#LittleSummerJOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story

You probably already know this by now, friend, but we’re *just a little obsessed* with telling our own stories here at LPP. We can’t help it. It’s just part of who we are.

I can’t tell you where my obsession with story telling came from, but if I had to name a reason, a single inspiration point that drives me to tell stories over and over again, my answer would be: connection.

I love connecting with people. And I think a great way to do that is through telling personal stories that are a little funny, or a little ridiculous, or a little silly.

When I was a young professional, just starting out in my first office job, I would come in nearly every morning with some story from the time between when I left the office the day before and when I arrived that following morning. Sometimes that story would be a 10 second acknowledgement that the barista at that coffee shop was definitely hung over. Sometimes that story would be an exciting event, like trying out a new restaurant. And sometimes that story would be something funny my cats did.

Oh yes, friends. I’ve told PLENTY of cat stories in my day.

The truth is, I always knew that no one cares about my cats. They definitely aren’t interested that my cats and I watched a squirrel climb through our neighbor’s tree for a half hour. And they definitely don’t care that my cats love the chewy treats better than the crunchy ones.

They might, however, have cared about that one time my cat used the actual potty, unprompted, all by herself.

It’s still one of my best cat stories.

Anyway, no one cares about my cats. And I know that. And I told the stories, every single day, to every single coworker, anyway.



Telling stories is a way of connecting with people. And getting in the practice of telling your own silly, unimportant, ridiculous little stories is a skill that will absolutely make you a better life-documenter, and also a more interesting coworker and friend. 

So, with that, I’ll hand this prompt over to Marie Sheil, our dear Aussie friend, who will inspire you with a fun little challenge to get started on this journey of getting into YOUR STORY.

– Julie

G’day Mate!! It’s me, Marie, from Australia. Here to share my love for telling stories, complete with the Crocodile Dundee voice/accent. Feel free to read the rest of the prompt this way.


My lesson for today is about telling your story – with words.

As memory keepers, we tell our stories with the photographs we choose and the products and embellishments that go with them. This practice of visual story telling is something we learn as children, long before we can make sense of words and sentence structure.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

From our earliest moments of life, we learn through what we see. Our books begin as picture books, with simple shapes and colors to convey simple messages. As we get older, more words are added, the pictures are given more detail, and the stories told through those pictures and words teach us about life, culture, and how to navigate the world.

Eventually, we graduate to reading books, novels, with no pictures at all. So how can we tell what the mood is, what the era is, how the scenery looks and feels, what the food tastes like?

It’s written in the words the author chooses and what those words mean to the reader.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

They say a picture paints a thousand words, but any random photograph will only have meaning to the people who were there, who understand the place, the event, the feeling and sentiment of the spaces missing from the picture.

Your Assignment

Last week we navigated a local, familiar place through the eyes of a tourist. This week, the same concept – the same assignment – applies. Except rather than being a tourist in your home town, you’re going to be a tourist of your own life.

Great! Sooooo … what does that mean??!

It means being curious. It means seeing the random, happy coincidences that occur on your commute as something worth remembering. It means writing down, or taking a random photo, after something makes you laugh, or cry, or roll your eyes. It means taking a photo as a point of reference, so that you can later go back and tell that story.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

Every day this week, you’ll step into the world with curious, tourist eyes. You’ll notice the people riding next to you on the subway. You’ll notice the details in your routines, or – especially because it’s summer – the lack thereof.

Imagine you overhear a funny conversation between two people on the train. Take a picture of your feet, or of the train as it drives away, or the station that you arrived at. Think about the conversation you overheard. Why was it funny? What about it is worth retelling? And, most importantly, why?

Or perhaps you really do have a funny cat. And you get home from running errands, only to find the cat unrolled your entire toilet paper roll, or decided to fall asleep in that ONE PLACE where you didn’t want her to. What do you do? You take a picture of your cat, or of the toilet paper roll, and you write about it. It can be a one sentence description. It can be 3 paragraphs on you, in your mind, yelling at the cat about her lack of sensitivity towards bathroom needs.

Little Summer JOY Lesson Three | Get into YOUR Story with Marie Shiel

The point is, it can be whatever you want. And you can write it however you want. And you can record and remember it however you want.

Just pick a story, if you can, about something that makes you happy. Something that made you smile. Something you want to remember, not because it’s important, but because of how unimportant it is.

And make sure to write about your feelings for the moment. Write about why you chose to capture that particular image, that story, that sentiment, at that particular time. What do you like most about it? What about it makes you smile?

While jotting down notes and drafting your stories think about painting a picture with the words you use. Get descriptive. Get out of your writing comfort zone.

And when you’re ready, please share your creative stories from this lesson and your budding novel { giggle } on Instagram and feel free to tag me @mariesheil @littlepaperprojects #littlesummerjoy #littlewinterjoy.

As always, Happy Documenting, friends!!



Filed under Little Summer JOY

I'm passionate about documenting life in a meaningful way. Co-Creator of Little Paper Projects, Blogger at How I Sustain Blog, and Yoga Teacher at Renegade Power Yoga. Find all the links to all of my work at www.JulieLoveGagen.com.