Solving the Rubik’s Cube

I’ve been thinking about the way that the process of writing often feels to me like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube. Side note: my daughter is a bit obsessed with them. She has the normal one and then five other varieties, including the stainless steel one which has cubes of different sizes. Maddening!

I like to plot out the structure of a story before I write it, but sometimes it’s a real struggle to turn it into a reality. I know what I want to happen, but I don’t always know how.

Plus, I’ve definitely found that whilst plotting has its place, often a scene takes on its own life. Characters take over… Perhaps things don’t work out exactly as you plan them anyway with that part of the story.

Instead of embarking upon a frustrating encounter with a Rubik’s cube that just doesn’t slot into place, I have a different strategy. I fill my ‘headspace’ with my characters and my story and dream up scenarios until I find the one that works.

Headspace is definitely a sought-after commodity to me. If work is busy or stressful, it can be hard to zone out and tune in to my story world. But where I get obsessed with a problem in my story, I find myself thinking about it when I’m driving, when I’m walking, when I’m cooking… All. The. Time.

It’s kind of fun, really. Imaginary escapism. But it does work, because eventually, I figure out something that’s viable, and when I start typing words on the page, often I can then muddle through and start overcoming the sticking points.

It’s a satisfying feeling. If you’re in the middle of your own Rubik’s cube story problem, take heart! There’s always a solution. You just have to find it…

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