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10.2. Three Types of Block


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 10. Getting Past the Blocks > 10.2. Three Types of Block

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When marching down the road of creativity, there are three things that can conspire to prevent us from reaching our goals.

Obstacles are things that get in our way, preventing us from progressing. Many mental blocks are obstacles. We have internal voices that tell us that it cannot be done, it is not worth it or we are just not cut out for this sort of work. We may also lack access to critical resources, such as special measurement instruments. You can batter your way through obstacles, get help from others, take them down a brick at a time or find some other way to go around, over or under them. Turn obstacles into creative challenges.

Distractions lead us off the path. They can be interesting side issues (which sometimes are worth following, but not now). Procrastination is a classic distraction strategy, when just as we are finding things difficult, we find the need to make a coffee or watch a television program. A clear purpose and goal (including time) is a fair way of helping to avoiding distractions. An ‘ideas’ book is also useful to write down interesting ideas that are not immediately relevant. Give yourself no excuse to wander off: have coffee and biscuits to hand and ask not to be disturbed.

Holes are obstacles that are not there and appear when we run out of steam or otherwise seem to have reached the end of the road. ‘Writer’s block’ is a typical hole, where even famous authors lose inspiration and are left grasping at the empty air. Almost all creative efforts have points where we lose sight of the either the finish line or the once-clear route by which we might get there. Sometimes, to get past holes, you just have to clamber down into the darkness, make your way across the muddy bottom and somehow climb out the other side. This is where determination and perseverance pay off.

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