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.


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 three: analyze with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step Three: Analyze

Now that you have gathered all of your resources it is time to take a close look at what you have. Is it enough to complete your project or do you need to gather more information from other sources? Be honest with yourself and your time. If you don’t have what you need and can’t see having the time to get what you need than take a second look at your project and adjust it to work with what you have. I think it is better to complete a story project than to get stuck on the “perfect” project and never get it finished.


Think of planning as the blueprint for your project. You wouldn’t dream of building a house without a blueprint. It would be asking for disaster if you did. Think back on your vision for the project and how you want the finished product to look. I like to start at the end and figure out what I need to get there. There are lots of ways to do project planning so do what works for you. The main thing is to break it down into smaller tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed and you can measure your progress with the completion of each task. The more detailed you are at this stage the less unexpected hurdles you will find later on. There is no substitute for good planning.

Time Line:

Next step is to give yourself some deadlines. If you have a concrete time when you need the project to get done, I would start with that deadline and work your way back to the present. If all your deadlines are self-imposed you can be more flexible. Look at each task a give an estimate of how long it will take. Add that all up and then give yourself a good buffer, maybe even doubling it to give yourself a deadline. Then I’d look at the first task on your list and give yourself as realistic a due date for that task as you can. Take into account all the other obligations you have. You don’t want your deadlines to make you discouraged. But you also don’t want to procrastinate getting your story project off for over and over so it never gets done.

Step 4: BUILD revamping my blog – new theme

So how do you like my new theme? I think it is going to work just fine. Someday I plan to customize my layout but it isn’t time for that yet. There were several other themes I liked but the text color just didn’t work for me and I couldn’t change it. I am excited about this revamp and I can’t wait to get everything all set up. Too bad I have other things that need doing or I’d spend the next several days focused on it and get it done for next week. But I have a plan and I will get it done. Here are my goals for next week:

  • left side bar: Monday, 29 April
  • reevaluate right bar: Tuesday, 30 April
  • getting started with the DOABLE approach post: Wednesday, 1 May
  • DECIDE basics post: Thursday, 2 May

I hope to get a pupdate post done tomorrow and a Joy Jar post on Saturday. I’ve got a quickly approaching deadline for a chapter of my dad’s Navy history. He is going to an Underwater Swimmer School reunion next month and would love to take as much as I can get together about the history of the school. He was one of the original instructors in 1954.

If you could drop all your other responsibilities, what would you work on this weekend?

Step 3: ANALYZE: revamping my blog

The biggest thing that my revamped blog will need is a side bar on the left side. I want to put several widgets there, one on getting started and then a widget for each step of the DOABLE approach. This means I will need a new theme for my blog. My current theme doesn’t support a left side bar.I also want to look at my right side bar and consider changing what is over there too.

The other big area of this project is to look at my content plan and make sure that the posts I’m writing are helping to fill out all the steps of DOABLE family story project. First I’ll do one post for each step and then decide if it would be better to focus one each step for a week or a month or rotate around. I’m leaning toward focusing on each step in turn for about a month so I can really fill out the content for that step. I’ll plan on that for now and reevaluate if needed.

After I’ve picked a new theme and put the structure in place I’ll need to work on moving my old posts into the new structure. I think this should be worked on after I get the basics in place for the six steps in the DOABLE approach.

It is important at this stage to keep the LINK step in mind. I think it is time to venture out into social media and that would be a good way to share my revamped blog. I will probably start with Google+ and Pintrest.

Now for some deadlines:

  • pick new theme: Thursday, 25
  • left side bar: Monday, 29 April
  • reevaluate right bar: Tuesday, 30 April
  • getting started with the DOABLE approach post: Wednesday, 1 May
  • DECIDE basics post: Thursday, 2 May
  • ORGANIZE basics post: Monday, 6 May
  • ANALYZE basics post: Tuesday, 7 May
  • BUILD basics post: Wednesday, 8 May
  • LINK basics post: Thursday 9 May
  • EVALUATE basics post: Monday 13 May
  • move old content to new structure: Thursday, 16 May
  • start sharing with Google+: Monday, 3 June
  • start sharing with Pintrest: Monday, 1 July
  • check revamp so far and adjust content plan if needed: Tuesday 14 May
  • move forward with new content plan: Monday, 20 May

I’m not sure that my deadlines are realistic but it gives me something to shoot for and I can adjust them if I need to. I really like the idea of having the new look if not the content in place by May 1st. It sound like a great way to start a new month.

How about you? Do you have a plan in place for your next family story project?



a DOABLE approach to sharing your family stories

As I’ve contemplated ways to improve my blog it occurred to me that if you are coming here for the first time there isn’t really any help in getting started. Since my goal is to help everyone (including me) to tell their own family stories that situation isn’t a good one. Over the past year or so I’ve written posts about my story projects and other things I’ve come across. While all of that is good I think I’ve missed the mark. Since my rather chaotic brain craves order I decided I’d come up with some sort of system anyone can follow to help them share their family stories. It is still a work in progress but I think it is a good start.

D – decide

O – organize

A – analyze

B – build

L – link

E – evaluate

Decide: the very first step is to decide you want to do a story project and the decide who you want to do it about or what story you want to develop and share. What do you want to do with this project?

Organize: the next step is to organize. This step will focus on the what you already know and what you already have in the way of documents and images etc. that might help you will the story project you are working on.

Analyze: in this step you want to really look hard at your goal. What do you need to do? Do you have all the information you need? What else do you need and where might you find it? What do you need to learn to complete this project? Plan your project out in as much detail as you can and give yourself deadlines along the way.

Build: do the work, follow the plan, keep on moving forward. Keep your purpose in mind and work past any obstacles that get in your way.

Link: share your story project with as many people as you can in as many ways as you can.

Evaluate: the good, the bad and the ugly. What would you do the same if you had to do it all again, what would you do different. Then armed with your new knowledge start the process over with a new story project.


So what does this all mean? I’ll need to restructure my blog to show the DOABLE approach with the goal in mind that anyone can come here and find what they need to get started or keep moving forward with their own family story projects. Hey, I think this whole DOABLE approach might work for this too. I’ve decided on a new vision for my blog. Next step is to organize what I already have on here with the DOABLE approach in mind. Then I will  analyze what is missing and make a plan for how to fill it in. While I’m working through the DOABLE steps I can learn more about how to improve it too! I’m really excited about my new goal.

How about join me on this journey? Start with step one, decide on a family story project (or even something else) that you want to do and we can test out my DOABLE approach together.