Monday, June 18, 2012

Are limits helpful to creativity?

Do you have an empty room in your house? Do you have an empty drawer in your desk or file cabinet? Do you have empty hours in a day? Probably not. Human beings tend to fill space and time, and writers, especially, are good at it.

Today I’m going to ignore those messy drawers and stacks of books and papers and focus on time, and how to maximize your productivity in the time you have. Two keys to productivity are prioritizing your tasks and setting your goals. Deadlines help writers by forcing them to focus on one task, and complete it. Is it ever perfect? Probably not. But it’s finished. Check, please.
For me, a project takes as long as I have. If I have 30 minutes to work on Project X, then it takes me 30 minutes to complete it. If I have three hours to complete Project X, then I will finish it in three hours. (By the way, this theory holds true for household chores.)

I’ve read that creative people may need to work in short bursts to maximize their efficiency. That may mean setting aside only a few minutes to an hour each day to work on long- or short-term goals, and doing the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. This strategy accomplishes two objectives: 1) It creates a habit, and 2) helps make the most of the time you have.
How about you? Do deadlines and short bursts of creativity work for you?

Write soon,


  1. Deadlines, definitely, because I'm a procrastinator. It's only the submission deadline, it's also the "deadline" of a critique meeting looming over me.

  2. Deadlines do light a fire under me and I've been told I work well under pressure.