Puzzles and Writers

I’m rather fond of putting together jigsaw puzzles. This Christmas my friend Sally and I started on a puzzle while she was visiting. She had to leave before it was finished. I’m still working on it, and enjoying even the frustration of dealing with a piece that MUST go in a specific place but of course doesn’t.

So why does the same experience when I’m writing drive me to chocolate?

I’ve thought about this a lot. I love having written, but the process is often so painful I avoid it for days. As I was trying to fit a piece into the puzzle where it clearly didn’t want to go, it suddenly occurred to me that when I’m assembling a jigsaw there is the promise of getting it right. I have a picture to follow that is accurate, and when I’m finished I will be rewarded. That’s not the case with writing. Oh, I have a picture in my head of where I want the story to go, and sometimes even an outline. That doesn’t mean I’ll get it right. My characters, unlike the jigsaw pieces, morph in mid-sentence without permission. The plot that clicked in place like beads on an abacus suddenly loops around into a tangled coil of unconnected events. Even if I can thrash the story into submission, I don’t always get the reward of knowing I got it right when I type The End. Nevertheless, the puzzle of writing is addictive, because one of these days I just know I’m going to solve it.

Luck and wisdom!