on Writing Forward:
Lots of writers feel restricted by rules and constraints. I’ve seen writers rail against constraints ranging from the submission guidelines on an agent’s website to the specifications of a creative writing exercise. I once witnessed a rant by an author whose story didn’t fit into any genre that could be found on Amazon (or in any other bookstore).
Some people want to create in an environment of unbridled freedom. We all have this option as we create, but once we step out into the world, we have to deal with the systems that are in place.
In order to help readers find books they’ll like, bookstores need genres. In order to find clients efficiently, agents need to establish guidelines. And by definition, a writing exercise is deigned to provide parameters for you to work within.
But here’s what surprises a lot of writers: constraints can actually enhance creativity when applied properly.
Let’s look at a few creative constraints that have the potential to boost (rather than hinder) your creativity.