Out of the Comfort Zone

I am a puzzle freak.

I love a challenge.

I need a challenge.


Guardian Kakuro 2005-10-17

Kakuro  (Photo credit: ukslim)

I’m not talking about jigsaw, puzzles here.  I mean the kind that you buy in a booklet type thing.  Cross Sums, Numbers Place, Syllacrostics, Anacrostics, Cryptograms, and the like.  In my obsession, I often will get into one type of puzzle and keep at it until it is no longer a challenge.  Then I’m off to hunt for something else to master.  Sometimes I will go back to a puzzle type after a while, but eventually, there just is no challenge and that is boring.  One problem with that is finding something challenging after you’ve mastered a few!

Then again, there are a few things that I just don’t get.  There the frustration level is so high that I give up or peek.  Logic puzzles fit in this category.  I’m guessing they fall into my learning disability, but it’s rare for me to be able to finish one without looking at the cheat sheet in the back.  This is true even though I must use logic to solve the puzzles I’m good at.  I’ll put that in the hmmmmm file for now.

In learning, there is tension or frustration.  The goal is to keep the learner in between too much frustration (and quitting) and too little (not challenged).



English: A example logic grid puzzle, with the...

logic grid puzzle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This brings me to writing. A writer needs to have some challenges.  We need to stretch ourselves and learn new things.  If we  not, our writing becomes stagnant.  Our mind becomes stagnant.  We get stuck in a comfort zone where we crank out drivel because we can.  Maybe it’s good stuff, but it’s no longer challenging.  The mind, right half and left half, need a challenge to keep growing, and if our writing is no longer challenging, our mind stops growing. 

This blog is a challenge for me that stretches my mind and imagination.  Certain types of writing, however, occur on autopilot.  I may need to do that type of writing at times, but I also know I need to keep challenging Gram and Imma so they keep growing.  As we age, it’s even more important to offset the loss of brain cells.  We can build new connections in our brain (even if we have to work a bit harder) and need to do so for our own brain health.


A mind not challenged is a mind not growing. ~ Angela Masters Young


Do you seek writing challenges, or do you stay in your comfort zone? 

How do you challenge your mind as you write? 

Can you see growth in your writing as you challenge yourself to master new things? 

Does your writing challenge others to grow and stretch as well? 

Here’s to challenging ourselves and growth as writers and as people.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.



  1. I love Kakuro! I do think the harder ones are hard to do without either cheating or guessing. I don’t think they’re set up to actually win on pure effort. I love having it on my iPad; I hardly do Suduko anymore.


    • Nancy, I have it on my iPad too 🙂 Once you know all the ones that have only one or two answers possible and put those all in, it makes it easier to get the others. I do my paper ones in red ink so I can change entries with a darker ink if I realize I’m wrong. Of course, the one on iPad lets you know if you’re wrong, so cheating is built in lol.

  2. I’m used to do Suduko but I haven’t for quite a while.
    My challenge is every time I sit at my keyboard; it feels like I’m starting all over again.

    • Interesting. I’m not sure what that means though. 🙂

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