As much as we all love a jigsaw puzzle, it's no secret how frustrating it can get when you get stuck trying to complete one. The unsettling feeling of staring at puzzle pieces for hours on end without making progress can be more frustrating than relaxing. Before long, you may find yourself avoiding the puzzle to avoid spending time trying to solve the impossible.
Even for the biggest puzzle lovers, a static puzzle can arise feelings of frustration, anger and impatience. So, when you get lost or stuck, rather than staring into space, here are some things you can try to keep the ball rolling:
Don't ignore the reference picture
Some puzzlers like to add an extra challenge by removing the reference picture from sight when they're working on a puzzle. But, when you're stuck, there's nothing wrong with taking a quick peek. After all, the overall pieces can look very different on their own than in the grand scheme of things.
Checking the reference picture can help you find anomalies or stand-out elements of your puzzle. Something as simple as a yellow spot, a small lens flare or a distant shadow can help you identify the specific pieces you will need for a particular section. This can help you better separate everything so you can only focus on the puzzle pieces you need at a point in time.
Work on small sections
I often find that I get caught up trying to work from the border inwards, rather than solving the simplest sections at first. It usually leaves me with a mass of pieces that don't serve much of a purpose at the time and can have my head spinning in moments.
If there are clear, identifiable elements on your puzzle, working on these first, then placing them where they need to be can help you have things connected in no time. It will also help you get a better grasp of how large and small specific elements of your puzzle are as well.
When in doubt, take a break
Staring meticulously into space usually is not a good way to get things solved. While we would all love to defeat the puzzle gods and claim victory over even the most difficult jigsaws, sometimes we simply need to let our eyes have a moment away from the puzzle table.
I often find that I have more luck under specific lighting as well, so perhaps waiting for that gorgeous golden hour sun is just what you need to help you spot the finite details in each piece and keep the puzzle-solving going.