Writing tip: The power of limitation

writing tipDon’t believe the myth that limitation impedes creativity. Quite the opposite: Artists choose a palette rather than work with millions of colors. Architects work within the limitations of budget and landscape. William Carlos Williams was a doctor as well as a poet, so his poems were short, as he wrote them on the back side of his prescription pad between seeing patients. As a writer (or a human!), working within restrictions can create portals to insight and innovation. You can play with this idea in many ways: Try writing a poem about love using verbs that relate to carpentry or cooking. Or set a timer for two hours and force yourself to finish a draft of your piece by the time it goes off, as though you were writing an essay test in high school. Or use the principles of freewriting to create limits that automatically help you write through a block.