How To Turn Everyday Situations Into Attention-Grabbing Stories So People Actually Read What You Write
Using the But & Therefore rule to make the process fast & effective
Heyo 👋 Jordan here,
Hours of writing. Life-changing information. A curated list of 15 peer-reviewed scientific papers backing it up.
But the blog post flopped. No one cared.
This isn't even a specific blog post.
All of my blog posts ended up like that. All of that hard work felt as if it was for nothing.
I thought I'll never understand good storytelling.
But after 8 years of writing online, I finally figured it out.
In just a month, I skyrocketed from 0 to 1000 hyper-engaged friends on Twitter, my long-form YouTube videos started getting seen, and my short videos started getting 200% more views.
All of that because of 1 simple hack:
🥪 The But & Therefore Rule
In 1997, a new show aired on Comedy Central.
It listed Matt Stone and Trey Parker as its' creators, names completely unknown to the world. Little did we know that this show will continue airing for decades, win 4 Emmys, and become a cultural phenomenon.
The show is South Park.
It's success is largely due to the But and Therefore Rule:
Do not connect the different scenes of your story with the words 'and then'. That makes them predictable and boring. Instead, connect every two scenes in the story by either using the word 'but' or the word 'therefore'.
This simple change highlights cause & effect, rises the tension, and makes the final story infinitely more compelling.
How to apply it to your writing:
Write a outline of your story in several bullets
Go through every bullet and find where it connects to the previous one with the words 'and then'. X happened and then Y happened.
Reword every one of your 'and then' bullets so it connects to the previous one using 'but' or 'therefore'.
That time I got my car tolled:
I needed to get my laptop cleaned,
and then I went to the store, parked, and found "the guy" wasn't there,
and then I went across the street to pick up lunch,
and then I came back and picked my laptop up,
and then I found that my car was gone,
and then I asked a friend and then he drove me to pick it back up.
I fell asleep just writing that.
Now let's apply the But & Therefore Rule:
I wanted to play Street Fighter,
But my laptop was super-slow and the game was crashing.
Therefore I packed it up and quickly drove to a nearby computer store to get it cleaned,
But little did I know there was only 1 guy who could clean Asus laptops there.
Therefore I had to wait for 1 hour. How annoying!
But then I had an idea – my stomach was rumbling,
Therefore I went across the street to pick up food.
But before I knew it, an hour passed, and I rushed to pick up my laptop before the service closed. (therefore) I went there, talked to the guy and got it. Easy!
But what I found outside shocked me — my car was gone. (therefore) I got super worried. Why was it gone? Was it stolen? I had so many questions.
(therefore) After spending a few minutes calming down, I finally got my phone out and started googling. Turns out the toll service here doesn't notify you when they literally steal your car 👀
(therefore) I called a friend to pick me up and drive me there, but they didn't answer! Maybe they were busy.
(therefore) I called another friend. (but) They didn't answer too.
But when I was starting to panic, by sheer luck, my best friend called me. (therefore) So, I convinced him to drive me there to pick up my car and get back home to my game.
To make this extra spicy, you can steal a technique from Hollywood — don't tell the story in order.
You can rearrange your bullet points and tell them in a different order to add more but and therefore moments leading to more intrigue.
Your biggest fan,Jordan
💡 Idea of the Week
⚙️ Tools, Apps, 'n' Gadgets
Here are today's picks:
Excalidraw — A colleague of mine (Yasen; means "clear" in English) is obsessed with this. It's clearly one of the easiest ways to brainstorm and make diagrams.
Asana — One of my all-time favorites. I've been using Asana since 2011 for their insanely advanced app and love for keyboard shortcuts that matches mine.
Rows — Excel met Zapier for marketers. It's amazing and I can't believe I'm still using just the free plan.
👋 Enjoying this so far?
🔦 Creator Spotlight
Jay is a fantastic example of how much is possible if you embrace the creator economy early on. He's both an inspiration and an absurdly wise guy for his age.
📰 Last Week with Jordan
General theme sentence
How to 10X your communication skills as an extrovert 👇
(nearing 2,000 subscribers on YouTube 🤯)
That was it for today. Have a great week and I'll see you next Sunday!
PS: Help me out by sharing this with a friend who'll find it useful