As I enter the New Year with resolutions and hopes for the future, there is one resolution that I keep at the top of my list year after year: documenting my stories. Because this is so important to me, I am always looking for new ways to do it.
This past year, I tried a new form of journaling involving my planner. I have always been a planner person. Even with technological advances, I like using pen and paper to organize my days, and since I always have my planner close by, I thought I’d try something out. Here’s what I did: Whenever something sparked a memory from my past or whenever something special happened that day that I wanted to remember, I wrote it down in my planner.
By jotting these things down in my planner as I remembered them or as they happened, I found I focused more on what’s really important in life and not just my never-ending to-do list. I also found that when I went to scrapbook, I could reference my planner for journaling ideas. Sometimes what I wrote in my planner was something that happened on a specific day, but other times I just wrote down a random memory from the past. Either way, turning to my planner gave me inspiration for what to write next to my photos, like you can see here:
The photo I used on this page was taken in June, but that little quote actually came from a conversation between these two kiddos in January. Even though the exchange didn’t happen at the same time as the photo, it made a much more meaningful story to compliment my photo than something generic like “here we are at the park… again.” The quote and photo work together to tell the story of their relationship at that point in time.
Our dear friend and brilliant storyteller, Stacy Julian, has spoken at a couple of our events in the past year, encouraging everyone to document memories as they come. On our CreativeLive show (which you can still watch for free any time you’d like, by the way 🙂 ), she led us in a fun exercise to trigger memories and stories with random photos of ordinary objects.
This exercise transformed the way I think about storytelling, showing me that even seemingly random, unconnected memories are part of my story and can often be connected to more significant memories. Instead of letting these random memories fade whenever they are sparked by something I encounter in my day, if I just take two minutes to write them down, they can be kept and told. Whether the memories are old or new, a planner is such a convenient place to record them as they come so you can remember all those details when you sit down to do your journaling.
I want to invite all of you to join me in my efforts to keep and tell stories with a new weekly planner prompt. Each week, the Home Office will post a question, thought, or photo prompt on Facebook and/or Instagram that will help spark an old memory or help you see the stories in your everyday life, which you can then write about in your planner. Just think—if you do this every week, you will capture 52 stories you may not have otherwise told or documented—what a treasure!
And if you haven’t already gotten our Everyday Life™ 2016 planner pages, I encourage you to get them now because they are half of their retail price! They provide enough space for jotting down your memories in addition to your to-do lists.
Here is the first planner prompt (sparked by my own story): Document a conversation. This could be something your cute kiddos say, a nice exchange between you and a loved one, or the conversation you observe between a grandparent and a child.
All of our weekly prompts will use the hashtag #memorykeepingmatters, so search that hashtag on Facebook or Instagram to review all our prompts at once. These prompts would be a great thing to share with your social media friends so they can preserve their memories, too. Also, feel free to share whatever part of your story you want with the same hashtag.
One of my new favorite quotes from author Madeleine L’Engle says, “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” This is what I want for my family and my life, and I want it for each of you, too. Join me in a storytelling journey by using your planner to record special memories as they come to you.
Always let your stories shine,