Why You Should Limit Your Creativity

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Being creative is the best feeling. It’s aligning, inspiring, flowing bliss. But while it’s so lovely, why do we have such a hard time allowing ourselves to be creative? We mentally drown an idea in self-doubt, criticism, and, ultimately, prioritize what’s on Netflix instead, until it fades away. It can be a minefield of being hard on ourselves. Hard when we do it (“that doesn’t look right!”) and hard when we don’t (“Why haven’t I started yet? Ugh!”)

It got me thinking of this quote from one of my favorite quotable people, Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

We don’t think we’re capable of the amazing things we’re truly capable of creating…that is: once we get out of our own way.

That’s one of the greatest self-loving actions we can give ourselves: allowing, not controlling. Trusting, not doubting. To take an idea and let it happen.

It’s hard though to break through years of doing it differently. While some of us might be able to shed the “muscle memory” of stalling, criticizing, and other antitheses of creative self-love, there’s a real challenge for the rest of us. *cough* *cough* Myself included.

It may seem like an oxymoron, but the best way to be cool with seeing the limitlessness of our creativity and acting on it is to limit ourselves.

I realized this more than ever after reading a blog post by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers.

He says:

“You have the freedom to create whatever you want… Unfortunately, this freedom CRIPPLES your creativity. It’s the paradox of choice: When we have too many options, we choose nothing.”

Mind blowing, right?

Putting constraints on creativity is where you can really embrace your power.

Here’s some ways you can do this when you make comics:

 

1. Start small with a mini comic.

Don’t think about filling multiple pages. Start with one page with either a single panel or 4 or 6. Then you can grow from there. But by starting out and getting the flow of storytelling in a limited number of panels, you’ll strengthen your comic making skills and entertain your readers in one easy-to-read wonder!

 

2. Do an idea dump.

If you’re struggling to come up with a story this will help you get out of that “blocked” state. Set the timer on your smartphone for 3 to 5 minutes. Then take a piece of paper and write out every single inkling of an idea you can think of. Don’t judge. Do go crazy. When you’re done, put a star next to any idea that gets you excited. (If there’s not one that stands out in particular, circle individual elements from different ideas.) Then start writing your favorite! You can also set a timer for longer increments if you find yourself getting distracted or struggling to write out the idea. There is no “good” or “bad” amount of time for this. There’s only whatever feels good and manageable for you.

 

3. Think like a low-budget independent film.

In independent filmmaking, their (often) limited budgets set constraints on their filming—especially for locations and cast. So when you make your comic, try setting it in one location that’s simple to draw or have two or three characters and not a lot of crowds or secondary characters. By limiting yourself to a small amount of things you’ll get familiar with them faster, have an easier time drawing them repeatedly, and can get really creative with your storytelling.

Now tell me in the comments below: Which one are you going to try? Or do you have an idea of your own to limit creativity?

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