so thick that sometimes we forget they are there, like the fish might sometimes forget the water or we might forget the air.

    • Cultures, nations, towns, cliques, families, friends, individuals – each has its own mythology, its own folklore – all built of stories collected over time.
      Love that. 🙂

  8. Great post! Yes. I often find myself doubting this writer thing, but you’re right. Little stories are everywhere we just take a bigger part in that. Thanks for the perspective.

    • You’re very welcome. Little stories ARE everywhere – like the air we breathe, which may be why we sometimes lose sight of the fact that they are all around us, every day. 🙂

  9. Pingback: Stories Are Needed to Live | Independant Books

  10. SO much this. The world runs on stories. We as a species wouldn’t be who we are without them. They’re unifiers as well as dismantlers. I’m proud to be a story creator and teller in a time such as this. Thank you for being one too!

    • Thanks so much, Ashley. Love that you’ve pointed out that stories are a double-edged sword … to be used for good or evil, unifying as well as dismantling, revealing truth as well as spreading lies. It’s a powerful magic, to be sure.

  11. Pingback: Writer’s Weekend Edition – A Crisis of [Writing] Faith | Live to Write – Write to Live

  12. Pingback: Writer’s Weekend Edition – The Power of Story in the “Real” World | Live to Write – Write to Live

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