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Living Like Writers: Collecting Stories.

Earlier this week, I posted about finding meaning in the everyday stories of our lives.  I ended the post with this line:

So here’s to collecting the stories of our lives, finding the real meaning behind them, and helping students to do the same.

Then Terri asked this question (thanks for the comment):

Terri Quesinberry said:

What kinds of things will you be putting in the writer’s notebook to support this? I use a lot of stuff from Aimee Buckner and others, but am always looking for new and fresh ideas!

When I read Terri’s comment, I began thinking about the kinds of stories I collect from my ordinary life.  Here is the list I developed (with links to past posts as an example):

  • Stories that define the personality of the people around me — this is my number one type of entry.
  • Lists of important places — I even have lists of favorite places of a favorite place!  For example, one of my favorite places is my home, so I have a list of the favorite places in my home.  I’ve noticed place has become an inspiration for many stories for me.
  • Sad, traumatic, or difficult events — Recently our head custodian at school passed away.  He was a friend of mine and I collected the story of his funeral on my personal blog.
  • Funny or sweet or poignant things people say (mine primarily revolves around the words of a three, five, and seven year old). This blog is dedicated to collecting funny quips from students.  (The author recently had a baby and is on maternity leave.  She will not return until November, still the past posts are worth reading and this is one you may want to bookmark!)
  • Stories inspired by photos — often when I write from a photo I remember things that were looooong forgotten.
  • Connections between people or times — for instance both my husband and our five year old love to dress up in crazy costumes.  This is something I document.
  • Routines — then pushing to find meaning.
  • Notes — to others and myself
  • Milestones — birthdays, preschool graduations, starting a new school year.
  • Gratitude Lists — all the things I’m thankful for
  • Entries based on other writing
  • Today You or Today I lists — I adore this prompt.
  • My spiritual growth — many of my entries/posts are inspired by my Christian journey.

So the Living Like a Writer Challenge for this weekend is:

Collect some of the everyday stories from your weekend.  Then take a minute to leave a comment with one of the entries you collected (or a partial entry).  If you need a jumping off point, be inspired by the above list.  In fact, you could make an entry right now in the comments section.  I would suggest the Today I list or the Gratitude list.  They only take minutes and they are powerful entries.

I’m looking forward to the inspiration that will fill up the comment section of our blog.  Thanks, in advance, for taking the time to comment.

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

11 thoughts on “Living Like Writers: Collecting Stories. Leave a comment

  1. Today’s story:
    I am learning that I am not alone in this house. This morning I noticed the raisin bread bag next to the microwave instead of on it. As I moved closer I noticed a little black object, like a black rye seed, lying near it. Then I saw the smoking gun: a corner of the raisin bread is missing, the corner under the chewed up hole in the bag.
    I am not alone in this house but I think the raisin bread eater may have been here before me.


  2. Thanks for all your writing. These posts have been helpful in all areas of writing.
    Here are my current thoughts for this weekend:
    Soon I will be saying good-bye to my son and new daughter-in-law. Tomorrow I get in a car and head for Missouri (home), they will get on a cruise ship for a honeymoon to Mexico. So today we celebrate the time we have left together with a homemade pizza dinner and reflect on the wedding one week ago. Today I must pack my bags. Get the car loaded for an early start tomorrow. Today I try to bring this part of my trip to a closure. Who knows what will happen after tomorrow.


  3. Thanks for these great ideas-I just jotted down my today I list:
    •Awoke to the sound of the lawnmower outside my window-dear husband starting cutting grass at 8:00 AM
    •Cleaned the bathroom and kitchen
    •Cooked brownies
    •Made apple dip
    •Went to town with went to shoe store for work boots, to Wal-Mart, the auto store, and feed store
    •Visited with Jena and Kelly
    •Had fun chatting with Katie
    •Created 6 scrapbook pages at my club meeting


  4. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been working on sorting out how to set up and use a writer’s notebook with my classes this year and this post really helped me understand the difference between collecting and seed ideas in an organized student notebook. I intend to get Aimee Buckner’s Notebook Know-How, but have been waiting until I have the extra money to spend on some books.


  5. Thanks for the great list of ideas. It was fun to go through and see the types of writing that I also do and to see great sources of inspiration that I had not thought of yet. This will be great for me as I support my middle schoolers in their writing as well. I look forward to doing the challenge this weekend.


  6. I am really appreciating these tell your story posts Ruth. I have been heading in this direction over the last few months – wanting to collect the stories of our everyday life. I look forward to reading more about this topic.


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