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When a Dentist Gets Writers Block


overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on ...

Overcoming writer’s block – crumpled paper on wooden floor – crushed paper

 

Do dentists see themselves as creatives?  I don’t mean mean dentists who write or paint…but rather in their everyday practice of dentistry.  It is my belief that people bring creativity to their job…and dentists are no exception.

In many ways dentists are like writers.  Let me explain.

Years ago, before I created my examination process, I would gather up all of the information from the clinical examination:  the radiographs, the models and the charts.  These days I have added study models and photographs.  Either way, I would sit down at my desk, get a cup of coffee, close the door and get ready to create my plan.  Sometimes I gave thanks that there wasn’t much to do…a simple case.  Other times, especially when the amount of material I collected seemed overwhelming and confusing,  I would sip my coffee and look blankly at the viewbox.  I would pick up the models, and many times nothing came to me.

It was the same feeling I would get when I get writer’s block.  Brainfog.

There are many ways to cure writer’s block, like going out for a walk and coming back later, but when you’re facing a deadline you have to produce something.  When a reporter gets writer’s block he just writes a bad article.  When a dentist gets writer’s block he creates a bad treatment plan.

Writers use outlines and other techniques like freewriting to create ideas.  Mind maps work well too.

One thing I always rely on is a guide.  When I sit down to write, I always put three words on top of the page: Topic, Angle and Purpose.  Those three words keep me focused.

I am a big believer in using guides.  When I create a presentation…I always use guides.

When I treatment plan I also use guides.  My treatment planning guide always sits out on my desk while creating treatment plans.  It has become a habit, regardless of the simplicity or complexity of the case.  For me it was about avoiding the brainfog of writer’s block.  And guess what?  My treatment plans make more sense.

I became more confident in my treatment planning process…because I actually had a coherent thought process.

This may sound obvious to many dentists, but what I have found out is that most dentists don’t work with a process.  They don’t have an examination process, a treatment planning process or a case presentation process.  Many operate by the seat of their pants.

It’s funny but some writers actually like writing by the seat of their pants, without guides or outlines.  It works well for them.  It works because they have erasers on their pencils…they can revise.

Dentists don’t get second chances.  Your Treatment plans are your gift to your patients…your creativity.

If you would like a free copy of my guide, become a subscriber to the ADL Newsletter.  As a bonus I will be sending out the many ways I use it to put my treatment plans together.  For those familiar with the Art of the Examination this is new information that I never wrote about in that book.

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