If there is anything I’ve learnt in the last few weeks, it’s how completely out of control we really are. It’s the same lesson I always learn.
We like to think we have it all planned out. That life is working for us. We can’t see what’s around the corner, but we act like we can. We make plans and assume life will do what we tell it to. Yeah right.
There is however, so much we can control.
And for me, it was always about telling stories.
Stories From a Backpack
I wanted to capture and save, document and relive the wonderous adventures I’ve worked so hard for. I wanted a place to store my memories. I wanted to control how I documented the days I’ve lived and loved. And protect the moments I didn’t ever want to forget.
For me, it was always about documenting my life with words.
What about you friend? How do you document your life? Or don’t you? Do you let the good moments slip past, a brief fleeting instance that was enjoyed and then forgotten? Do you capture photos? Or do you rely on your memory? Do you hope it will store the technicolour flashes of life in crystal clear HD?
Have you ever thought about writing it down?
You don’t have to share what you write. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be carefully scrawled into a brand-new notebook. It doesn’t have to be typed into a crisp and glowing screen. It can be furiously tapped on a phone, the light glowing under the covers as you remember a precious memory in the middle of the night. It can be scribbled on the back of a scrap piece of paper as you wait for the pasta to boil. You could even write a small story on a postcard, like the hundreds that are shared on Post Secret. If you’ve never been on Post Secret before, it’s fascinating.
Reasons why you should document your life
Documenting your life is something you should be considering. There are some amazing TED talks about this.
- Writing about your life is good for your health.
- Writing about your life helps you learn. You can review and reflect. Things always look different looking back.
- Writing about your life can make you happier. Increasing joy and gratitude.
Travel stories, books and writing
Stories from a backpack will always be a place for travel, but I’m tweaking the focus to maximise its value to you, and to make the most of the skills I’ve spent the last decade building.
Travel stories have always been at the heart of stories from a backpack. I’ve never been keen to write about the top ten tips for a country, or the best restaurants. Things change too quickly. And if you’re like me, you like to make your own way. You like to do your own research. I can hook you up with some pretty amazing bloggers that write about these things. But for me, it’s always been the travel stories, that’s what I really love.
I love to creatively explore the places I’ve been through stories. Anecdotes to tell friends, or tales that wrap themselves up in a place, tying up an experience within the pages of an adventure.
Not just the pictures in front of a ‘must-see’ tourist attraction, but the feelings of a place. And the beginning, the middle and the end of an adventure. How did that place change me or challenge me?
Once you start looking for stories in travel, you’ll find them. And then you’ll find yourself looking to live better stories in your real life too. What stories can you tell about the places you’ve been and how they made you?
You can’t have stories without books.
I wrote about how I fell in love with reading and writing but I’ve fallen head over heels with books too. I want to write about these books, share with you the ideas and the inspiration I’ve read from pages and pages of other people’s stories.
I want to be able to recommend the best books, the books that will heal you and make you cry. I want to share with you the books that will help you tell your own stories. So, I’ll be increasing the amount I share and write about books on the blog.
You are an everyday storyteller.
You have a world of stories within you and you owe it to the world to set them free. Every single thing that has happened to you, is yours. You get to tell it your way.
As Anne Lamott says, “If people want you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
I’m just finishing off my Master of Arts in Creative Writing. I’ve just finished my first novel and I’m starting on my second. I want to share all of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from doing these things with you, because I really believe your stories matter.
You need to document your stories because they are your life, your legacy.
I can help you
Most people don’t write because:
- They feel they don’t have time
- They think their words don’t matter
- They don’t know how
- They think they don’t have ideas
Do any of those sound like you friend?
Can you really say you don’t have time to document your life? To savour stories, you can share with your family. You don’t have time to carve out fun tales you can share over a meal? What about the places that made you who you are, can you say that those places don’t matter enough for you to write about them?
I can help you with the how, the ideas and the time. But you have to believe in your stories. You have to believe that your words matter. You will never regret writing a story down. You only regret the stories you don’t tell.
You are an everyday storyteller
It’s time to start documenting your life. This is why I’m going to be writing a lot more content about stories and how to write. About how to become an everyday storyteller.
“So this, I believe is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”– Elizabeth Gilbert.
How will you document your life?
- A line a day or a question a day – A quick way to document your life and see how it changes.
- Photo albums – Physically print out the pictures you love. You could have your top 10 pictures each month. Nobody prints photos out anymore. Spend a day a month documenting your life with photos.
- Keepsakes box – Collect small things that remind you of stories. A cinema ticket, a leaflet for a course you went on. Your favourite coffee shop’s business card. So many stories are stored in things. Save them.
- Journal – Write down your thoughts and stories in a private journal. Nobody has to see it. These are my favourite.
- Scrapbooking – Make beautiful books, filled with your stories.
- Vlogs – Start recording some of your ordinary days and look for things that make them stand out. You don’t have to show anyone.
- Blogs – My favourite. Imagine if you had your own space too, a place to share all of your stories.
- Instagram pictures – Why not share a picture a day for a year? Document the day to day life of one whole year. It’s a great way to force yourself to explore if you are really happy with how the pictures represent your life.
- A memories jar – When a story happens, write it down and place in a memories jar. At the end of year open the jar and read about all of the wonderful stories that have happened.
- Reflection postcards – Document your life by starting with small snippets of stories scribbled on a postcard. We know some pretty cool postcards you could order to get started.
What about you? How will you document your life?
I’d love to what you think about the small tweaks and changes. Send me an email [email protected] I’ll get back to you straight away.
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