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A story writing process by Ira Glass

An instantly actionable method of synthesizing information into a story

March 2, 2022

I attended a virtual conference called Block by Block hosted by Notion, and Ira Glass, host of This American Life, was a guest speaker.

During his discussion about scaling the creative process with Notion's COO Akshay Kothari, he began explaining a process he uses to tackle the daunting creative task of converting many hours of interview transcriptions into a story, and I instantly started taking notes as I felt it was broadly applicable.

So here it is.

The process

As you read through the information you have collected for a piece of content you're working on:

  1. Highlight all valuable passages that could be used to tell your content's story.
  2. Add 2 asterisks (**) next to the passages that are **vital** for the story.
  3. Add 1 asterisk (*) next to passages that enhance the story but could be left out.
  4. Write a one line summary of each passage.
  5. Put all one line summaries together and organize them to create an outline.
  6. Use the outline to begin writing the story.

In Conclusion

This process is simple, battle-tested, and proven, which is why I believe it resonated with me so strongly.

However, time will tell if it truly is of value to me, but I will try any strategy at least once to see what sticks.

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