Whether you’re writing poetry, a novel or a short story, one of the hardest parts of the writing process is channeling your thoughts into actual, concrete written material. In order to do that, here’s a trick you can use. It’s a little counter intuitive, but bear with me – the trick is to limit yourself. Impose a rule that you have to follow while you’re writing, like avoiding a subject or describing something without using visual descriptions.
Here’s an example. In the following poem, an existential-themed piece, I limited myself to rhyming only with the word ‘existential’. Limiting your options can force you to think out of the box and in original ways, and that’s always a good thing when you’re writing creatively. Here’s the poem-
All my life, in all my thoughts, just one thing burns essential
A question posed, unanswered still, am I consequential?
My mind can’t grasp the scale, perhaps that’s providential
Just one among billions, what is my real potential?
Each and every person believes they can be influential
If they only try to do their best they’ll realize their potential
But do I know if that is true, is thinking that prudential?
Maybe thinking that you matter is just hubris quintessential
So I think of this a lot, and my thoughts are existential
And I’d really wish to know if I’m inconsequential
It’s not that I am asking for a treatment preferential
But is it too much to ask just to think that I am special?
Let us try to break this down, in a subject that’s tangential
Being heard on the internet, where the info is torrential
On the web you’re just a node, just some numbers differential
No one cares what you say, your ID is confidential
Among all of the billions, who on earth are residential
I know perhaps a thousand, so I guess I’m nonessential
I don’t presume for a minute that I’ll be presidential
There are very few of those, and I don’t have the credential
So at last I do not know, whether I am special
And I know I’m not in charge, we are all deferential
But mattering’s not about power, or toward who you’re reverential
Your worth depends on you, if your belief is exponential
So that’s the poem. Now try it out yourself. Decide on a random imposition that you have to work with, and write an essay or short story with it – have fun, and