In Stories We Always Look For Ourselves

Plus one simple change to keep from forgetting your life

Read time: 4 minutes

Sometimes a meme really nails the landing. This is one of them.

And it’s going to be me, writing next week’s issue during our first ever honest-to-goodness family vacation.

We’re taking my son on his first trip to Disney, before he starts middle school in the fall. I . . . think he’s excited?

My parents took me there in 1987.

Despite my excitement most of the trip went right through my 8 y/o brain and out the other side, like neutrinos through our planet.

But I’ll tell you this: our most memorable story happened in the Magic Kingdom parking lot. More next week, when I finish writing about it.

My biggest vacation goal is simple: remember more.

Save more memories for my son.

What are your great travel stories? What makes them special?

  • Photo: an empty library—that’s incredibly full

  • Poetry: we look for someplace to belong to

  • Utility x Inspiration x Empathy = High-Quality Content:

    Anne Handley’s Everybody Writes

  • Homework For Life: do you remember your life? Really remember it? No? Try this.

Sometimes a story comes alive in the things left unsaid.

Details left out, questions left hanging—a story in the absence of story, like the idea of negative space in photography and design.

As readers, we always look for ourselves in a story.

We look into its eyes, hoping for someplace to belong to.

(this is why so many people hate poetry—they can’t find themselves in it)

Empathy is everything. Because in the end writing isn’t really about us: it’s about connecting with someone else in this big ol’ world, using just words.

Books about writing can be deadly dull.

Ann Handley is anything but.

Her book Everybody Writes is brimming with rules—but engaging ones. Many center around marketing, and there are gems for us all.

Bonus points for her many links to external sites for further learning. She also runs a free newsletter worth your subscription.

We’re tempted to think that writing is an art, that only a chosen lucky few can do it well. But that’s an excuse—a rationalization that lets the lazy off the hook for being the communication equivalent of a couch potato: Flabby. Unmotivated. Inarticulate.

Ann Handley, Everybody Writes

Y’all, I hate journaling. It doesn’t work for me.

Maybe you’re like that too.

But I found something that does work, and I’ve been doing it since March. It helps me remember my life, like this line from my son:

I feel like I’m treated like a king. I wish I could do more for everyone else.

You have so many small memories, drifting through your days like dust motes in the sunlight.

It’s not the big stuff you risk forgetting.

It’s all the small moments. The star stuff your life is really made of.

For all my fellow non-journalers, Homework For Life takes under 5 minutes a day.

Here’s how:

  1. At the end of each day, write 2-3 sentences about something that happened that day

  2. There is no #2

That’s it.

A one-step practice to remember your life—and your stories.

Use any tool you like (I use Notion).

Full story here with more detail on the source, a book called Storyworthy.

  • Come across a story or idea you’d love to see included? Let me know!

  • Join Medium and start your own storytelling journey

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