Have you ever walked into a room that needed to be cleaned so badly that when you looked at it, you just stood there and couldn’t move?
The task was that daunting.
I’ve found the same emotion when presented with a “limitless canvas.”
As creators , the infinite world of possibilities is what we all dream of being presented with. But, in fact, it can be the most daunting, paralyzingly perplexing scenario of all.
If anything is an option, how do you decide where to start? And if any result is acceptable, how do you define when you’re done? These are the questions I find most creators are plagued with, no matter the medium or context.
Sure, unrestrained creativity sounds exciting. And in certain aspects, it is. But placing limits on our actions can actually more liberating than we might think.
Take, for example, the sheer joy expressed on a child’s face when you tell them they can paint a picture using only his fingers and the three colors you set out in front of him. Or a telling a writer she can pen anything, but using only 1,000 words in 60 minutes.
While it might seem the creative process has been restricted, the limits have actually interjected a much-needed element to the creative process: challenge.
The reality is, as humans, we do much better with limits than we do without them. Creation without challenge is an exercise in lethargy. It might be argued, in fact, that the presence of a challenge ignites creativity. It brings out the best in us.
Ensemble head count.
These all force us to be more creative within the parameters than we ever would be without them.
So the next time you don’t know where to start, try putting limits on your process. You might find it more liberating than your logic suggests, as disability always promotes capability.
I’m curious. What are some of your favorite creative limits that have helped you produce some of your best work?