Storybook Journaling

One of my renewed passions is writing in a journal using the storybook journaling method. Mind you I’ve been writing in a journal of one form or another since I was a pre-teen. (I still have the Hello Kitty Journal that one of my brothers cut through to read in my treasure box.) It had maybe ten entries in it. I kept two other journals over the past twenty years and barely wrote in them.

The funny thing with journaling is that I always felt what I was writing was boring. Sure I wrote about major life events, but there was no “life” so to speak in my writing. I didn’t talk about how I felt about things much, just what was happening. I often didn’t know what to say at all, which was why I had so few entries.

Then I had an idea.

I was going to write short stories in my journal. And by short stories, I mean very short stories that I could write in ten minutes or less. I also began writing as if one of my children picked up the book and started reading it, which made my “voice” much more conversational, allowing in any humor or wit. I even write titles for each entry, giving my writing direction so that I can stay on topic and not feel like I don’t know what to write next.

It worked.

I’ve been keeping a journal for six months and have only two blank pages left to write on. My storytelling has improved through this style of journaling. By giving a narrative of my life that would mean something to someone who picked it up and read it, I now love to journal. Two nights ago, my daughter was curious about what I wrote about so I read one to her. She was smiling the entire time and thought I was pretty clever.

If you are interested in an easy way to journal, here is how I do it:

  1. Think about your day and decide what you want to tell in a story
  2. Give it a title. (Some of my titles include: Empathy, The Purge: Closet Version, Twinkle Moments, Hormones, The Power Of A Smile, Girl Talk, And Living In The Wisdom Of Uncertainty. You can also just write someone’s name and tell the story of who they are and what they mean to you. Like a character introduction in a book.)
  3. Start writing about what happened, and then give the back-story. How did you feel? Did it change you? Did it support a way of thinking? Why is it meaningful or funny?
  4. Create sections in your book. Mine has a Daily Living Section and then a Love/ Spirituality Section. I even added a “quote of the day” page to add in silly or inspiring things people would say throughout the day. (My kids love this one. They yell “Quote of the Day” when someone says something great.)

In the beginning it will take a little while to come up with content, but after a while you may find yourself writing in the margins because you ran out of space. Have fun writing about your life. You are pretty awesome and you’ll find it so much fun to go back and read about your past later on. Go ahead, tell the stories that live within you!