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  • Writer's pictureFallon Clark

Focus on solutions, not problems, for happiness. Here's how I do it:

Usually, I advocate setting goals and stacking your skills to stay focused or gain clarity, but goals seem to go out the window when we're already at the bottom of the problem pit.

But even Catherine Martin found a way to focus on potential solutions rather than wallowing in her own deadly problem.

Precious from The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

You'll be happier and more productive when you focus on solutions instead of problems.

Most of us are fretful and anxious people, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Anxiety is a learned behavior.

We can unlearn it. 

Starting with your mindset is a good idea, though it's often easier said than done, especially when you're already in a high-stress situation.

Here's what worked for me:

Recognize you're focused on a problem.

So focused on not writing that you can't write? You may be focused on your blank page.

So busy that book is collecting dust? You may be focused on your lack of time.

Whatever the problem is, recognize that you're focused on it. This is the first step to actually solving your problem.

Acknowledge the behaviors that led to that focus.

Maybe you could have planned better before you sat down to work on your manuscript. Or maybe you could have asked your partner to handle an extra household task while you took a few quiet minutes to read.

Acknowledge that there were things you did to get to where you are because you cannot grow and change without acknowledging a reason to grow and change.

Make an agreement with yourself to stop behaviors that no longer serve you and adopt behaviors that do.

We used to pinky promise things to our friends as children. Perhaps it's time to dust off the ole pinky and make a promise to yourself. Put it into the universe with intention:

"I promise I will stop behaviors that no longer serve me and start adopting behaviors that will serve me better."

(And you may notice the weight on your shoulders already feels lessened.)

Find a solution to your problem.

While you may not be able to find the perfect solution - nobody can magic-wand you a perfect reality - you can always find a solution.

You can plan better, do a bit more research before sitting down to write. Or clear your evening schedule to create the quiet space you need to read.

Write down or capture a few ways to solve the problem and choose the one that resonates with you most.

Adopt the behaviors that lead to your solution.

Taking 30 minutes to research a topic before you write is a good idea. Cleaning up the kitchen first so you can focus on that chapter you want to read is a good idea.

If needed, create a list of steps you'll take to do the thing. And make sure you tell your family about it so they can support you.

Start solving.

Solving your problem will come easier once you've acknowledged that you're getting in your own way, vow to get out of your own way, and then step aside.

At first, you may need to set alarms for yourself, like I did to grab those 30 minutes of reading time each morning. But after a while, solving your problems will get easier.

Rinse and repeat.

One problem solved means another problem is ripe for solving. Get to it.

And after all these steps, all this acknowlegeing and doing, you'll find that, when you've had enough practice through trial and error, you'll begin solution work at the initial recognition of the problem because solutions will become second nature.



Beth Barany invited me to write a piece about point of view for Writer's Fun Zone! Check out the article to discover how to get your readers looking where you want them to look by choosing the right perspective and literary distance for your story.



How did you solve a writing problem for yourself? How many solutions did you try before you found the right one? Share in the comments.

Happy writing (and problem solving)!

<3 Fal

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