Meeting Rachael Stephen; Novelist, YouTuber and Storycrafting Mentor.

Rachael Stephen is a Scottish writer, video maker and storytelling teacher, who currently lives in Yoker, Glasgow. She completed her MA in Philosophy in 2013 before embarking on her writing and storycrafting journey.

Bullet Journaling

I originally came across Youtuber, Rachael Stephen, when a friend of mine forwarded a link to one of her videos on bullet journaling.

In this video, she goes through all the things she was doing wrong in her bullet journal and the changes she made to not just use it as a productivity tool, but to mainly using it as a means to declutter her mind.

Instead of using it to see how productive or unproductive she was being. She mainly started using it as a tool to keep track of her life, her health and things she was spending her time on. Freeing herself from the rat race of productivity and allowing space to collect her thoughts, gain clarity, being silly and doodle.

Creative Routine

Later on, I found a video where she talks about a book on creative minds and the daily routines these creators followed. Being a writer and booklover myself, I immediately found this interesting. What were the routines famous writers followed? How did this help them to live a successful writing life?

In this video, The daily rituals of great writers, Rachael highlights quotes from writers and little extracts from their lives she found interesting.

What I love the most about this video is how it reveals that most great writers in history didn’t only write, but they also had a day job or other household responsibilities that took up most of their time. They divided everything they had to do into their day, spending maybe only an hour or two on writing.

Showing us, modern writers, that it is okay not to spend every second of our day writing. It is normal for us to divide our time and energy between multiple things. As long as we maintain some sort of routine.

Daily vlogs

After that, I started paying more attention to the content she was creating on her YouTube channel. This is where I permanently entered the vlogging world of Racheal Stephen.

The first Daily Vlog I remember watching was when she made a vlog on moving into her new apartment at the start of 2020.

I enjoy this vlog because it is an honest depiction of a person undergoing change. It shows how systematically she focuses on what needs to be done to settle into her new life. Rachael exposes her volubility by showing her pain and loss. This vlog also reveals her strength, because through it all she still manages to remain optimistic.

I love the gentle music that plays in the background while she starts cleaning her new flat and figuring out where everything is “going to live” as she puts it. It makes me feel creative and I often rewatch this vlog when I am busy with household tasks or when I am busy drawing.

Apart from this vlog, some of my other favourites are:

Vlogs as a Storytelling Medium

Rachael’s vlogs started taking an interesting turn at the end of November 2020. She started playing more with the story aspect of vlogging. Creating and editing it with a protagonist, a motive goal, some sort of conflict and a resolution in the end.

Stormclouds & the war with my brain | vlog was the first one of these new vlogs that I watched. I remember that I was sitting in an airport alone, waiting for my flight and feeling quite sad about everything that was happening in the world when I watched it. With my laptop plugged in at a USB station and a warm cup of coffee, I isolated myself from the rest of the world and disappeared into Rachael’s art.

In this vlog, Rachael tells the story of how she (protagonist) is struggling to function and to do day-to-day things like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping and not to mention writing – due to her mental health (antagonist).

She sets out to fight the war in her brain by focusing on the tasks at hand. However, after finishing everything that had to be done – it seemed the war wasn’t over yet. Which resulted in her going on a walk of clarity and contacting her therapist in the end.

I love this vlog, because of its resolution. That even if you are in a place in your life where you struggle to find happiness – you can always turn to art. Through art, you can create something meaningful, which gives you a purpose and makes you feel alive.

Similar vlogs that you can take a look at are the following two:

In each of these vlogs, Rachael shows us an “unfiltered” window into her life. She reveals to us the things she struggles with and the tools and methods she uses to survive. It is inspiring and in a lot of ways, relatable. We are all human and we all struggle from time to time with our health, emotions, relationships, jobs, priorities and dreams – especially now during the global pandemic.

Using these raw and human topics Rachael created art that is relatable, creates awareness for mental health and provides tools people could use to help them cope.

At the beginning of this year on the 19th of Feb 2021, she gave a workshop about vlogging as a storytelling medium on https://www.daisie.com/. Sharing her ideals and believes on vlogging.

The main thing that stayed with me from that workshop is this quote:

Bend your vlog to your life, don’t bend your life to your vlog.- Rachael Stephen

Short film

Apart from her vlogs, she also created her first short film in 2020; The Modern Leper. A heartfelt and emotionally vulnerable story about her journey with her mental health, difficult relationships, catharsis and art that helped her through it all.

In this short film, Rachael doesn’t hold back. She stands by what she said in her workshop; The vlog as a storytelling medium.

Share the real and ugly stuff, as long as it is relevant to the story.

Writer and storycrafting coach

Stories being the main theme in Rachael Stephen’s life – it comes as no surprise that she is also a writer and storycrafting coach.

She’s written two novels, State of Flux (a story about love, paint and war) and a guidebook on How to build a novel.

As a storycrafting coach, she creates youtube videos based on writing tools and principles. These videos show writers how to brainstorm and organise their ideas, how to create relatable characters and how to write a story with depth.

Some examples of these tutorials are the following:

Storytelling Coach

Apart from these video’s she also created a 7 days short course based on Dan Harmon’s Plot Embryo story method. It is a 7 days short course in which Rachael explains what the Plot Embryo method is and shows you how to use it.

Then if this isn’t enough, you can always sign-up for her 10 week, video based training program on The Story Magic Academy website.

Rachael Stephen as one of my favorite artists

Rachael Stephen is one of my favourite artists because she lives through her art. Identifying stories in every aspect of her life: from her personal life, professional career as a writer to tabletop games. What separates her even more from other writers is her desire to share her knowledge with other storytellers and creatives.

For more information

To find out more about Rachael Stephen follow the link to her website and youtube channel. You can even sign-up for her Patreon and get access to her discord community and monthly live stream.

Monthly live stream

Irene

Art, in all its forms, has the power to make the viewer see the world with new eyes. It tells stories, creates awareness and changes our perspectives. This blog is dedicated to appreciating art and artists. Focusing on how they bring colour into our ordinary lives.

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