Freedom in Constraint

It seems to me that we have more creative freedom when we are constrained, than when we can do as we please.  This may seem to be a contradictory statement, but I believe it to be true.  To illustrate this belief, I will look at two types of constraint, time and structural, to show that we actually can have more creative freedom when constrained.

Time, nobody seems to have enough time these days.  In the average family home both parents work and have to juggle looking after the children.  This situation is made worse with employer’s demands for longer hours and the difficulty of commuting as the traffic gets heavier and heavier.  It may therefore seem strange to say that we may have more freedom if our available time is constrained.

I personally have a reasonable amount of ‘personal’ time, however I never seem to sit down and write, to sketch, to read, to study Spanish or to take photos, all the things I am interested in but don’t do enough of.  I believe that as I have plenty of time to do these things, I put them off until later and then never do them.  The only way I do get around to them is when I get up and get on with them straight away, when I set myself a period say from seven to nine in the morning.  So despite having sufficient time, I have to have constraints to get things done.  If we know we only have half an hour to complete something we get it done, if we have all day it never happens!

Structural constraints can take many forms, for example, literature and in particular poetry.  It is well known that the restrictive structure of the sonnet provides freedom for the poet, why?  Because the poet does not have to decide what structure to use, that decision has been made, the poet is free to compose within the structure.  The law is another structural constraint, yes it constrains us all, but without it we could never leave our houses knowing they would be ours when we returned.  It protects our assets and thus gives us the freedom to do other things.

To conclude, more money, time and less structural constraints would appear to give too much choice and not only do we not know which way to turn, we become anxious and less, not more creative.  So although we resist constraints, we are often freer with them and if we want to be creatively productive, perhaps self imposed constraints would help us.  With that in mind I went out into the snow with only a 50mm lens to see what I could do.

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