Express the Unexpressable in Pictures | How to Tell Your Story
Have you ever been at a loss for words to explain all the feelings pent up inside? I have, many times. Sometimes life is harder to put into words than in pictures.
So when this happens, how do you go about telling your story?
Come along with me as I go step by step on how I expressed the unexpressable in my journal in minutes.
After journaling this, I discovered a message I have been hearing but not understanding all month long, and I finally connected the dots!
Step 1 : Get ready
When an author starts to write a story, what we often don't see is the preparation they undertook before the first stroke of the pen on paper or the first letter typed out.
There is no better mental and emotional preparation than to reflect it physically on your desk. This step tells me, "I am not going to sweep this under the rug. I am going to be brave and face it head on, whatever it is."
I use an A5 binder for my journal because I love that I can rearrange the pages whenever and however I like. Don't you ever had a page falling off because you tore the opposite page of a thread bound notebook?
I also used storytelling stickers from the Extender Packs instead of the Storytelling Starter Pack, knowing anything I would want to express I would find in them.
Step 2: Envision the end
Where did I want to be as a result of this? How do you want this chapter of your story to end?
For this chapter, I wanted :
Clarity. Hope fulfilled. Encouragement.
When I journal, I chronicle the story of my life. A life written by an amazing author, God. And so far in the chapters of my life, I have to say, He's the most epic storyteller ever.
I really find a story inspiring and beautiful when the protagonist comes out victorious in the end.
I did this simply by using a strip of craft paper that had beautiful spring flowers in it as a single strip along the page. As of this writing, New Zealand is approaching spring. I love how everything just seems "happier" when the flowers bloom all around.
Step 3: Feel
Feelings are sometimes as clear as "angry" or "happy". But sometimes, feelings aren't like words on a paper that spell themselves out. They just need a listening ear, who will simply hear them out.
Am I frustrated? Am I angry? Feeling confused? Stressed? In limbo?
I think the first step to understanding vague feelings is to admit what one feels. I've had many a misunderstanding with significant love ones just because neither of us first understood, much more admitted, what we really felt.
Because the stickers are so visual, it's easy to reflect feelings rather than trying to find the right words to describe them.
I also put some dialogue to add a bit more context about the plot of my story.
Step 4: Pivot on the turning point
Every epic story has one. Everyone's story has one (or will have one).
It's called the turning point - for bad or for good.
It's when the protagonist makes a choice that upturns the whole story and sends it reeling to its envisioned end.
For this story, my turning point was a wake up call.
How could I get to my envisioned end unless there was a shift in my thinking? Hope rose up in me and a phrase from a verse that's been popping up everywhere popped into my mind : "I live by faith"
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
I chose a panel from the Pretty Panels Extender Pack with speed lines and a diagonal border to show the dynamic shift in me. As you can see, I combined different panels from different sets to pace my story.
I then used a realization bubble from the Bubballoons Extender Pack to show that turning point phrase.
Step 5: Resolve
Show the end. Show that the conflict you had at the first few panels have been resolved.
Have you ever seen that movie that didn't resolve things in the end and it left you hanging? Some people love it. Me, not very fond of 'em. I think the best movies are always the ones with a good resolution to them.
If you feel like you can't put a resolution on it yet, ask yourself, have you got the turning point? The resolution usually follows quickly from the turning point. It doesn't have to be an event or closure. All it needs to do is resolve the conflict at the start.
Obviously in this story, my conflict was that I was feeling overwhelmed about life.
My resolution was overcoming this overwhelm by putting my trust in God who reminded me to live by faith. I didn't have all the answers. But I had a God who did -- and answer He did a week later after making this journal entry! Isn't He amazing?
I showed this by picking a panel with pink flowers in the background. I also picked a happy front facing face from the Hair & Make Extender Pack and a body pose from the Body Basics Extender Pack that said "remember" to enforce my resolution.
By the end of it, I was singing "Even when you don't see it, He's working..." from the song Way Maker by Sinach.
I hope these 5 steps help you on your way to telling that special story only you can tell -- your life story.
If you want to tell it like I did, check out the Extender Packs below. You can use the Storytelling Starter Pack to try some stickers out.