Invisible Walls

One of the most frustrating aspects of playing a video game is the invisible wall.

If you’re not a gamer, imagine it like this. You’re in a really cool place you’ve never been to before. The environment is beautiful and there are so many options and cool things to do that you have no idea where to start. So you set off in one direction to see what wonderful things are in store for you in this cool new place…and suddenly stop. There’s nothing in front of you to stop you from exploring. You just can’t go anymore. And something you really want is just beyond the invisible wall you’ve stumbled upon.

That’s how it feels in a video game. You’re given an incredible and detailed world to explore, and it seems like you should be able to reach every inch. But if the game developer doesn’t want you to go somewhere, you don’t, and the lazier ones solve this problem by placing an invisible wall. There’s no reason for you not to go except for the arbitrary decision of some other person.

To me, that’s how writer’s block feels. Here I am, itching to get some words on a page, my fingers ready to go. But just as I sit down with a tall glass of milk, ready to start typing, all my ideas vanish. One minute I’m exploring a beautiful world and then BAM, invisible wall. No reason to get stuck, but there’s still a wall to hold me back.

I write this because today, I am very excited to write for Adventure Rules, and I want to get a few posts done because tomorrow I have to work all day. Yet here I am, unable to type anything except for a frustrated rant about invisible walls because my ideas are just not flowing.

Perhaps venting my frustration will help me to find a way past the wall. Or maybe we need to hire new game developers. Am I still talking about the same thing? I’m not sure anymore.

So I ask you, readers-who-are-writers. What do you do when an invisible wall stands in your way? How do you cross a barrier you can’t see or understand? Discuss it in the comments and help out your fellow writers. Who knows, what works for you may be the magical wrecking-ball that another writer needs.

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