What's Your Origin Story? #Monday Blogs - Jo-Ann Carson

What's Your Origin Story? #Monday Blogs

I’ve paused my creative projects due to life. That is, I’m not writing daily or podcasting. I head-2147328_1280had to stop all of it.
I hit a wall. You know what it’s like. We’ve all hit a few bricks in our lifetime. Something happens and it makes us stop, and reconsider everything.
So … I’m creatively on pause, which is turning into a creative stewing period, which could be a good thing, or not. We’ll see.
After all, some stews don’t taste that good in the end, no matter how long they’ve simmered.
Anyway, during this pause, I’m giving myself license to explore anything that takes my interest.
I got to thinking about origin stories. First, because if I complete the trilogy I’m working on, an origin story would be a great gift to give readers for free. Second, because they say part of a strong author brand is having a compelling origin story.

What is an Origin Story?

batgirl-2442163_1920It’s the Adam & Eve tale that explains how a character or world began. For example, comic book stories all have origin stories. Think Superman and Spiderman. Knowing where a character or storyline starts helps sell the character. Typically they are stories about an underdog gaining superpowers.

Why Create a Personal Origin Story?

Readers or consumers of your product want to know where you came from and why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Consider:

Google was… two Stanford nerds in a dorm room with pizza and an algorithm. (Michael Magolis)

Interesting, eh?
In the past, when I read advice about creating my own origin story to sell myself, I blanched. My mind rattled. No one wants to know about me, not little old me. I’m really not that interesting and I don’t want to create a superwoman story to hide behind. No one likes selling themselves.
Fast forward to my stew. …  I found interesting information on origin stories. In Michael Magolis’s blog post, What Every Innovator Needs to Master: The Origin Story, he details how to find the super-hero within you.


  • What is it in you, your family or your history that led you to create, build or master your business, product, cause or mission? What are your roots—the lineage or path—you come from?
  • What are your motivations for why you do what you do? Are your motivations genuine, and pure? How can you prove it? (Think empathy and vulnerability.)
  • What are you willing to fight for? And why is this personal to you? (The secret is you are doing this so others don’t have to struggle with the same pain.)
  • Who exactly are your doing this for? Why will they give a shit?
  • What is it about your life experience that gave you the wisdom and perspective to know you can come up with something different or better?

Despite bringing a message of transformation, you must anchor your message in the past, with something familiar, that we can all identify with and relate to.
Your origins are the foundation for any innovation story. Your roots. Your strength. Your core credibility. Make sure you’re choosing fertile soil for your story to grow and ripen.”

Do I Have a Origin Story?

Not yet, but this questionnaire intrigues me. It helps me see I could write one.
Maybe I’ll take time out of my stew to write one. I’ll let you know. Simply answering the questions above I can say:

  1. My parents were good, caring people who turned to alcohol to deal with life, but the alcohol gave them more grief. From a young age, I felt there had to be better ways to manage the ups and downs of being human. I chose a creative life. To me, that sounds like a bland start for an origin story, but it is my motivation.
  2. I hope my stories entertain my readers, and connect with them on a deep level, elevating them from the daily grind.
  3. I want to show that love (for oneself and for others) conquers all.
  4. I write for women over 50, who will care about my stories because they will see themselves in them.
  5. Like my readers, I’m a survivor.

How about you? Do you have an origin story? Do you feel you want/need one?

graphics from Pixabay.com

14 Replies to “What's Your Origin Story? #Monday Blogs”

  1. Intriguing post…I’ve bookmarked it for future reference. Like you, I hit a “pause” last fall. Not sure how to proceed, I decided to write a memoir about my cancer journey. I wrote a very rough first draft during NaNoWriMo. I cheated and told everyone in the NaNo group that I was writing a novel. Right now, I’m working on the first edit. I’m not certain what I’ll do with the final product. I may just keep it for myself. I like the idea of an origin story…I may incorporate parts of that into the memoir. 🙂

    1. Hi Joanne,
      I wrote a cancer memoir as I was going through all the procedures, through the long dark night, as they say. I couldn’t find an agent or a publisher for it, but the process started me on my writing journey.
      I hope you finish your memoir and publsih it, to help others. What doesn’t break us, makes us stronger, and makes us who we are.

  2. Great blog, Jo-Ann! I was intrigued by the questions and I took the 10-minute question test and found another layer of my story. I knew the theme of my next memoir, but I have found two themes that I didn’t want to elaborate on. However, they keep coming up, so it’s time to look at my fears around the topics and get writing! Thank you for sharing this process with us and I hope you get back to the creative flow soon.

    1. Hi Marion Ann,
      Writing memoir is darn hard. I commend you for digging deep into yourself to find answers and make sense of life. I’m glad the questions added insight and I wish you well on your wip.
      Thanks for your well wishes.

  3. Great post, Jo-Ann. I think sometimes we all need a break. Love the questions and the idea of an Origins story. I can see it working on a personal level and on a book level to help us really know our characters. I’ve about caught up with a bunch of writing & church stuff and plan to spend time working on my obit and funeral plans. We’ve lost a lot of folks lately suddenly. 🙁
    Those of us who are adult children of alcoholics have special strengths, but we have scars, too. God bless, my friend.

    1. Hi Marsha,
      I’m sorry to hear you have lost loved ones. My deepest condolences.
      I agree, we all have scars. They make us who we are, which is the premise of an origin story. I normally don’t talk about my past, because it’s in my past, and the last thing I want is pity, but when I came across this questionaire and answered it truthfully, I did a double-take. My past has made my present.
      Still, I don’t know that I’ll polish my responses into an origin story as I still don’t think it’s compelling enough. lol.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  4. I think we all need breaks sometimes. I may be overdoing mine. Like you I think of my life as fairly normal with not much fodder for an origin story. Yet to others they are fascinating and possibly eye opening. Or eye rollingly boring to our teenage children. Hmmm…..

    1. Hi Pat,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. You always make me laugh. I can just see our kids rolling their eyes:)
      I agree about breaks. While they are refreshing, there is always the worry they may stretch too far.
      I don’t, btw, think your life is mundane. A single Mom, who helps other in the ER of a major hospital, while struggling with he​r own health issues. I think of you, my friend, as an unsung heroine.

  5. I found it a really mind grabbing post and printed it off to do later today. I can see it would be good to confirm what I suspect is my
    own origin story and, as Marsha says, on a book level to really know my characters. I have taken a much longer break than I realized
    – a good four months. It slipped by without me realizing that I was only thinking about my story – not putting the words down. I hope
    that your creative muse will soon be knocking at your door, my friend.

    1. Hi Daniela,
      A four-month break sound ​luxurious, and really at our age, why not? Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      I can hear my muse whining, but she’s not knocking yet:)

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