Image by drp via Flickr
The title of this post is from an article in the Wall Street Journal written by Jonah Lehrer. He quotes the writer, G.K. Chesterton, “Art consists in limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.”
What Chesterton meant, of course, was how important limits and restraints are to the creative process. Absolute creative freedom doesn’t, counter-intuitively, give you the best creative results.
Lehrer talks about poetry as being perhaps the best example of the benefit of creative constraints. Poetry obviously needn’t follow any rules of grammar, syntax, punctuation or language. And yet the majority of poets write in specific forms such as sonnets and haikus. Most symphonies have four movements. Most popular songs have choruses and refrains. The use of “rules” allows people to think in a more creative fashion.
So while you might think that a creative strategy is a creative straightjacket, you would be wrong. The strategy is your goal, your roadmap; it focuses your efforts. It gives you something to judge your ideas with so you can tell if you have arrived at your creative destination. Strategy is not an obstacle, it is a necessity and an advantage.
Now, of course, the wrong strategy can lead you to lousy results. But that’s for a different post.
Got the idea?