I love doing sudoku puzzles, completing at least two a day. Naturally, I like more challenging ones, because solving them is more satisfying.
After years of doing them on specific websites and in the newspaper, I’ve recently discovered a new site for doing them. Their logic seems different than what I’ve previously encountered, which makes them more difficult, which translates to more challenging and fun.
It also reinforced the need to not take shortcuts or jump ahead. I’ve found the best way to solve these is to maintain discipline and process the different logical devises employed in a step-by-step process.
I’ve also learned that sometimes the complexity will overwhelm me, and I become frustrated. When that happens, I stop the clock, save the work, close the page, and walk away. Returning to it in a short while with fresh eyes and mind then lets me see obvious clues that were missed earlier.
This reinforces my writing processes and approach. I’m often a sucker for clickbait about how-to articles regarding writing and publishing. I’m not necessarily seeking easier, but that elusive realm known as better. I often find that they’re packaging the same writing advice I’ve seen everywhere else, but with new words and more interesting headlines. There’s very little that offers sage advice about writing better.
That makes sense.
Guidelines are well-established for proper structures or how to describe characters and settings, write action scenes and pacing. But each of our works, hopefully, are unique and fresh to us as writers. Nothing is as clearly delineated as it is in hindsight of published works. We’re making multiple decisions about pacing and info-dumps, trying to decide how much of what we know becomes too much for the reader, or spoils the story.
In the end, I learned again lessons found in solving sudoku puzzles. Stay true to the my course. Don’t take shortcuts, remain patient, and use anxiety to feed determination to finish.
And, if it’s necessary, take a damn break and return to it with fresh eyes and mind.