Questorming for a Story Project

DOABLE Sidebar DToday I found an article on questorming by Daniel Tenner on Here is what he said about applying questorming:

As the saying goes, asking the right questions is half the battle. This is what questorming focuses on: questions. The objective of the game is to ask as many questions as possible, in a free-flowing, unscripted way, about the topic. Much like with brainstorming, there are no bad questions in the initial phase – anything goes. As the storm of questions grows, it provides a map of your current understanding of the topic, and some clear next steps for deepening that understanding.

Daniel Tenner then gave an example of using questorming on “How can I write a book?” I’ve adapted his example to doing a story project because there are many similarities. Here is what I came up with:

  • How can I do a story project? or What should I do for my story project?

And free-flow from there:

  • How can I not do a story project?
  • Are there activities hat will increase the chances of me completing a story project?
  • Are there things that I absolutely must do to complete a story project?
  • Are there things that, if I do them, will guarantee I don’t complete a story project?
  • What are all those things?
  • Do I need anyone else’s help to complete my story project?
  • Is it possible to complete a story project without any help from anyone?
  • What are all the key things that need to happen before a story project is finished?
  • What does it mean for a story project to be ready?
  • Is a story project ready when I decide it’s finished, or are there other factors?
  • What are clear signs that a story project is not finished?
  • Are there some story project that can never be finished?
  • Can I do something to make sure that my story project will some day be finished?
  • What could I do to ensure that my story project will never be finished?
  • Why do I want my story project to be finished?
  • What do I want out of it?
  • How does that relate to whether it’s complete?
  • Who am I doing this story project for?
  • Do they have any impact on whether it’s complete?
  • Can I find out if it’s finished from the perspective of its audience, before actually publishing it?
  • Do I even need to publish my story project?
  • Are there ways to share my story project so that it can be improved repeatedly?
  • Are those ways better or worse than traditional ways?
  • Why?
  • Are there benefits to sharing my story project in the traditional way, vs a more modern approach?
  • Which is better to match what I want out of this story project?

I hope this give you some thoughts on your next story project? There are lots more questions to be questormed and not all questions that you come up with are actually helpful in moving your project forward but some of the questions you think of will be very useful in coming up with a meaningful story project.

Have you every used questorming? I haven’t yet but will soon. The closest I’ve come to questorming is talking with my dad about a book he read called “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” by Marilee Adams.

Brainstorming Story Project Ideas

DOABLE Sidebar DA great way to come up with ideas for your next story project is by using one of the many brainstorming techniques. Traditionally brainstorming is done with a group but the same principles can apply to an individual. Here are a list of different variations of idea generations with links to explanations on Wikipedia:

There are other theories on idea generation and problems solving. I came across another one that I’m curious about called Questorming. I want to try out some of these techniques on my next project. Besides questorming I’ve got to try some of the mind mapping applications on the internet. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What are some of the things that you do help you generate ideas and problem solve?

So Many Stories, So Little Time

DOABLE Sidebar DAre you one of those people who has tons of ideas for story projects but can’t decide which one to do first? I’d start with making a list of all the projects you are thinking about doing. You might also make a few notes or comments about each of these projects and what you envision. Next be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you have to spend on your story project. Here are some ideas on some question to ask yourself that might help you decide which story project to do first:

  • Which one would be fastest?
  • Which one do you have all the skills needed to complete it?
  • Which one do you have all the resources (images, documents, etc.) you need to complete it?
  • Which one sounds the most interesting?
  • Which one do you find yourself thinking about the most often?
  • Which one would need you to learn something that you have wanted to learn?
  • Do any of these projects involve interviewing a person who may not be around much longer?

If this is your first story project be careful about making it such a big project that you get overwhelmed and don’t get it done. If you have successfully completed a few story projects than maybe it is time to challenge yourself. My advice is to trust yourself and your intuition as to which story project is right for you at this time.

Finally share your decision with someone who will be a supportive friend in holding you accountable to completing your project. If you want you can share it with me. I’d love to hear about your story project.

Blog Revamp – New Content Plan

Arriving at your intended destination is more likely with a plan. So I’ve made an adjusted content plan for my revamped blog. The funny part of this plan is that I’ve already messed it up by the two earlier post today (Pupdate & Joy Jar). I guess it just reminds me again that plans are important but just following the plan is not the goal. The plan is a means to an end and not the end. So when needed adjust your plans. That doesn’t mean that plans aren’t important. They just need to stay flexible. That is enough rambling. Here is my plan. Now you will be able to see how closely I follow it. I’m sharing it for two reason. Accountability and if you aren’t interested in the kinds of stuff I’m posting a certain days you won’t have to use your valuable time checking what I’ve posted that day.

  • Mondays: My Stuff Monday – my current, past and future projects
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: focus on the DOABLE approach starting with step one: decide for the rest of May and June
  • Fridays: Pupdates – info about my puppies
  • Saturdays: Joy Jar

Since this is my third post today, I’ll might just wait until Monday to do my first “My Stuff Monday” post. But who knows, I’ll see how the rest of my day flows.

If there is something you would like me to post about, let me know and I’ll figure out a way to fit it in.

Pupdate – Good Luck to Zodiac

Bill, Dune, Zodiac & Raelyn on recall morning

It has been a busy weekend with puppy stuff. On Friday we had a farewell party for Zodiac. Nothing fancy, just some cookies, snack mix and lemonade. It is a tradition with each of our puppies, a chance to celebrate them and give family, friends and neighbors and chance to say good-bye. I think it is also for me. It helps me process the pups departure and come to terms with not having them around. Zodiac had lots of fun. His favorite people from church came and some of his puppy friends. At one point we had five labs at our house. That was crazy.

Saturday we had a big Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy training meeting. Lots of puppies there. With dogs ready to leave for harness training, like Zodiac, to very young puppies who just got off the puppy truck on Thursday. I learned lots of things from the visiting Community Field Representative from Oregon. It was a great opportunity to learn from someone new.

After the meeting Zodiac has his final evaluation. I’ve been a bit paranoid all week that they would decide that he wasn’t ready to go back or they would career change him on the spot. It is crazy the kinds of thoughts that can get into my head sometimes. We took Zodiac and Dune to the movies on Saturday night as one last outing for all of us together.

Sunday morning we got up very early so that we could get Zodiac to Ogden by 7:00 a.m. It was raining pretty hard when we left home but as we traveled north the skies cleared and the sun came up on a beautiful day. The hotel where the puppy truck stops for the night has a lovely walking path with trees and a pond and waterfall. I took both Zodiac and Dune for walks before the puppy truck drivers came out to the truck. Then we helped walk the puppies that had been picked up previously. I really enjoy doing this and meeting new pups and thinking about their puppy raisers. I walked an in-season female named Moxy. She was a happy and good girl. Bill got to walk Zodiac’s brother Zenith. Their temperaments are amazingly similar. Zenith reminded me a bit of Apex (our first puppy in training) which isn’t too surprising since Apex’s dad is Zodiac and Zenith’s grandfather.

We took Dune and Zodiac for one last walk together. Then it was time for Zodiac to get on the truck. That is the hardest part. He didn’t love getting into one of the kennels in the puppy truck but Zodiac did it anyway. We know he is in good hands. They stopped in Boise for a break Sunday afternoon and spent the night in Pendelton, Oregon. Zodiac would have arrived on the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in Boring, Oregon on Monday afternoon.

Another puppy raiser that I know from a Yahoo group dropped her puppy off on campus yesterday. She saw Zodiac’s name on the wall in the kennel kitchen along with the other puppies that are expected to arrive on this recall. I like knowing that Zodiac has been on campus twice before, so he is sure to recognize it on his arrival. There is a whole team of experienced and caring people who are now taking care of him. They will help him adjust to life on campus. The next step for him is a thorough physical to make sure his eyes and heart and joints etc. are all working right. Now we play the waiting game. Waiting each week for the phase report to see how he is doing.

Joy Jar


With Zodiac’s recall many other things have slipped. So today I’m catching my breath and either catching up with some tasks or just letting them go. I decided that catching up on my joy would be a good thing in this new week, so here goes:

  • my beans coming up (finally)
  • snowing blossoms
  • outing to the Natural History Museum
  • seeing a finch in a curly willow tree
  • book club
  • Bill getting a pay raise
  • getting my computer backed up
  • rain storm
  • ice cream
  • walk with Dune
  • talking a nap
  • eating an apple fritter
  • fresh flowers
  • walking the Jordan River Trail with Zodiac
  • birthday brunch
  • patches of sunshine
  • Zodiac’s farewell party
  • Zodiac’s last eval
  • learning new stuff
  • Zodiac’s last eval as a puppy
  • finishing Zodiac’s puppy book
  • a beautiful sunny morning for Zodiac’s recall
  • Bill getting to walk Zodiac’s brother Zenith
  • raising Zodiac

But I’m Too Busy to Do That!

DOABLE Sidebar DWith today’s busy lifestyles it can be tough to add one more thing to your plate. Are you worried that doing a story project will just make your life more hectic than it is now? I believe that there are times and season in your life. Depending on the stage of life we are in effects that kinds of stresses and strains we have to deal with. The key is to pick a story project that works for your present schedule. A retired person can choose a much more time-consuming project that a single mom who is working and going back to school. Look at things you spend time in already and with some creative thinking you can come up with a meaningful story project that fits.

So the type of story project is very important. A project could be as simple as an oral story that you tell to your kids as bedtime stories. It may even be something that you could work on just by thinking about it as you commute or have downtime waiting in line or for an appointment.

The scope of your story project is also very important. If you have very little discretionary time make sure you keep each story project very small. Break a potential larger project into smaller pieces. Lets take the oral story telling idea mentioned above. A larger project might be to record a series of stories and add photos or illustrations and even music to make a life story. This larger project can be simplified into each individual story and perfecting the story telling style over the months and years of telling. Then down the road the stories could be recorded. And as schedules permit each audio could be combined with photos or illustration. Eventually when all the stories are done, they could be gathered into one cohesive collection. What a priceless treasure that would be with stories that your children grew up hearing at bedtime. What a legacy a long-term story project like that could be for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And all of it started by just decided to develop some oral stories from your personal life or the life of your family.

That is just one example. There are endless possibilities depending on you, your own life circumstances and your talents, interests and abilities. Over the next few days let your subconscious mind work on finding a good solution for you. Share your ideas here and you might just be the inspiration that someone else is looking for.

Why Do a Story Project?

DOABLE Sidebar DWith all the demands we have on our time and the many options we have on any spare time we might have, why would you want to spend some of that precious time on a story project? Here are a few reasons that I came up with:

  • preserve & share living memory
  • connect with family members
  • strengthen family relationships
  • understand yourself better
  • share family values
  • increase self-esteem
  • improve resilience
  • uncover forgotten stories and people

Emory University did a remarkable study that showed a connection between teens knowing their family’s stories and the sense of well-being.

“Children Benefit if They Know About Their Relatives”

“Do You Know…”

This is powerful stuff. I knew that family stories were important but I had no idea that they have such a vital role in helping us to live happier more productive lives. That is reason enough for me. What about you? What is your reason for doing story projects?

Update – revamping my blog

If you have followed the revamping of my blog you will notice that I’ve finished all the posts on the DOABLE approach to telling your family’s tale. So today, I checked back with my plan to see what was next on my list to do.

  • check revamp so far and adjust content plan if needed: Tuesday 14 May
  • move old content to new structure: Thursday, 16 May
  • move forward with new content plan: Monday, 20 May
  • start sharing with Google+: Monday, 3 June
  • start sharing with Pintrest: Monday, 1 July

So today I need to take a close look at my content plan and adjust it with my new structure and goals in mind. I also need to get started on moving my old content into the new blog plan. I think doing this could be very informative as to how my content plan needs to change. I want to make sure that all six step of the DOABLE plan has good ideas for how to carry out that step. With the set of posts I just completed there is some basic information but I’m sure there are lots more ideas and good information that would help in completing different story projects. I’m excited to have completed my revamp this far and anxious to see how the next steps develop.

How are you doing on your own projects? Do you have a story project in the works? I’d love to hear about it.


step six: evaluate with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step Six: Evaluate

Once your story project is complete it is good to look at how things went. What turned out well, what not so good. What would you do differently next time. Here are some questions that might help you evaluate your story project:

  • What was your favorite part of doing the project?
  • What part are you proudest of?
  • What kind of reactions have you had when you shared it with others?
  • What age groups responded best? Was that the age group you were hoping to reach?
  • What part of the project was the most challenging?
  • What part do you wish you could do over?
  • Did you do what you hoped to with this project?
  • Are you glad you did this project?
  • What did you learn from doing this project?
  • Have you thought of other story projects that would naturally spin-off from this one?
  • If you were starting this project with what you know now, what would you do differently?
  • What was your most successful way of sharing your project?
  • Did any of your sharing efforts fail?

Do you have someone who you can trust to be honest and yet supportive to give you feedback on your project? If so ask them to help you evaluate your results. I hope that you have enjoyed your story project and the journey that you have now completed. I hope that you are excited to do another story project. If so, armed with this knowledge you are ready to go back to step one and pick a new family story project.

I’d love to hear about your story projects. Let me know about it and you might just get featured on a future Telling Family Tales post.