The creative process requires an author to balance between the parameters that give their work definition, and the freedom that gives their work spirit. As young authors, we sometimes find ourselves sticking too closely to our comfort zone, or spiraling wildly out of it–and neither approach produces our best work.

 Recently, I’ve caught myself sticking to a constant form, regardless of what best suits a piece. To combat this, I made up an exercise in which I force myself to follow a set form that differs from my norm. I do my best to express what I want to within the form I’m uncomfortable with. When I’ve gotten as far as I can with that, I start playing around with that structure, shifting it around until it says what I want it to.            

I’ve also found myself shying away from the topics that are most meaningful to me, but it’s difficult to force myself to write about things I’m so afraid of mistreating, and I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy. I’m trying to write about topics tangential to these, slowly working my way to those tender spots. 

So, a question to think about: in what ways do you restrict your own work? What methods have you tried to break out of those habits?