About Me

Introverted since the 1980’s

Bad hair days since the 1990’s

Thinking outside the box since the 2000’s

Building story brands since the 2010’s

Creative freedom since the 2020’s

Hey, I’m Dave.

I started this site in 2015 after my first writing coach offered me a refund.

Here are a few quotes from the email:

I couldn’t tell you the main storyline.

I can’t tell you, with confidence, what anybody in this story was trying to accomplish.

I can’t coach what I can’t comprehend.

Ouch.

After reading those words, I dropped my blackberry and fell face first onto the bed. I poured my soul into that novel and secretly dreamed it would be my golden ticket to escape Corporate America… instead all my story earned was a refund offer.

That’s when I decided to learn how storytelling really worked. And I realized most creative writing advice was out of whack for people like you and me:

  • Most creative writing advice is about just writing and reading a lot. “Butt in chair. Avoid distractions. Set a schedule. Study the craft.” Uh, ok, but getting started is usually the hardest part and doing all of that stuff still doesn’t guarantee you’ll make real progress. 
  • Outline before you write. Brainstorming big ideas, developing character arcs, plotting cohesive storylines, yes, all that should help… but when are you supposed to start drafting? Ever spent all your time researching instead of actually writing? When does the planning phase end and who’s process are you supposed you trust?
  • Nobody talks enough about the mental warfare. You can have the “perfect” writing approach… but still feel unworthy, unmotivated or scared of moving forward. That’s because creative writing is about more than the page breaks — it’s about the headspace. 

2015 in my backyard with a stucco backdrop, where my wife snapped this photo for my website launch.

When I learned how storytelling really worked, it was surprisingly simple — setting up the right conflict, narrative pacing, and delivering key milestone events from beginning to end — but it took a lot to unlearn the invisible scripts I’d come to believe.

FAST FORWARD:

By Oct 2015, within six months of starting this site, I guest posted at that writing coach’s website.

By Dec 2016, I launched a novel writing course that helped storytellers build cohesive plots and write awesome drafts.

By April 2017, this website was named one of WRITER’S DIGEST’s 101 Best Websites for Writers.

By Dec 2017, I filmed, scripted, voiced, edited, and published a documentary that went viral. Millions viewed it, thousands shared it, hundreds emailed me, colleagues pulled me aside, a long-lost friend reached out, and a restaurant hostess thanked me during a date night with wifey.

Be Careful What You Dream — It May Come True

By Feb 2018, I overdosed on “success” — because I still didn’t possess enough mental fortitude to embrace all the attention and money I was earning.

So despite all my storytelling dreams coming true, I went offline.

By May 2018, I moved my family from the the middle of the ‘burbs to the middle of the woods. At the same time, I deleted thousands of blog subscribers due to the GDPR (because my Aweber account couldn’t identify people’s country of origin and I didn’t want to risk having “illegal subscribers”).

Then I returned to writing and producing artwork for pure fun. But I still wanted to break free of my corporate career…

My cabin in the woods where I restored my creative spirit

By April 2021, after three years of living in The ‘Sas (Arkansas), we moved back to California. My wife and I chose to repurpose our lives for our family and careers. (Plus managing acreage and livestock requires a lot of energy!)

By Aug 2021, I was able to exit my high-paying executive job because our family simplified our lifestyle and my wife went back to work (in a new teaching career she pursued).

By May 2022, after an episode of “mid-life retirement,” I’ve come full circle and relaunched my original mission of helping writers create and connect their one-of-a-kind stories — both on the page and in the heart…

Except this time around, I possess the right headspace for the long game.

What I believe

Start in the heart, not the wallet. Writing for money to escape a job you hate can easily corrupt your creativity. Build your legacy around helping humanity vs. chasing money.

You are the One you’ve been waiting for. Nobody’s coming with a magic bullet. Embrace that your potential is determined by your own free will and action. 

Growing your business is an inside job. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on the craft of storytelling (books, courses, coaching, conferences, retreats, mastermind groups). But not a single investment made a lasting impact when my mindset was infected with fear, self-doubt or imposter syndrome. First compose your headspace. Then master your page breaks.

Feedback is a fast track to improving your craft. But who wants to hear their creative baby is fugly? Alas, criticism is the cost of entry for becoming the storyteller you’re meant to be.

People make time for what matters most to them. Track your days and you’ll find the ways you’re delaying your dreams. Being honest about your priorities is a major step to rewriting the story of your life. 

Developing a writing habit can be life-changing. Journal your reality. Free your fiction. Write anything. Releasing your narratives can bring clarity to your life, both on and off the page.

Exploring the unknown welcomes new possibilities and truths. Without meeting new people and places, I’d still be the same silly kid I was 30+ years ago. Step outside your comfort zone to expand your potential.

Trust your creative compass. I’ve paid and followed the advice of many “big-time” mentors and coaches but it’s often sent me off-track. Sometimes you have to bet on yourself. Trust your gut because nobody should know you better than you.

The “natural born storyteller” is mostly a myth. Yes, storytelling savants exist. But most skilled storytellers are people who simply learned the craft to come across as naturally talented.

Be uncommon — Choose courage over coping. I believe television is the number one dream killer. But streaming isn’t the only culprit. The over consumption of anything is really about coping which can easily kill creativity. It takes courage to opt out of zombie mode and openly pursue your dreams. Adopt a little courage everyday and you’ll be a hero someday. 

From storytelling to a dream life

Once you take control of your craft, you realize that your dream life is much bigger than releasing a breakout story.

It’s your mental wealth: Do you feel worthy of success? Will you give yourself permission to become the storyteller you’re meant to be? 

It’s your social bandwidth: Do you want the masses disrupting your privacy or would you be happy with just 1,000 true fans?

It’s your lifestyle: Do you really want the pressure of writing to make ends meet or would you be okay writing for pure fun or a little side money?

It’s about creative freedom. Do you feel free to create the dream life you want?

Since 2015, that’s what I’ve worked on nonstop as my creative dreams have come true. Honing your craft is a small, but critical piece of a dream life. But once you solve that, there’s so much more.

How I run my creative endeavors

I am an introvert by nature despite being a public personality in the digital world. 

And my website is 100% me, myself and I. So when you read or use something here, you’re experiencing a solopreneur’s creation. (I’ve seen behind a few curtains and it turns out many bloggers don’t even create their own content.) 

I don’t believe in boring you with cookie cutter stuff you can get everywhere else. Instead, I let you inside my life to build a real connection. That means you receive personal and professional stories with actionable insights to advance your own creative endeavors.

My goal is to make my free stuff better than other people’s paid stuff. I strive to give away an extraordinary amount of remarkable material. See for yourself with my Free Guides and limited-time Free 30 Min 1:1 Story Coaching Chats. I’ll offer premium programs again someday but for now I’m just here to help for free.

10% of every dollar my wife and I pocket is donated to charity. I am a man of faith in the Christ Light. And my wife and I whole-heartedly believe in giving back to help humanity. We give locally within the U.S. but we’re heavily invested in two organizations in third-world countries. Those being Light 2 the World (our family actually visited Nepal to support this org), and Future Love (which is run by one of my best friends in the Philippines).

Welcome to DavidVillalva.com