Merry New Year. Your Present Inside.

How to Start Writing Stories without Writing at All…
I thought of making you a holiday card, but I decided to give you a present instead.
I looked through catalogs and sifted through Amazon but, in the end, decided to give you something I made myself.
After all, with so many different holiday traditions I thought what we could all use and enjoy was a New Years’ present.
Over the years, I’ve heard from many friends how much they’d love to write a book or at least write down some of the stories from their lives. Many have told me how much they hoped that—some day– they’d be able to get these stories down, despite feeling like life was blowing by them or that their writing skills needed dusting off. As our children age and parents age, and as we grow older, I knew I wanted to help my friends and community find a way to get those stories out of our memories and onto paper.
So when I thought of my present for you, I knew I wanted it to be something to make your life easier. As a writing coach, nothing says hard work more than, well, writing. And that’s when it came to me—what if I could show you some of the tools I use to make writing easier for me? Because I know a secret or two that will help you start writing your stories today—and—wait for it, you don’t even have to write. You could even use the holidays to reach out into the pine-scented air and snatch a story or two.
What is this strange magic, Victoria?
Okay, so this is the first part of my gift. And you’re right—it is kinda magic. It’s the wonders of technology. When I am interviewing someone for a story, I use two important pieces of technology.  The video conferencing platform is, and when I conduct an interview I select record. And when the interview is over and the recording is complete, I send it off to turns it into a transcript. Voila! Instant writing. It’s free to use the zoom platform and only charges $1 a minute per interview. If you wanted to get fancy, you could even edit the recording so you’re just paying for the good stuff. To receive the transcript there’s a little cost, but I believe it will be offset by the investment of asking your loved ones to share stories from their lives.
The second part of my gift isn’t magic, but I think it’s just as special. Because I made this part myself.
These are the very questions you can use to help your friends and family open up and share their stories, wisdom, and life lessons. I explain more in my video, but here are my favorite 5 ways to promote story.
  1. Tell me about the time when…
This prompt is great when you already know the story and you want to use your interview to capture a story that’s been told in your family for years.
  1. Show a photograph. Ask about the day or moment in the picture…
This one works well for our aging family members, younger children, or even the shy or visual learners among us. It’s a great icebreaker and can help folks recall.
  1. If you could give young people or newlyweds or teenage boys or even yourself from 5 years ago some advice, what would it be?
I love this one because it’s so malleable and makes all of us wise sages. Be prepared for stories and books of wisdom.
  1. What’s been the biggest surprise of your life?
This question has a way of eliciting stories and tales of morality—be prepared.
  1. Choose a theme and invite friends and family to a story night.
This one obviously asks the most of you—but can you imagine how fun it would be to collectively gain the stories? If you recorded them all, you’d probably have enough material for a whole book. Think of that.
I wish you all the very best in 2018. See you in the future.