Please Stop Telling Me Constraints Are Stifling Your Creativity

Ev Chapman
January 19, 2022
1 min read

I'm addicted to constraints.

OK, that sounded weird. Let me clarify.  I'm addicted to imposing constraints on my creativity. It's why I challenge myself to write an essay under 300 words every day.

  • Do I have more to say? YES.
  • Could I sneak over the word limit? YES
  • Is it hard somedays? YES. YES. YES.

But I do it because it makes me better.

Constraints don't stifle your creativity. They actually push us to do our most creative work. Here's how:

Constraints Make You Think Differently. When you're constrained by a word limit or a time limit you are forced to think better. You have to choose words differently. It breaks you out of your familiar patterns and gets you into a new realm of thinking & creating.

Constraints Make You A Better Problem Solver. The best creativity comes from solving problems. The tighter the constraints the better you will become at solving problems. How do you solve the problem of fitting everything you need to say into 250-300 word essay. You can either get creative, or you can fall back into your old patterns. I choose to be creative.

Constraints Expand your Creativity. When you embrace constraints you have no choice but to innovate, to do something different, to be creative with the words you choose, and how you say things. Embracing constraints is your best tool for creativity.

I apply constraints to EVERYTHING now. I constantly set timers to finish things, challenge myself to write something in just one sentence, use only 2 colours in an illustration. Why? Because I know it makes me better at my craft.

Stop hating constraints and start embracing them like your creative life depends on it because it does.

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