5 Principles to Master Storytelling (to Kill Writer’s Block)

Jinmin Lee
3 min readFeb 18, 2024

Solving writer’s block is relatively simple.

Plainly:

  1. Read ancient stories
  2. Understand their lessons
  3. Charm readers by telling them well
  4. Connect the stories to something you want to say
  5. Have high ROR (rate of revelation)

That’s all there is.

Here’s how I’ve been avoiding writer’s block for the past 2 years.

Back in February 2022, I studied how highly intelligent people gave speeches, and noticed an interesting fact…

80% of all my good ideas came from good stories

Which made me think…

Where can I quickly learn stories?

So what could I do?

I found ways to passively learn stories with no effort.

Then I made a list to see if any sparked ideas.

Then I began writing my ideas.

Can you imagine what happened?

Here’s the ways I find stories to never run out of ideas on Medium.

Step 0: How to Read More Classic Stories

Find easy books.

Don’t force yourself to read difficult books if you’re reading level isn’t there.

For example, don’t read Crime and Punishment if you haven’t read a serious philosophy book before

Read annotated or simplified books.

Step 1: Understand Their Lessons

Listen to podcasts on the stories.

Let experts in the field explain how the story came to be and what its lessons are.

Here are some podcasts to listen to:

And others, depending on interests.

Step 2: How to Connect Stories to Ideas

Ideas come naturally if you listen to enough stories.

Also keep a notebook that you can use to capture ideas.

The brain sucks at remembering ideas. Write them down to not forget anything.

Step 3: Tell the Stories Well

Why did you stay on this story?

Because of high ROR (rate of revelation).

I’m telling you a lot of information, quickly. I’m not beating around the bush; I’m not wasting your time. There’s no chance to get bored.

Why classics stories?

HUMANS ARE STORY-DRIVEN

We learn so much faster and better from stories.

I once snuck a 100-day old rotten banana into my friend’s dorm room and threw it at his face. He chased me down campus and I was actually scared for my life.

This is much easier to understand than me saying, “don’t keep rotten food around.”

Stories wield emotions and imagery, and it drives your point subtly yet powerfully.

BUT WHY FROM THE BIBLE OR ANCIENT MYTH?

I once used a recent novel’s story to make a point in a conversation. Everyone looked at me with daggers because I just spoiled the entire book that everyone wanted to read.

But nobody will blame you for telling a story that’s been out for thousands of years. It’s no longer “spoiling.”

Also, Biblical stories and Ancient Mythology are timeless pieces of Western culture and thinking. Most modern and postmodern ideas are reactions and responses to the Bible, and Mythology reveals the psychology of the people our ideas were founded on.

So it provides profound insight accumulated through thousands of years without making anybody angry that you just spoiled a nice read.

So read more Biblical stories and Mythology. It’ll make you a better storyteller.

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Jinmin Lee

I dare to tell you how you should live life through stories from philosophy and classics