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  • Writer's pictureElli Comeau

How is puzzling like writing?

This is by far the most challenging puzzle I've put together, and that's not because it's 500 pieces more than my usual preference (my preference being 1000 pieces), but because many of these pieces look the same, and some are really difficult to identify.

Is there a writing reference coming? Oh yes.

There are several ways this relates to writing, but I want to point out two:

1) Perseverance

This puzzle is challenging, sure, but do I give up? Not a chance. Why not, you ask? Because I enjoy this challenge, of course. Yes, it's incredibly frustrating sometimes, but even if it takes me five minutes to find just one missing piece, that's one new piece I connected, which I didn't have before! In other words: every small victory adds to the whole, no matter how much sweat I put into it. The same is true for writing. It's worth the sweat and agony, because the story (the picture) that it results in is so beautiful and satisfying.

Today, if you feel like giving up, do one of two things (or both): remember the picture in your mind and ask yourself, how much is it worth it to me to get to that point, that picture/story I have in my head? Should I really give up? Or do I want to see what it looks like when finished? The other thing you can do is the second thing I want to point out where puzzling and writing are alike:

2) Asking for help

Okay, maybe I don't ask for help much when it comes to puzzling (mostly because I really, really, really love a puzzling challenge) but for this one, I've actually not minded my two daughters fiddling with the pieces and finding a random fit. They enjoy it, and it takes the edge off for me, because their victory is also mine, because their pieces add to my own whole. How's that the same as writing? Simple: sometimes you just can't do it alone. Sometimes you've stared for so long at the pieces (or the words on your screen or on your paper) that you can't see the individual images anymore, because all your head is showing you now is the big whole you want to get to. It creates a blockage in your mind.

Sometimes I just have to step away, and when I come back, *boom* a new puzzle piece just jumps at me. Was it always there? You bet it was. Did I see it before the break? Of course not, because I was tired after trying for so long, and all the puzzle pieces began to blend together in a big mess. For writing, that translates into two things: take a break once in a while and don't feel ashamed of it, and ask for help. There's no shame in that, either.

Want some help putting your story's puzzle pieces together? I'm happy to chat. Send me a message here, email me (, or fill out the contact form on my website. And be sure to check out what other people say about working with me in the testimonials section.

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