Blocked by brain freeze? – How lean manufacturing tools can improve your creative writing.

Writer’s Block – How lean manufacturing tools can improve your creative writing?

There are different ways to get around writer’s block. I don’t believe any one way is better than any other, whatever works IS the best way. Pulling on skills from another area in my life I began to see that there are ways to use them for creative writing. I talked about RCCA in another article, how Root Cause Corrective Analysis can help improve your writing by helping you get to the base of a problem. Whether you have read the article or not we can use another lean manufacturing tool to organize this RCCA information.

Some of you may have seen this before, I can remember this tool being originally taught to me in grade school. It is used in manufacturing to aid in process improvements. It’s called the “Fishbone Diagram” and looks like this.

This diagram is also known as the “Ishikawa Diagram” or “cause and effect”. We can thank Kaoru Ishikawa for its creation. It works great for organizing ideas or information. The large blue box is the head or mouth, the lines are the bones of the fish. Place the main idea or problem at the head. Decide on and place categories or topics in the smaller boxes. Fill in the “bones” with the details. Yes, it is that simple. Let’s add some information to the diagram.

After adding some information we can begin to see how things take shape. While its not the best picture right now we can fine tune it further. You may not use all the categories at this time so don’t worry if you don’t fill in all the spaces.

Let’ take it a step further by combining RCCA into the fishbone. This allows you to chase a problem or event to its root and keep all the information orderly. How can this improve your creative writing or help you with writer’s block? Allow me to demonstrate this using the example from this Article.

Here we have the fishbone filled out with some details from the example idea and the beginning of the story. Using RCCA “Why did the space station explode?” Structural failure of the station. Next, “Why did the structure fail?” We continue to apply this method until we have the root of the problem. We apply the organizational power of the fishbone to track all the information. Once there is a sufficiency of details, you can to piece together the story in which ever manner you like. Start at the beginning and work your way logically through to the end. You can begin at the end and tell the story from the viewpoint of the survivors, and still you can start somewhere in between and filter in the details until the grand explosion.

By now, you can see the advantages of using this methodology and how to apply it to creative writing. Taking into consideration that these ideas are typically used in lean manufacturing it makes one wonder what other ideas may be gleaned from other areas of life and adapted to crafty story telling.

If you this helped you at all take a moment to comment. Feel free to look at this Article for a better understanding of the RCCA methodology as used for creative writing. Happy writing and have fun.

8 thoughts on “Blocked by brain freeze? – How lean manufacturing tools can improve your creative writing.

  1. Hi Corey, 

    Blocked by brain freeze? – How lean manufacturing tools can improve your creative writing. 

    I like your blog on this wonderful and contemporary topic on brain freeze and writer’s block. I am myself a bit shy of writing each day, but i have to get over it. Crafty story telling is definitely an art that needs to be learnt. Its never too late.

    Great article. Thanks.


    1. I believe the only way to get better is by doing. You may know how to drive a car from reading a book, but you wont know what it truly means to drive that car until you sit behind the wheel feeling the momentum as you accelerate or brake, how the that momentum shifts when you turn. That knowledge comes from doing. 

  2. I have been struggling with writer’s block all the time. It is hard to get creative when you are routinely writing. I can see my writing skills differ from day to day, one day can be very entertaining and informative, the other day can be boring and I do not want that.

    Thanks for sharing the Ishikawa Diagram, I love how visually it is so I can brainstorm the ideas. I have never heard of RCAA method what does it stand for? Do you have a post that is dedicated to this method?

    1. Greetings, to answer your question yes there is another post that talks about the RCCA methodology. It stands for Root Cause Corrective Analysis. I believe it is good that your style changes, it allows you to able to tackle any topic from a different perspective. 

  3. As a writer, once or twice or sometimes, it is normal for an writers block to pop in and in most cases it might actually not be that easy because it might be when we needed to develop one of the very best works or projects of our life. So, getting this here is perfect as they can be used and can be employed to ensure that we achieve the very best in our writing and to get off suffering from a writer’s block

    1. I believe this may even be a way to push through the block. Simply follow the flow the tool provides and you should be able to finish your project.

  4. This is extremely interesting and i have been doing something like the “Fishbone Diagram” from a long time without ever knowing it had a name to it! ( no one ever taught it to me in school and i cant understand why)

    finding a sub topic to your niche and retracing it back to the main topic is the best way to write creative content. it also provides a change in perspective which might help you notice a few more details you previously had missed.

    thanks for the information!

    1. I am glad to be of service. I find this is helpful for a number of things. Happy writing and as always have fun.

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