or, Why Total Writing Freedom Isn’t - Constrained writing is an approach that helps us go from infinite creative choices to just a few for easier writing.
Awesome advice. Great ideas for lit classes - elementary and secondary.
Yes! Thank you for this! Constrained writing is an excellent way to push yourself to write. A few of the contests I’ve entered provide prompts (genre / character / an object / word count / a photo) and, as a result, I have written several short stories that would have otherwise never existed (let alone occurred to me). The process simultaneously inspires and forces you to get busy. For example, one set of prompts specified the genre (ghost story), character (an animal trainer) and subject (compromise). The deadline was 48 hours and the word count was 1500. Intense but thrilling! While I had certainly read plenty of ghost stories, up until this contest I’d never tried to write one. It was great fun and really stretched my creative muscles. As an emerging writer, there’s nothing more important than getting ideas from your head to the page (or screen). I have just started posting on Substack, and my plan is to post the (least embarrassing) stories that were written for contests, under the working title “Contestants”. (For lack of anything more original!) Just posted the first story last week! (With apologies for what must sound like a shameful self promo.)
Oh, I definitely need to try some of these tactics. Except for the photo one. But only because writing stories based on photos is the entire premise of my Substack, so I think I've got that one covered. 😁
I've always believed that constraints help me to be extra creative. Knowing that I'm creating within a box helps me think outside it.