My Writing Community is like a Japanese Puzzle Box

“You will discover an unexpected treasure.”

puzzle box

Japanese puzzle boxes are elegant wooden creations. They can be solved by a simple squeeze or through a dizzying array of pulls and pushes. The puzzle box originated in 19th century Japan and held a good luck charm on the inside (once you finally opened it).

My online writing community, Wordsmith Studio, is like a puzzle box. Each pull and twist of a member’s writing journey adds and enhances my own. For example:

  • Twist one Khara House‘s submission challenge into published stories in literary magazines
  • Push Romelle Broas into meeting up in person and bond over writerly struggles
  • Yank Gail Kushner into discussions about self-publishing (and magic cookie bar recipes)
  • Slide Dr. Kasie into moderating #wschat on Twitter
  • Pull on Elissa Field for advice and connections (thanks for inviting me into Binders!)

So happy 3rd anniversary, WSS! Here’s what’s been going on with me:

1) What are you currently working on? I’m releasing a cozy mystery featuring loveable Winston Wong this week! Look for SENIORS SLEUTH to come out on Saturday, May 9th!

2) For past work, what was your greatest joy or greatest challenge? Connecting with readers is the greatest joy, either one-on-one or in larger groups. The challenge is hearing harsh critiques of your personal stories (especially from loved ones).

3) For current work, what challenge are you working through now? I think I need to write faster!

4) For work you are just planning or starting, what challenges or growth are you expecting or hoping to encounter? I’m looking forward to growing in terms of weaving together more intricate plotlines.

5) What have successes or challenges in your work (recently) taught you? As I venture into becoming a hybrid author (traditional before and now self-publishing), it’s been challenging to run everything myself. On the bright side, people are willing to step in and help, so that’s been lovely.

6) How would you describe a great writing day (or week)? I aim to create new content every day, but sometimes life jumps in with sicknesses or delays (or marketing).

7) What specific tools or strategies help you succeed?  It helped me to read Marcy Kennedy’s DIALOGUE for essential information on constructing conversations. I’m also really happy I joined specific genre groups, like Sisters in Crime–everyone is so supportive!

If you truly want to check out my newest work, you can pre-order SENIORS SLEUTH below:

This post is part of the Friendship Friday blog party from Create with Joy and…

Foodie Friday First: Pan Roast
Foodie Friday: Fan Tuan


  1. elissa field says

    I love your post, Jen. It’s great to hear how connections with other writers, including Wordsmith & Sisters in Crime, have contributed to your experience. I’m glad you joined in the blog hop, and in Wordsmith! Looking forward to the new release!

  2. Hi Jenn. I’m so glad you are a part of WSS. It’s obvious that you are taking your writing seriously and really growing as an author. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love the comparison of WSS to a Japanese puzzle box. Congratulations on your upcoming book release and thanks for joining the blog hop.

  4. Bravo, Jennifer! Very much looking forward to reading your new book. Happy Mother’s Day to you and everyone on your blog!

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