Using a Story Log

In my post on 2021 Daily Challenges I shared that I achieved a 91% success rate in maintaining a daily story log, for a total of 332 stories out of 365 days. In that post I wrote,

In Storyworthy, Matthew Dicks wrote about his experience noting daily at least one incident that occurred. The prompt he suggested is, “If I had to tell a story about today, what would it be?”

In 2021 I used a small notebook to record the stories. However, I must have first read about the story log concept in 2019, because I found a spreadsheet from that year. Below is a 4-year record of my story log efforts …

Story log entries by year.

Why keep a story log?

While capturing a story daily is a great way to record memories, I see the true purpose of a story log as a way to build a catalog of personal stories to use for presentations, talks, sermons, and storytelling. Telling personal stories as illustrations is a preferred to using stories from well-known public figures.

As I noted in a post on 5 keys to productivity, doing any activity daily has a significant impact compared to doing the same activity weekly or monthly. To make the math easier, 300 stories per year for 5 years would be 1,500 stories to draw from for writing and speaking.

For reasons I can’t recall, I stopped entering stories after about a month. I tried and failed again in 2020. Keeping the stories in a notebook worked well, but makes it hard to search and connect stories. For that reason, in 2022 I returned to collecting stories in a spreadsheet, but only in January and the last quarter of the year.

Story log entries by month for 2022

This Twitter post from Nathan Baugh` inspired me to start again …

How I keep a story log

Using Google Forms, I created a simple form with the date of the story and the story. I connected the form to a Google Sheets spreadsheet where I also added a year field. The date and time of each entry are recorded by the form.

My first story in the story log

I captured my initial entries with a one line summary. At the time I recalled more details, but when I reviewed these more recently, I couldn’t recall those necessary details. So, when I started again in 2022, I wrote longer stories, basically a paragraph per story. Below are 2 personal stories from a recent trip to Florida.

Even though I just wrote above about collecting personal stories, I also found it useful to capture other interesting stories from various sources.

Story from my wife’s Facebook feed

Next steps

In addition to collecting stories in 2023 I hope to create a couple of additional columns in my spreadsheet to categorize the stories. That will likely be a future blog post.

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