Upstairs Community
—publishing your story

Hey, seeker! I’m Oana, the gal in charge of the Upstairs Community. Since we kicked-off this tribe, I’ve been talking with dozens of people about the process of writing and publishing a story.

If you read these lines, there’s a good chance you are familiar with our work. And maybe you even consider contributing by sharing a narrative that made you a better person.


For this to happen, I feel it’s essential to know how things work behind the scene. Allow me to walk you through the journey we take once you manifest the desire to write a story for the Upstairs Community.

1. Choose a red thread

We experience plenty of things during our lifetime, and some of them heavily impact our becoming. It can be a holiday made on the other side of the world, an introspection about our professional path, a chronic illness that affects our lives, and so on. Each of these endeavors helps us become a better version of ourselves—a better mom, son, grandfather, employee, citizen, leader, you-name-it.

The first thing is to choose a piece of your life that obliged you to push the boundaries and overcome a difficult challenge.

Share your suggestions with me by sending me an email at oana@pixelgrade.com, and we’ll decide together which one fits best with the promise we’re making towards our members.

2. Write the first draft

Start writing about the event that marked your becoming and do it as precisely as possible. Make sure you paint a full picture that allows readers to imagine where you’ve been, what happened, with whom you were, what was the drive behind your actions, how you felt.

The first draft is called so for a reason. It does not have to be flawless, neither it has to be the last draft, too. Its main role is to help you bring to the surface the most important pieces of the puzzle.

Send me this draft, and I’ll provide thorough feedback and further guidance. Sometimes, this means you will need to rewrite some passages; other times, it involves rethinking the structure; most of the time, it implies asking for more details to avoid assumptions. Show, don’t tell, they say.

3. Editing and proofreading

Once you’re getting closer to the final version of your narrative, when you’ve already iterated and included the feedback amplifying the core, we’ll start the editing process.

At first, I’ll edit and proofread the story to make sure it’s flawless in spelling, grammar, and information architecture. For instance, I’ll suggest a few headings that help the readers stick to the red thread and keeps them engaged with the lecture.

My teammate, Andrei, double-checks everything before uploading the story to our system. We use a plugin called Newsletter through which we send the narratives to our members.

There’s no promo, no tracking, nada, niente, nimic.

4. Initiate a dialogue

We’ve recently launched a friendly yet reliable conversation system present below each story, similar to what we have on our blog. Its purpose is to encourage honest and authentic dialogues around your particular narrative. You can check this example to get a feel about how it works.

The initial question comes from the author of the story (you) since this is the most organic way to start a conversation. Members can join and contribute with both their insights and further questions to keep the ball rolling.

It’s a great way to capture knowledge from people worldwide (from Japan to the United States, from Switzerland to Australia, from UK to Romania) and make the conversation even more valuable.

5. Fill the survey

Once we send your story in the world, aka to our members, I’ll follow-up asking to fill a quick survey. Its purpose is to gather feedback about our collaboration and what we can improve to make the experience even better. Here’s an example of a question: What convinced you to contribute and share your story?

On top of that, it’s an opportunity to ask for potential contributors’ recommendations, people who might enjoy sharing a piece of their lives with us.


That’s it, and I’m looking forward to working with you and publishing your story in our growing community.

Stay kind,
—Oana