ducks and debugging

Just like writers, software developers can get stuck when their program runs into an issue. When all other debugging methods have failed, one trick is bringing in a rubber duck.  Explain to the duck what the code should be doing and what is happening instead. Sometimes saying it out loud suddenly makes the solution obvious.

The same tactic can be used for writers. If your story has stalled, bring in help to talk things out, even if it’s a rubber duck. Describe where your story is and where you want it to go. Speaking aloud can make the problem clear or spark an idea.

You can also read to a rubber duck while editing. It’s good practice to read your work out loud at least once. Word has a speak-to-text feature. Just select the desired text and click the “Speak” icon at the top. Your ears will catch things your eyes may have missed, such as clunky dialogue.

If you have a school visit or presentation coming up, use multiple rubber ducks as an audience to practice your speech on. Place them around the room and try to make periodic eye contact with each one.

Granted, you could use any inanimate object for these tips. But rubber ducks can give a quack of approval and encourage relaxing baths. They’re pretty awesome.

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