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Deliberately imposed constraints

It has been said that…

”Necessity is the mother of invention”

Entrepreneurs set out to solve problems by creating something that does not yet exist.

Artists, scientists, and engineers routinely discover something new when confronted with a problem blocked by an unforeseen barrier.

When everything is on the table, it can be difficult to focus. Constraints narrow focus by providing lines to color within and boundaries that cannot be crossed.

In case of emergency, break glass

I’ve noticed that writing has become more challenging than in the past. Part of the reason is I’ve begun writing more long form posts with a deep exploration of an idea. This takes more time and when combined with my rapidly eroding available time due to parenting and other responsibilities, has left me feeling an itch for something new.

When things begin to feel a bit stale, one way to switch things up, is to impose constraints. If you find yourself stuck on a problem, one method to get out of the rut is to change the context or the rules you will abide by.

One of the things I’m planning to do in some of my forthcoming posts is to deliberately impose a constraint to see how it changes the work.

Here are some I may decide to do (checked are ones I’ve completed):

✔️ Write a post in 10 minutes or less

✔️ Write a post in fewer than 500 words

✔️ Write a post without using any first person words (I, me, or my)

  • Write a post as a single haiku or a series of haikus
  • Write a post as part of a series with three or more entries in the series
  • Write a palindrome post — one that reads the same backward and forward
  • Write a post as if I were ghost writing for one of my favorite authors
  • Write a post everyday for one week
  • Write a post that includes 10 words selected by my readers or randomly by ChatGPT
  • Write a post by hand before typing it
  • Write an entire post that is a metaphor for something else entirely
  • Dramatically increase or decrease the size of the font
  • Write a post while listening to Rage Against the Machine, and another one with Beethoven.
  • …you get the point

When I do one of these experiments, I will call out the self-imposed constraint in the introduction of the post.

Stay tuned and feel free to try similar exercises for yourself.

There are endless ways to tap into your creativity, the first step is to change something.

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