Creatively Blocked? Maybe You’re Building the Wrong Combo


Are you building a yes combo or a no combo?

If like me, you don’t play video games, this Wikipedia definition of a combo is very helpful:

In fighting games, combo specifically indicates a timed sequence of moves which produce a cohesive series of hits, each of which leaves the opponent unable or almost unable to block or otherwise avoid the following hits in the sequence.

I love how Jay Smooth connects combos with fighting a creative block because it turns what feels like a mental/laziness/shame spiral problem into a physical one.

Steven Pressfield calls that problem Resistance, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels call it Part X, most people call it that little voice in their heads. Whatever it’s called, it’s real and most of us fight it all the time. (My subconscious is a 24/7 cage match.) The thing is, how committed are we to winning?

We usually think of a block as a part of us or at least, a result of something in ourselves, so when we fight it, we’re fighting ourselves. My theory is, our egos don’t want any part of ourselves to lose, even the part that’s holding us back.

BUT if you can visualize that part as an actual, separate enemy, a villain out to keep you from reaching your most cherished creative goals — player B — then that’s something you can kick the crap out of. You can beat the block. Choose the yes combo!