There’s nothing quite as daunting as a blank page. Gasp! That void could be filled with anything. Or everything. Or nothing. The emptiness stymies. It taunts. It goads.
According to Stephen Sondheim, restrictions can unleash creativity. It seems counter-intuitive. Absolute freedom seems as if it should loosen us up, but what gets us going are boundaries to bounce against.
- Name a theme.
- Set a word limit.
- Pick a genre.
- Add a deadline.
- Break a rule consistently.
- Enter a competition.
- Play word games (five-word sentences; narrative through dialogue only; no adjectives; no words beginning with A; create palindromes; play with a literary device).
All of these restrictions make it easier to get started and keep going.
Poetry and flash fiction are excellent writing practice for this reason. Both challenge the writer on with their super-tight restrictions (especially if the poetry you’re writing has a form rather than free verse.)
Restrictions give you a point.
Over to You
What’s your favourite creativity-sparking restriction? Please share in the content.