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We’ve spent the last three posts covering the theory of troubleshooting and how we can use that theory to fix our writing.

STEP 1: Identify the problem – Ask probing question to figure out why it may have never worked or what changed that stopped it from working

STEP 2: Establish a theory of probable cause – Question the obvious culprits to the issue and decide which culprit is most likely causing the issue.

STEP 3: Test the theory to determine cause – Once the theory is confirmed, determine the next steps to resolve problem. If the theory is not confirmed, establish a new theory or escalate.

STEP 4: Act – Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution.

STEP 5: Test and prevent – Verify full system functionality and, if applicable, implement preventative measures.

We come to the final step now, which is:

STEP 6: Report – Document findings, actions, and outcomes.

Bear with me a minute as I explain how I go from point A to this post.

Several days ago I was looking for videos on barefoot running, correct running form and breathing (yes, my exercise is turning into yet another new hobby). In that process I came across a youtuber that had some interesting things to say, which led me to watch a couple other videos of his.

About 3/4th of the way into this video, the youtuber pulled out his journal and talked about recording one’s successes and what he/you/we are going to do better next week.

I find it amazing how many of us writers avoid journaling.

We avoid writing down our accomplishments and celebrating those accomplishments. For some, it may be that they see journaling as a waste when they could be working on one of their writing projects or a “diary” is only for small pre-teen girls.

The key to Step 6 is documentation of what worked! We do this because the writing issue/challenge you had to work through int he troubleshooting process will come up again, if not for you, for someone else. You will have an opportunity to reference your journal entry to overcome the challenge for yourself again or help someone else with the same thing you went through.

Journaling also keeps us in the habit of writing more and more often. Writing creative fiction is a different skill set to writing non-fiction how-to.  Writing in a journal is yet another skill set. But when you combine all the types of writing you do throughout the day, you are constantly reprogramming your mind to write whenever you have a minute to put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. Without trying you are building more positive writing habits.

  • Document you writing issues and challenges.
  • Document the solutions you tried and the outcome to those efforts.
  • Document when you “got it” and your challenge was overcome.

I’d add, almost a Step 7, which is to celebrate your accomplishment. For good mental health, don’t only journal your successes, but celebrate them. Treat yourself to something special! But only treat yourself if you actually accomplished something. Don’t treat yourself to that chocolate cake for simply sitting at the keyboard and having good intentions to write. Treat yourself breaking through the issue and seeing the solution come to life in the new words you’ve written. If anything, this becomes another subconscious reinforcement that motivates you to write more.

Whatever your writing challenge may be, be it writer’s block or not:

  • Troubleshoot your writing.
  • Find a solution that works for you.
  • Believe you can do it.
  • Celebrate your successes with something special.
  • Don’t stop! Keep writing!!