Monday, June 12, 2017

Don't Panic!

Our IT guys at work have a sign-off on all their emails: Stay Calm and Reboot. When my computer or Smartphone are doing wonky things, I remember this tip. Most of the time, whatever is scrambling the machine's brain is corrected.

Biting your nails, hitting random keys, and flipping out will make the situation worse. This holds true not only for computers and Smartphones, but also for writing and life. My own procedure goes something like this with occasional tweaks:

1.  Stop. Banish the what-if scenarios and deal with the reality before me. Writers have this wonderful imagination, but it can turn them into first-class worriers. Worry is just another word for fear.

2.  Pray. Ask God for wisdom and direction on how to fix whatever is going wrong. I then trust He will either give me the answer or lead me to someone who can help.

3.  Analyze. If I'm stuck writing a scene, I read the previous paragraph or more, if necessary. Where was I going with this train of thought? While I'm a pantser versus a plotter, I usually know where I want the story to end. Is this scene moving toward that goal?

4.  Research. There's so much advice on the Internet. I look for something that applies to my situation.

5.  Ask. A discussion with a writer friend/critique partner sometimes breaks through the confusion or at least sends me in the right direction.

When my efforts seem at an impasse, re-writing the section in another document can take the focus away from the existing text. When that doesn't work, I shut off the computer and give my brain a rest.

Stay calm and reboot.

Writers:  What actions do you take when you hit a snag? Please share.

Readers:  When you're facing a problem in life, how do you go about solving it?

Photo Credit:  Joonas Lampinen


Linda O'Connell said...

This is excellent advice, Susan. I have always trained by grandchildren, "Don't panic, be prepared. And we role played scenarios. When Nicole was little and I put her in the car seat, she'd scream, "it's hot in here." I explained, "Focus ahead, don't panic. As soon as I get in, the air conditioner will be on." We have to learn coping skills. Prayer always comes first. Stop by sometime. I wrote about panhandlers. Would like your take.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - Great ideas, especially the role-playing. I find doing a dry run helpful when going to an unfamiliar area.

I'll check out that post. :)

Karen Lange said...

Good tips, Susan. Getting all worked up rarely solves anything.