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July 16, 2020

War Stories – The Blogger’s Block

This story is as much trivial as it is personal. It has little or nothing to do with IT or Windows. I recommend pressing the browser back button now.

As I have posted here earlier, I was quite sick for some time after the holiday season. To start writing again, I felt pressure; Ed had almost single-handedly taken care of creating new content here on Win10.guru, I felt that I must get back in the saddle.

I started with a simple PowerShell piece, about how to change file and folder timestamps. After some other stories, I decided to continue with more PowerShell coverage. On Friday last week, I thought I’d write about how to use a Powershell module PSWindowsUpdate instead of the Settings app to control Windows and Microsoft updates. I thought I might need an hour to create screenshots, and maybe two more to write the story.

How wrong I was! Everything started to go wrong as soon as I started. The thing is, starting to work on a Hyper-V demo VM setup to get screenshots for my piece, it looked as if I was completely unable to enter the right commands. I found myself slammed with error message after error message. Several times I only noticed the error or my mistake when annotating screenshots. Not only that; as the procedure I wanted to demonstrate involves updating (and upgrading) Windows, occasionally I got the commands right but forgot a step or two. That meant restarting from scratch, restoring my demo VM to a clean state by applying a Hyper-V checkpoint and running updates again.

I started on Friday mid-afternoon. At 4 AM I gave up, and slept a few hours. Most of Saturday went the same way. My frustration grew, but the pressure to get it published was as we say in my native Finnish “käsinkosketeltava” (palpable). Feeling that I needed to reset my head, I thought that if I just forgot that story and start writing something about another, totally different topic, it might help.

It didn’t. At some point during Saturday evening I gave up. I returned to that topics on late Sunday afternoon, but again, gave up only after two or three hours. Although I am currently on medication which includes a total alcohol ban, I took a double scotch while sitting on balcony enjoying the nice evening.

That did the trick. I went back to my computer, started the demo VM one more time from scratch, deleted the draft I had already written, and started over from the very beginning. This time, I got one error message, but everything ran smoothly. No forgotten commands, screenshots exactly as I wanted. Finally, during the first hour of Monday morning, I was able to publish it: Use PowerShell to update and upgrade Windows 10

I think two factors led to this nearly 60-hour (excluding sleep and eat / drink bathroom breaks) war. First, the immense pressure I felt to start writing again. Second, I know I am not a top-notch writer, I know that my tutorials and such are far from perfect. But, I want them to be as good as what can make them. No obvious errors in given instructions, logical steps in logical order, screenshots clearly showing what they are supposed to show.

When doing the procedure I know very well went wrong already on my first try on a demo VM, it finally lead to a vicious circle where every new try just caused new errors and mistakes. I’ve struggled with a post, article or tutorial before, but it has never been like it was this weekend. I’m glad to have it all behind me now.




Author: Kari Finn

A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.

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