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.

step five: link with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step Five: Link

Having made it this far, you deserve to celebrate! That is much of what this step is about, sharing your accomplishment with your family, friends and anyone else who might be interested. There is a good chance that your “why” included hoping that this story project would impact others. Now you are ready to make that happen. Depending on your project some ways of sharing make more sense than others. Here are some ideas on ways to share your story project:

  • share it in person at a family gathering or one on one
  • send it by mail, hard copy, cd or dvd etc.
  • send it by e-mail, dropbox or other electronic methods
  • share it by social mediaFacebook, twitter etc.
  • post it on a blog, YouTube or website etc.
  • share it at other kinds of gatherings like conferences
  • talk about it with friends or other people you meet

Be excited to share your accomplishment. You never know who might be interested. Think about some creative ways to get your story project out there. Just be patient and look for opportunities.

step four: build with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step Four: Build

Now is the time to start the real work on your story project! How exciting it that! Hopefully in the analyze step you made a detailed plan with a path to follow to complete your project. If so than follow that plan. If your plan is not so well thought out or detailed than pick a task from your plan and get to work on it.  A few things to keep in mind as you build your story project:

  • make short-term goals
  • adjust your plans as needed
  • when you are feeling overwhelmed move forward in an
  • area that you know how to do
  • you might need to learn some new skills to complete your project
  • remember your “why”
  • find ways to motivate and reward yourself
  • enjoy the journey

The key to this step is to keep moving forward. When an obstacle blocks your path find a way around it. Simple to say, but not always simple to do. But with time and effort you can and will complete your story project.

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

Step Three: Analyze

Assess:
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.

Plan:

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 one: decide with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step One: Decide

If you have made it this far there is a good chance that you have decided that now is the time to commit to doing a story project. If you are still on the fence keep reading and hopefully you will be inspired to take on the challenge.

So how do you go about deciding just what this story project is going to be about? There are many ways to get there but we will help you through the process. You could be lucky enough to already have a person and/or project in mind. If so skip down to decide on a focus. If you already know what you want your story project to be about you can probably skip to Narrow the scope. Be careful about skipping all they way down to Pick a Medium because if your story project is too broad you might get discourage and give up before it is complete.

QUESTIONS:

A good starting spot is to ask yourself why you want to do a story project? From the BYUtv series called The Generations Project they asked these questions to help people find their why:

  • What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?
  • What do you hope will happen to you in the next year or two?
  • Tell us a story about a life changing experience.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life now?

It is good to let these question percolate in your mind for a few days. Make notes and notice where your thoughts go. Listen to your intuition on what story project you want to do now.

Try looking at your family tree or start listing names of people in your family.  Here are some more questions that might help you decided on your story project:

  • Is there someone you are drawn to?
  • Is there a time in history that you are interested in?
  • Do you know an ancestor from that time period?
  • Is there a place in your family’s past you would like to learn more about?
  • Have you considered doing a story about your own life?

Again it might take you sometime to settle on a person or place or time that you want your story project to be about. Being thoughtful during this step will reap big rewards later on.

NARROW IT DOWN:

At this point you have probably come up with several possibilities for story projects. If one has come to the forefront then you are ready to move on. If not ask yourself more questions until you feel good about one. File your notes away for future projects. Just because you don’t decide on that project now doesn’t mean you can’t do it in the future. Chances are the project you have in mind is still rather broad in its scope and too big to tackle in a reasonable amount of time. Now is the time to narrow it down. Let’s say you picked a person. Now is not the time to take on telling their whole life story. Unless you are different from most of us you don’t have time or the experience to succeed in that kind of project. Instead pick a time frame to work on first. If you really do want to do that life history then keep that in mind and design this project to become part of that big future project. It is easy to think we can eat the whole elephant or maybe just one of his legs. A huge key to success in learning and sharing about our family stories is to break them down into palatable pieces.  Don’t try to write “War and Peace” here. A short story is more what we are after. Down the road if you want to you can combine lots of story projects into your “War and Peace”.

FOCUS:

The next step is to bring focus to your story project. Go back to your “why” and how it relates to this project and what you want to do. Can this project be broken down into smaller pieces? You want to have a very tight focus on what this project is and how to accomplish it. I have a tendency to dream up the most elaborate projects but it is important to keep them from getting out of hand and grow into something that is difficult to get done and might not really carry out your purpose any better in the end. Now is the time to be honest about your available time and resources. It is better to break it up into several smaller project. You gain a sense of accomplishment which the completion of each story project.

Make notes and write a good description of what you want your story project to be. Give it some time and some serious thought. Always keep in mind who you plan to share your story project with.

MEDIUM:

Finally you want to pick a medium for your story project. Is it a book, an eBook, a video, a slide show, an audio, a song or something else altogether? There are lots and lots of possibilities. For many story projects once the first project is done it could easily be shared in another format. For example a book can be converted to an eBook. It might also be the basis for a video or slide show. Start with just one medium but keep in mind that other projects could spin-off from the original story project. Browse through our project ideas for some inspiration on the possibilities.

Are you still with me? Then it is time to move on to step two!

Getting Started with the DOABLE approach to telling your family’s tales

the doable approach to getting started telling your family's tales

The thought of trying to put together a family history is daunting and few of us will ever carry out that task. But there are better ways to share your family’s history and that is through stories. Few other than genealogist will sit down and read facts about an ancestor but every one loves a good story. It is the stories that connect us to other members of our family. It is the stories that make them real. It is the stories that give us insights that have a positive impact on our own lives and the lives of our families.

So I’m here to help you tell your own family tales in engaging ways that everyone will enjoy. You can do it in small projects that won’t take hundreds of hours and years to complete. Projects that won’t make you feel overwhelmed and want to give up. If that sounds like what you want then you are in the right place. I’ll help you every step of the way. Here is an overview of the DOABLE approach:

Step One: Decide
First you need to decided that now is the time to commit to doing a story project. If you have done that then it is time to decide on a specific story project. There are so many options that it is easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t worry I’ll help you to narrow it down.

Step Two: Organize
Now that you’ve picked a focus for your story project it is time to gather what you already have that might help you to complete this project. Find any photos, documents, letters, etc. that you or your family already have.

Step Three: Analyze
Once you have your resources gather you can really take a close look at what you have. Is it enough to complete your project or do you need to gather more from other sources? In this step you plan your project, breaking it down into small steps with deadlines for each step.

Step Four: Build
This is an exciting step, to actually start building your project, to follow your plan. Keep moving forward and make adjustments to your plan as needed.

Step Five: Link
Now for the rewarding part, share your project with your family and anyone else who might enjoy hearing your story. Be creative in the ways you share it. This is an opportunity to strengthen those family connection and even make new links to extended family.

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. Armed with this knowledge you are ready to go back to step one and pick a new family story project.

Are you still with me? Then it is time to get started with step one!