How To Unlock A Creative Block

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? The land of myths and dreams. A place where people envision the things they want to do, the places they want to go, but end up doing nothing to get there. As a writer, I am familiar with this place; the place where creativity is blocked, and action is impeded. The place where your mind, your greatest ally, becomes your greatest enemy. The place where your enemy is not outside, but within.

A group of musicians from Durban, South Africa, moved to Joburg to pursue their music careers. They rented a flat in Midrand, and started hustling. They went to gigs, performed, recorded music, and did everything they could to try make it in the music industry. However, after a year of hustling, they had nothing to show for it. They were unsigned, running out of money, and running out of steam to continue chasing their dreams. They had reached a breaking point. They contemplated giving up on their dreams, moving back to Durban and living ordinary lives, knowing that they had tried and failed.

However, they decided to give it another week. And that’s the week they finally got signed. Oskido, the owner of Kalawa Jazmee (a record label), contacted them because he wanted to sign them. This group was the DurbanNites. They went on to release their first single, which achieved commercial success and was a hit with the public.

The moment they wanted to quit, was the moment they needed to carry on. The moment they wanted to throw in the towel, was the moment they needed to keep fighting.

Persistence wins the war.

Persistence beats talent. There’s a saying that goes, “Hard work beats talents, but nothing beats talent that works hard.” This saying, is a fancy way of saying nothing. It mentions talent as a prerequisite for success. However, it acknowledges the importance of persistence, even when talent is present. So why mention talent at all, when even talent, needs to work hard?

Soccer, is a sport where talent is praised. To become a professional soccer player, requires hours and hours of training. Some argue, you need to be talented. However, what separates professionals from talented soccer players, is their ability to continuously perform at a high level. Professionals perform week in and week out, without fluctuating in form. A professional is reliable. And consistency, creates reliability.

Jose Mourinho, an accomplished soccer coach, once praised Frank Lampard as the hardest working player he’s ever coached. He once saw Frank Lampard practicing a volley that he had missed in the previous game. Practice was over, everybody was leaving, except for Frank Lampard.

Frank Lampard became the highest goal scoring midfielder, in the history of the English Premier League. He’s Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer. If you’re not familiar with soccer, strikers are expected to score, and midfielders are expected to create opportunities for strikers to score. Frank Lampard outscored strikers. He practiced scoring more than they did. As a result, he scored more goals than they did.

He was never praised for being a skillful player, quick, or having some innate ability that separated him from the rest. However, he was reliable. He was the type of player you wanted the ball to fall to, because you knew he would produce what was needed. Week in and week out, he consistently performed at a high level. Now, he’s remembered as one of the best to ever play the game.

J.K Rowling started working on Harry Potter in 1990. The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997. It took her seven years to realize her dreams. During those seven years, she went through so much pain, that anyone would have understood if she gave up on her dreams. However, this is the reason why she went from living on state benefits, to writing some of the best children’s books in history. Her ability to shut out the outside world, wake up every day and practice her craft.

From the moment she started writing Harry Potter, J.K Rowling went through a divorce, she moved locations, she became a mother, she lost her job, she went on state benefits and she was diagnosed with depression. However, none of this kept her from doing what she loved.

In fact, losing her job gave her more time to write. Being divorced gave her the mental space to focus on herself, and what she wanted to do. And being depressed inspired her books. It inspired the dark elements many have come to love about Harry Potter.

A block in creativity is not a problem, but a challenge. It’s a challenge to see how badly you want to create what you’ve dreamed off. How you tackle that block determines your destiny. If you wake up every day, with the end goal in mind, and you push through whatever blockages you have. Then, the future you’ve dreamed of will do the same. It will push through obstacles and manifest into reality.

However, if you fail to live up to the challenge, and you put off what needs to be done for another day. Then, your future will do the same thing. It will be put off for another day. Till, the day you run out of days arrives, and you realize that you have done nothing.

Time waits for no man. Seconds turn into minute. Minutes become hours, then days. Days become months and eventually, years. Years bring life and death. Death comes for everyone. But life is enjoyed by those who make the seconds count.

Everyone lives, but not everyone lives a life. Those who do, spend their time creating that life. Those who spend the rest of their lives, living lives created by somebody else, never get to live.

If you are a creative, then you are always creating. Whether its music, art, a business or a book. That creation symbolizes more than what you think it does. It symbolizes how you deal with life. If you face a block and you can’t push through, you won’t be able to turn the lemons life throws at you into lemonade.

If you can’t focus on the end goal and use it to unlock your blocks, you’ll end a living a life not worth living. You won’t know your purpose, and even when do, you won’t live a life aligned with that purpose. In the end, you’ll die a person who never realized their potential. A person who had talent and nothing else. A person who showed promise, but in the end, had nothing to show for it.

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