Writing as a Form of Problem Solving

A frequent reason for writing is to sort through the nature of a problem. Sometimes just to get a clear sense of what the problem is. Other times to come up with various solutions to the problem.

One of my interests is parliamentary procedure. In the past I spent several years in intensive study of Roberts’ Rules of Order, Newly Revised, and other books containing guidelines for conducting effective meetings. Exams followed the study and I became a Certified Parliamentarian-Teacher.

I have carried this knowledge and skill with me into a variety of settings. Now I am the parliamentarian of our church. This fall our minister left under difficult circumstances. Basically the Board of Trustees decided not to renew her contract following a number of incidents that had not been shared with the congregation since they had to do with employment issues.

The congregation has decided that possibly one way to deflect similar problems in the future would be to make some changes in the bylaws. The bylaws committee has been charged with looking at the make-up of the board. Two questions that are important to the congregation are the number of trustees and the length of their terms.

An interesting challenge has been to write up amendments that address four possible outcomes, especially since the first year any changes go into effect there would need to be staggered terms of office.

There are several places in the bylaws that would be impacted by any change in either number.

Our first challenge was to identify where all of these spots were. Then we wrote up how the bylaws themselves would need to be changed in each of these scenarios:

  1. There are no changes in the number of trustees or the length of term so no changes in the bylaws.
  2. The number of trustees is increased by two and the length of term remains the same so there are multiple changes in the bylaws.
  3. The size of the board remains the same and one year is added to the term of office so there are different changes in the bylaws.
  4. The size of the board is increased and the term is lengthened resulting in a combination of multiple changes in the bylaws.

Not only did this process require clear thinking but also careful proofreading to assure that the proposed changes fit the designated scenario.

Did we solve the problem? We won’t know until the annual meeting in February what the congregation will decide. And we won’t know until the changes have been in effect for a few years if that decision will make a true difference in the future operation of the church.

We know that we, as members of the bylaws committee, have a clearer idea of how something that initially feels like a minor change can quickly become complex.

When you are well into the process of writing your book you may decide to make a change in one of the points you make. It could be as simple of changing the ‘name’ you have given to your point or changing the order of presentation of a couple of points. It is important to have someone who can bring some distance and objectivity check your manuscript to assure that your change is reflected accurately throughout your book.

Whether your original purpose in writing was to identify all elements of your problem or to solve the problem, getting the various points out of your head and down on paper will help you move forward. One of my gifts is to help others find their way through the fog that comes with being in the middle of a problem or kerfuffle (a term I remember from my childhood).

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Are you ready to move through your problem to identifying your solution? Whether your problem relates to starting your book or making changes to your book give me a call at 843-593-0045 or use this link to schedule your Enchanted Book Session.

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