Open up a book. A good book. A book that made you feel something, think something, maybe even do something. Now find that page where the author says thank you. The author says thank you to all of the people that made that book possible.

We may not all be writing books or novels, or even non-fiction pieces, but everybody tells a story. Whether you want to or not, everything you do and everyone you interact with is another line in the story you are telling. It’s possible to tell a good story all by yourself. The story may have inherent worth, it may have struggle, it may even reveal something true. But stories are always better with people. More people. Different people.

My own journey of writing is just getting started. The very first piece I ever got published was nonfiction. I put it together by myself, and I put a lot of thought and effort and energy into it. I thought it was pretty good. I sent it into the journal that I had been writing it for, and what followed was several weeks of back and forth edits, comments, inputs, and outright deletions. All told, by the time that article landed on the website, there had been no fewer than six people involved in the ideas it contained. Sure, I’m the one that hit the keys and decided on the phrasing and did the writing; that’s part of being an author. But the ideas were all of ours. Since then I’ve only published a few other pieces, but I’ve written quite a bit. And whether the story I’m trying to tell is one of absolute fact, or absolute fantasy, one thing has held true every time I sit down to the keyboard. It always gets better when more people look at it.

So think about the stories that you tell in your life. Who are the people that help you to develop it? When you get feedback, does that give you more and better ideas? Do you follow every input with a, “Yes! And…”? How excited can you be about a story, a concept, an idea, all by yourself? And the last question I’ll leave you with is this: how much more excited are you when telling your story to other people?