Victoria Ball

I once created a city split in half by a wide river.  The sole way to cross this river was by one bridge.  I built this city in my mind because I loved this bridge, maybe even obsessed over it.  I imagined that this bridge twinkled and lit up the night sky.  I imagined it as a symbol of my city, much like the Golden Gate Bridge is in my hometown of San Francisco.  I envisioned my protagonist crossing this bridge as they faced their internal struggles and grow emotionally — they would emerge a different person on the other side.  I quickly realized, after writing a page of my symbolic city, this bridge did not belong in it, much like a wrong puzzle piece.  But, I wanted this bridge in my story.  This instigated a case of writer’s block, flipping my story continuously to connect all the pieces.  Now, while I was unsuccessful in creating a story about a city with a twinkling bridge, I have come to a greater understanding of what creates writer’s block, and then how to end it.

Writer’s block is when a writer has issues with the piece they are writing.  They cannot form their ideas into comprehensible sentences; they have trouble moving from point A to point B, or they stare at a blank document with no idea how to start.  There are plenty of causes for writer’s block - some are more common than others - but the cure is what is most important.
There is no cure.

Writer’s block is like a cold.  Anyone is vulnerable to it; there are mild and severe cases; and, most importantly, it morphs and changes so it can beat any cure you throw at it.  Unlike an exhausting cold, if one were to understand where the writer’s block came from, then they could move past it.

Most people consider writer’s block to be the writer’s fault — they are the ones who cannot put the words together to write whatever they want.  If we were to look back at my bridge story, I received writer’s block because I couldn’t figure out how to get across the bridge.  But, how about we look at this issue from a different perspective?  My bridge brought great trouble, so let me remove it from the equation.  In my attempts of constructing the perfect city for this bridge, I revealed other factors of my city in my writing.  I could see the neighborhoods, the streets, and the LED billboards blaring through apartment windows, causing no peaceful darkness.  In the end, the city became perfect.  The only aspect stopping me from continuing on was the bridge, so I tore it down. 


I have seen many writers (myself included) lose sleep because they refuse to change what they’ve written.


Writing is strange like that.  We can walk into an essay or story with a theme or topic in mind.  We start to write our topic, but in doing so, we piece together different points that actually don’t fit in with the original topic.  I have found myself writing about topics that were not my first choices, but I could see the writing piece weaving together better than any topic I originally wanted to discuss.

Even though it seems obvious that one should be flexible with their material, I have seen many writers (myself included) lose sleep because they refuse to change what they’ve written.  Instead of going back to their first or second paragraph, writers will continue to dig down the hole they created.  I believe their determination should be applauded, but sometimes it is okay to accept defeat.  I think this can be applied to many people, even non-writers.  Defeat is something we don’t want to admit because it can make us seem weak or hesitant.  Though I hate giving in to defeat, I know it’s stronger to know when you can’t do things alone.  Maybe you need a fresh set of eyes on the situation or even some extra hands.

As for me, I learned that my bridge had to go.  Though I missed it greatly, the story that came from it became more cohesive and frankly, it made a greater impact on the overall themes I introduced.  It was nice to see that in just taking a couple steps back, I made great leaps forward.


Victoria is a writing student currently studying at Seattle Pacific University.  While she believes it is important to promote positive messages to others, she doesn’t shy away from throwing in a bit of wit.

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