In reading Matthew Dicks’ book “Storyworthy“, he introduced a practice that he started years ago, and I’m giving a shot as well. Matthew calls it “homework for life”, but I actually first discovered it in a video from Ryan Kelly; the video was all about his reMarkable 2, but he briefly mentioned it while calling it his “story of the day”.
Whatever you want to call it, the practice is pretty simple. Every evening, write down a very brief story from your day. That’s it. You can write down a few stories if you’d like, but never zero. It’s intended to be just a very brief statement that brings you back into that moment. One way Matthew likes to frame it is by asking “what was different today from other days?”.
Here is Matthew’s TEDx talk from a few years ago where he explains it more in-depth:
As Matthew explains, it can take a little while to get in a rhythm. If you do it consistently, you’ll begin to notice more of these stories during the day, similar to a photographer on a photo walk. Not only does that help with your “homework” but it helps you recognize the stories as they’re happening, which is the real goal.
You can also jot down old stories that came to mind today. In my Homework For Life today, I actually wrote down two quick stories; one from today, and one from 20 years ago that came to mind.
As with many things like this, the technical “how-to” is nearly irrelevant. Matthew does it in a giant Excel document, Ryan does it in his reMarkable, and I do it in Obsidian. You may have a different place to keep them, so just put them wherever it makes the most sense.
It’s a habit that I’m still working to build, but I can see the benefits of it. Storytelling is a powerful way to capture attention, so being more aware of stories in my life can only be of benefit going forward.
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