How Puzzles Help My Writing

A confession: virtually every day, I spend anywhere from a few minutes to, well, more than a few minutes solving puzzles. These days the puzzles are likely to be KenKen, crosswords, one of Liberty Puzzles’ ingenious jigsaws or Tower Madness, a strategy game, an addiction I had shaken until recently, when I discovered they had released 30 new maps to play: 30 new puzzles to solve.

Occasionally I tell myself that crosswords and some of the other puzzles exercise my general knowledge and vocabulary, and I hold out hope that the researchers who claim working puzzles is good for the brain are right, that the time I’ve spent staring at problems and slowly arriving at answers is time spent fighting off dementia. But I have my doubts.

So why do it? And what does puzzle solving have to do with what I’m supposed to be doing, writing fiction and nonfiction?

First: solving puzzles offers the pleasure of success. Like anyone else who does puzzles, I gravitate toward the ones I find challenging, up to a point. I don’t do Easy Sudoku, word searches, or the sort of crossword that asks for a three letter word to complete the title “The Cat in the —> Read More Here


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