2010 Writing Goal #2: Find the Zen

Many years ago a couple gave my husband and I a puzzle from the Museum Store. It’s two bent nails hooked together, and there’s a way to get them apart and put them back together. It resurfaced during a New Year’s cleaning frenzy and I’ve been fiddling with it ever since. It’s frustrating to know there’s an answer to something and not be able to figure it out. This happens a lot in writing. You know there’s an answer to your plot problem. You know that your character has something else in them that would make a scene better. You know there’s a better line in you, buried somewhere deep. But you can’t figure it out.

The nail puzzle is one of those that’s effortless when you finally find the solution, as is the right plot point, the right emotion from your chracter, the right line. But getting there requires a lot of fiddling, and you have to be willing to do the wrong thing about a hundred times and still approach the problem with the same entusiasm. Retaining that enthusiasm could prove tricky for even the most zen writer among us.

I’m patient as Job with my kids. My fuse is only seconds-long with technology. My frustration quotient for writing is somewhere in-between. What I’ve learned is that being frustrated is ok. As long as you don’t give up until you find the perfect solution, you’re still good. There is an answer out there. Wait for it. Work toward it. Know that it will come eventually.