Micro Storytelling

My philosophy for telling short-form stories on the internet

Writers, founders, fellow muggles. Welcome to World Builders, the newsletter to help you become a more effective, creative storyteller.

Here are 1 tactic, 3 ideas, and 1 resource to do just that. Let’s get to it.

Hook of the day: “When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.”

Reply with your best guess of what novel it comes from. I’ll send the 18th correct reply a copy of Storyworthy.


Four months ago, I made my first hire through Oceans. An executive assistant. I was skeptical, but the service came highly recommended by Austin Rief, the CEO of Morning Brew. So I signed up for a trial period.

Two weeks in, I had no idea how I operated before.

Today, my EA+ manages three email accounts, tracks growth metrics, creates SOPs, and handles ad ops for this newsletter. She’s been a complete game-changer. I focus on my superpowers (content + writing), she lightens the load everywhere else.

Outside of the EA+ offering, Oceans also has fantastic folks from Sri Lanka who specialize in Marketing and Finance. I tried (and failed with) a few similar services before finding Oceans. They’re not cheap, but they’re top quality.


Going from writing 75,000-word books to 240-character tweets (pre-Elon) kicked my butt.

It’s a different type of storytelling. Plus, I:

  • Had no network

  • Didn’t get psychology

  • Knew nada about copywriting

And that meant my first few months writing on the internet were brutal.

Now, I use “Micro Storytelling” in almost everything I post.

Here’s the framework (which should be helpful for any short-form storytelling):

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For the first 27 years of Cormac’s writing career, hardly anyone noticed. None of his books sold 5,000+ copies.

Blood Meridian came out in 1985 and didn’t hit any charts. This week, it hit #7 on Amazon.

RIP to a legend.


Hemingway’s Theory of Omission:

“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.”

Storytelling is as much about what you omit as what you include.

Your story must create open loops. Places where you raise questions, create slippery slopes, and let your audience’s mind explore on its own.

Omission – withholding info – is one way to do that.


“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something -- anything -- down on paper. A friend of mine says the first draft is the down draft -- you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft -- you fix it up. You try to say what you have to say more accurately. And the third draft is the dental draft, where you check every tooth, to see if it's loose or cramped or decayed, or even, God help us, healthy.“

This idea from Anne Lamott influenced my writing process more than any other. Without it, I’d still be editing the intro to last week’s newsletter.


With the topic of this newsletter being Micro Storytelling, I wanted to introduce you to someone who crushes this — Jash Dholani.

He calls himself ‘The Old Books Guy’ on Twitter. I don’t know Jash, but I’m a fan of his writing.

Take a read through some of his threads and you’ll find many great examples of Micro Stories. My favorite:

Want to go deeper on storytelling?

1. If you want a practical way to improve your storywriting in less than 25 minutes daily, check out StoryWork (200+ students).

2. Grab time with me for a 1:1 session on storytelling, newsletters, attracting an audience, or anything else.

3. To sponsor the newsletter, reply to this email for details.

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Hope you have a great week,