Capture Stories of Others

Sometimes journaling gets this bad reputation of just being a place to be self-absorbed. But I don’t think journaling is merely “me, me, me” at all!

A huge part of my journaling is capturing the stories of other people. It’s capturing how we interact with each other and the world and how we grow.

journaling tips

My father-in-law came up to visit/help us with some construction projects at the future hangar house for a week before he heads back to Germany. I like to watch how he and Martin work together. I listen to them chat. I watch how they interact. Sometimes I participate. But mostly, I observe or make them pose for a photo. And then, I write.

In this case, I have a photo and blurb on one side. Then I have two or three pages of their story. I’m using my {She:me, my heart, my world} journal and something NEW at Gadanke: {Storycatching Kit} – Nature Journal!

nature scrapbook

I love how being with different people brings out various sides of ourselves.

My father-in-law knows how to push Martin’s buttons faster than anyone I know. He also knows how to get Martin laughing until Martin is bright red and gasping for air. I’ve watched as their father/son dynamic has shifted into a nerdy, awesome friendship.

I like that I can flip through pages of my journal and see how their story has changed through my eyes. I actually find that the stories I tell about other people really capture our relationship without me saying it directly.

Martin likes that there is this treasure chest of memories that we would have long forgotten without my journal habit.

This weekend, I challenge you to write about people. Try these three things over the course of the day:

1. Be a participant. Sit at the table and talk. Go through your routines and errands. Watch how you work together and what you say to each other.

2. Be an observer. Being present in the moment is completely possible without you participating in the conversation at all. I’d even argue that you might be more present when you aren’t engaging with other people. It really gives you the chance to observe:

  • What people are wearing
  • Facial expressions and body language
  • Personal habits
  • Interactions between people
  • Where people stand, sit, or gather
  • What makes people feel joy

3. Reflect. What did you see? Think about why relationships are the way they are right now. How do you feel about it? Are there any surprises? Any simple beauties in what you experienced or witnessed?

Documenting bits and pieces of other people’s stories around you paints a better picture of the life you’re living. The more you practice journaling this way, the more you’ll start to see what motivates you and the people you’re with, what inspires you, and what makes you laugh.

one month to a better journal

Who’s story will you pause to capture? What are you discovering?