Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Discover the Power of Writing Your Personal Fairy Tale

Fairy TalesWriting a short fairy tale of your life is a potent way to examine, understand, and change the entangled stories that may repeatedly diminish your happiness.

The process can expose the truth, sometimes with a jolt,  On the other hand, it contains the power to unleash a wave of self-compassion and self-acceptance.  This is especially so when you write in the third person and experience your personal suffering almost as though it belonged to another.

Like medicine, recognizing and owning your story can soothe long-held bruises and abrasions.  At the same time, capturing your saga gives you the chance to see and reinforce your strengths and celebrate your victories.

Exploring your embedded patterns through fairy tale illustrates where you are headed.  Is that where you want to go?  Grab the opportunity to exert rightful dominion over your existence  Imagine yourself in new, empowered ways  Drive your fable to a satisfying and meaningful conclusion.

How to Write Your Personal Fairy Tale

In her book, Your Life as Story, Tristine Rainer shares the following exercise ostensibly for memoir writers, but it is equally impactful for personal growth. In writing your fairy tale, Rainer suggests referring to yourself as “he” or “she” instead of “I”.   She says, “This allows you temporarily to step back and see story in your life from a distance.”

“Begin with one of the following:
•    Once upon a time there was a little girl who…
•    Once upon a time there was a little boy who…
•    Once upon a time there was a woman who…
•    Once upon a time there was a man who…

Your fairy tale need not be longer than a page, at most two.  It can be as brief as three lines, if they contain the three parts of a fairy tale:
1.    In the beginning something happened so that a person had a problem and a need.
2.    As the person pursued his or her desire a struggle ensued.
3.    And in the end the person changes with a realization.”

Use one of the sentence stems and just let the words flow without thinking too much.  The key is to relax, open your mind, look deeply, and be receptive to whatever arises, while simultaneously allowing your imagination to create new responses, pathways, and conclusions.

Our Life is A Self-Made Story

Here’s my three-line story:

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was very sensitive and afraid.  She thought she had to hide her fear and pretend to be strong and OK.  In the end, she realized there is no-self and, thus, no need to be afraid.”

As you can see, each line could easily expand out into a fuller story.  Writing this very short story and my longer fairy tale gave rise to a sudden surge of compassion for the parts of myself that are seeking to be healed.  The experience was so strong for me that I felt impelled to share the exercise with you. I hope it helps you in someway.

Our life is no other than a self-made story – one that we create anew each day.  Whatever circumstances unfold during our time on earth, the real story occurs in how we choose to perceive and respond.  In the arena of perception, we have the power to create a different personal fairy tale.

Have you ever written your personal fairy tale?  What would the themes be?  How might it help you?

Thank you for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this post please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love, Sandra

Image:  Public Domain



3 Essential Elements for Living with Ease


A Simple Way to Cultivate Generosity


  1. Sandra I haven’t but not sure if it would end with happily ever after. lol well it might because I’ve realize that happiness isn’t the end – it’s being happy during the journey:)

    I haven’t quite written a fairy tale, similar to those I remember from my youth, but have completed a life story with my struggles, realizations and discoveries. It’s not in fairy tale format but that idea sounds like the next project with cartoon drawings and all ? !

    I’m glad to hear of the personal benefits and healing it brought for you. Will have to give a try.

    • Hi Vishnu,

      It all depends on what we mean by “happily ever after” doesn’t it? To me it doesn’t mean happiness that depends on external circumstances, but a clarity, compassion, and spaciousness that arises from within. And, I suspect it’s probably something similar for you!

      I’m sure you would bring wonderful humor to whatever fairy tale you write! The story with your struggles, realizations, and discoveries is huge in itself.

  2. Yes, this definitely has great potential as a an empowering activity, Sandra. This reminds me, my Mom, who was a school teacher for over four decades, always encouraged the children to write stories featuring themselves. And oh, what a joy it was to read them. Fond memories.

    It is a great way to encourage ourselves to heal.

    Thank you – great read, as always!

    • Hi Vidya,

      What a neat, creative activity your Mom encouraged in the children around her. That seems like such a wonderful way to begin connecting with yourself even at an early age. Thanks for sharing that!

  3. Hi Sandra,

    This is a unique way to engage in self-reflection and healing.

    I’ve never done this particular type of exercise, but I believe we all weave our stories into our writing whether we realize it or not.

    If I did write my life as a fairy tale, my main character would be an avid reader and observer of those around her, and use both to plan her life.

    • Hi Flora,

      Oh yes, this is probably so true Flora! Our story is staring out from the pages of our blog. Sometimes it’s quite vulnerable, isn’t it? I love the theme of your fairy tale. I was a big reader as a child and it made a huge difference in my world.

  4. Hi Sandra

    The title of your post jumped out at me as I opened my email this morning. I love the simplicity of writing exercise and I love your fairytale.
    I think this will inspire some writing today: This is what I have penned right now

    Once there was a woman who was struggling to live her true passion. The universe decided she needed some help and she found herself on an unexpected healing journey. What she discovered was a beautiful journey of self love patience and acceptance allowing her to empower herself and empower others.

    Thank you for this opportunity to allow the inner heart whispers to flow.
    PS sorry about the incomplete comment above- can you delete it please- my keyboard seemed to jam

    • Suzie,

      I love how inspired you feel by this idea and what your heart whispered. Just going to your site today, made me light up with joy!

  5. I LOVE this. Put a post-it note in my journal to remind me to write my own fairy tale in my morning writing session tomorrow. Thanks.

  6. My response to this beautiful post is identical to Charlotte’s – this is a wonderful addition to one’s journaling repertoire. I’ve made a start …
    Thank you!

  7. Yes, I think along these lines a lot, and I don’t necessarily like what I find in my explorations. One of the stories I think I unconsciously believed about myself for a long time is the “tale of the tragic prince,” which is about a handsome prince who had all the gifts and abilities in the world, but no one wanted anything to do with him. The awareness of this sort of story is definitely powerful.

  8. Interesting! I’ve never heard the “tale of the tragic prince” but it sounds like a familiar archetype. It reminds of Cassandra, the prophetess of doom in Greek Mythology. She knew when tragedy would occur, but people didn’t necessarily believe her. This thread of not being believed has run through my life so I resonate with your sense of how awareness of our fairy tale can be so powerful. Thank you, Chris.

  9. Okay, here’s my fairy tale: Once upon a time there was a little girl who worried she wasn’t good enough. But then she realized she was an aspect of God, and thus she was perfect.

    I’m backed up on blog posts, but I’ve got this noted as a topic for a future post. Thanks, Sandra!

  10. Love your story. Succinct! Reminds me of something I just read about a paper that received an A+. The instructions were to include religion, surprise, and mystery. The winning paper? “Oh God, I’m pregnant. Who could the father be?”

    Wonderful idea about writing your own fairy tale. We did something similar in my discussion group by naming a country after ourselves (e.g. Galenstan) and taking someone on a guided tour.

    Fun idea!

    • Hi Galen,

      What a great paper including all those elements! I wrote a longer version too; this one’s just the mini. A guided tour of your personal country…now that’s an interesting idea. I’m afraid I’m not visual enough for that one, but I bet it was fascinating to hear what people said.

  11. jean sampson

    Hi Sandra, what a great post and what wonderful comments! My story might be this:
    There was once a little girl artist who thought that she was a failure and would always be a failure. One day, she discovered that her most beautiful paintings were painted on top of the many layers of “failed” paintings and would not be as beautiful or as intricate without the underlying layers of “failures.” She realized that the things in her life that seemed like failures were just the the under paintings, if you will, of the beautiful creation and journey that was her own life. For the rest of her life, she taught other artists and friends to never call any painting or any other creation (including themselves) a “failure”——it / they are just unfinished, beautiful works of art!

    • How inspiring, Jean! It’s so wonderful to get to know you in this way too. Thank you for the honor. And thank you for the inspiration and clarity you bring to others.

  12. Hello Sandra. Thank you for sharing the short version of your fairy tale. It’s really clarified something for me.

  13. You’re so welcome! Wonderful to see your beautiful smile. Be well!

  14. Hello Sandra,
    One can also manifest dreams/desires by writing his/her life story or fairy tale.
    I personally write a private Journal, and several pieces writings of which can be described as Lists, Scripts, Manifestations, Signs.
    In fatc, there’s always a never ending roll of possibilities to write about.
    Interesting post.
    Wishing you well!

    • How interesting, Tree Spirit. I’m fascinated by the way you use your journal to manifest new directions in your life. Thank you for sharing this!

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén