Finding the Real Problem

I’ve mentioned it in passing many times that I am attempting to self publish a book by the end of the year. As it is the case with a task of the nature, I’ve been having my struggles with this. I actually did okay until April but dropped the ball ever since making a few valid excuses that ran until August. Ever since, it’s been a struggle.

Essentially, it’s a problem I avoided. Book-a-day used to be a constant unchecked task on my task list until a week ago.

I didn’t avoid the problem on purpose, I must add. It always felt like I had more important things to do and it was always easier to check a task like Blog or Blessings-a-day versus Book-a-day. I had no idea what I was supposed to do about it anyway. There’s a lot of very good literature about unclear to-do’s and this was the mother of unclear to-do’s.

It was 2 weeks ago that I finally realized that I was running out of time if I wanted to finish the book, as I had hoped to, by the end of the year. December was bound to be a busy month and taking such factors into consideration, I realistically had until the end of November to finish.

Holy cow. I finally had to face the problem. There was no way around it.

I realized that I was not resisting the writing but the task of sitting down and reading the 10 written chapters. I never read on my computer. How did I expect to get this done?

But then, I did read on my phone. So, now, I had to get it on my phone. A bit of research told me that the Dropbox app was perfect for reading stuff on my phone. Perfect! All my files are on Dropbox anyway (I’d done this earlier this year to save myself the trouble of any backing up).

And ever since mid-week last week, I’ve finally been able to get to reading my previous chapters. All inspired, I even penned down the epilogue chapter on the train and I’ve now dedicated my morning’s journey to my book. If I can get through the reading of all chapters by the weekend, I think I would be very inspired to get a lot of writing done when I’m away from work and email on Saturday evening. And yes, I’m very happy.

All that said, one part of me does feel like banging my head on the wall. The real problem was never the book. I’ve always wanted to finish writing it and I’ve always had the energy for it. The real problem was to find a tool that would enable me to read previous chapters when I wanted. Essentially, all these months, I was 1 app download away from making progress.

Relentless focus on removing obstacles and finding the real problem. That’s all I needed. We often get stuck not because we lack the energy to do a job but just because we lack the environment or the tools that would enable us to do it. And all we need to do then is to use our ability to think to enable ourselves to do just that. The rest will happen. And that begins by defining the real problem in the first place.

When stuck, define the problem.

A ‘Duh’ moment.

High time I learnt the lesson.