Storytelling: A Form of Journaling and Self-Realization


People always talk about journaling. Dot-journaling, listing, writing out feelings, or writing about your day. A lot of people find journaling to be therapeutic. It’s a great way to release your emotions and take in what’s going on in your life.

I’ve tried journaling, and it is quite helpful. Ranting about certain things to a motionless, feeling-less piece of paper is surprisingly calming.

Even so, I’ve recently had to face an issue that was consuming all of my energy. All I could do was spend my days worrying, thinking about this problem of mine. Journaling made it a bit easier to cope, but it felt like I needed something more.

I’ve been a storyteller for a while. As a kid, I’d read tons of books and spend hours in alternate universes. I was so inspired by the adventures the protagonists faced and the trials they went through that I wanted to craft my own worlds. Today, writing stories has become a part of my DNA.

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I’d never really considered writing something autobiographic before. It was terrifying to think about writing a novel so personal that anyone could read. I’d never considered that an autobiography didn’t necessarily have to be read.

My predicament caused me to look for something beyond just journaling. So, I started writing an autobiography and told myself that no one would ever see it.

At first, I was timid. I was scared of using real names, of recalling things imperfectly, or of saying something inappropriate. Each time, I reminded myself that this work was completely for myself. I pushed myself to include everything. I wasn’t writing for a publisher. I wasn’t writing it to make tons of money. I was writing it for my current and future self.

By allowing myself to be vulnerable, I was able to remain invested in it. While storytelling is similar to journaling, it allows you to act as a narrator, rather than a protagonist.

Instead of saying whatever comes to mind in any order that suits you, storytelling keeps things chronological and more organized. With storytelling, you get to be carefree and tell your life’s story as though the only ones who’ll read it are the remnants of an apocalyptic world searching through ashes to find it.

Storytelling offers freedom. It lets you view your own life as an outsider. It permits you to talk about events that have happened to you like scenes in a play. It’s a way to turn your own existence into something reminiscent of famous novels such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games (although I pray nobody’s going through what Katniss had to).

The best part about storytelling is the records it keeps. Personally, when I journal, I’m not so focused on the scene-by-scene events in my life. I’m more focused on my feelings and not what’s going on. When you use a storytelling method, you’re doing a mix. You get to describe what’s happened to you and the people you know while simultaneously introducing how you felt at that time. In my own writing, I even go back and forth between descriptive flashbacks and my feelings about specific topics mentioned in my memories.

Later on in your life, you’ll be able to come back to these pages and remember what’s happened to you. I know I’m very forgetful, so typing up my memories is a way for them to remain in my mind. I enjoy remembering how I met someone or how I felt the first time I slept in a college dorm. I love being able to read back and have these memories sparked. With storytelling, you can easily read through your past like a book. The only difference is that you’re the main character.

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The key to this method of journaling is defining your own boundaries. It can be different for each person.

For some, you may want to write an autobiography that you can show your friends, family, or even the world. For others, you may want to keep everything locked up and totally to yourself. For me, I think I’m still figuring that out.

I’ve found storytelling to be an effective way of dealing with my thoughts. It’s obviously not the best for everyone, but if you’re very artistic and enjoy reading, it could be something to try. It gave me some separation from what I was dealing with. It also allowed me to keep records of my memories, so I’d never forget my past.

Storytelling may not work for you, but it may help. If you’re struggling with journaling, it may be the solution you’ve been looking for.

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