Creative constraints can make you more creative

One of today's Lifehacker articles (see excerpt below and the link to the full article) has me thinking about certain limits and how they actually make you better. As one of the most long-winded people in history (peep those last few blog posts and you won't disagree), I can vouch for the fact that creative constraints can actually make you more creative.
That 140-character limit on Twitter has taught me to say much more in a much smaller space.
The need for lyrics to be simpler and more down-to-earth than the words of a poem has taught me to find the beauty in everyday phrases, and find more creative ways to use them.

The idea of my first release possibly being an EP instead of a full album has me thinking hard about which songs are really the absolute best and most representative of me, and in the last couple of months it's also pushed me to write better songs than I ever have before.
Having said that, I always love the longest albums from the most verbose artists... and I am addicted to the written word, and I do like it in massive doses. As usual I'm a study in contrasts. In love with both the compact nature of Twitter and the unfurling pages of a lengthy blog post.
Here's that excerpt if you like it short, or click the link at the bottom for the full article with all the juicy info about Beck and his Record Club project, and how that 24 hour project led to something original and spontaneous rather than heavily crafted and perfected...

The joys of creative constraints

Why does Flickr's video service allow for only 90 seconds of footage? Cynically, you could assume it's to save on bandwidth and storage costs, but Flickr says otherwise: It's actually about emphasizing original, condensed, in-the-moment content rather than super-awesome World of Warcraft screengrabs. Spending time randomly clicking around Flickr's video pools is scads more tolerable than randomly browsing YouTube's user clips, which, aside from the occasional bit of brilliance, mostly serve as primers on the pitfalls of poor lighting and sound and having a huge amount of time to talk about popular music feuds.
Writer of things creative and productive Merlin Mann provides examples for, and neatly sums up, how creative constraints can paradoxically free you. In the case of so many Big Serious Projects (or BSPs, for this post's sake), setting up a personal constraint scheme—12 songs in one day, 140 characters or less, 20 minutes of no-distraction coding before lunch every day—is simply a way to trick a big part of your brain into thinking that your BSP isn't actually that big, or serious.

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