For a long time, I’ve been running my own businesses. A few years back, I was running a small software house where I had to also pitch creative new ideas.
Coming up with an idea from scratch can be challenging. Whether it’s comimg up with an idea for a game, a subject for an essay or a post, starting from a clean canvas is just HARD. Even choosing what food to order can be daunting.
So I developed ways to help myself. It all boils down to narrowing my options from the infinite to a finite number of choices. There are a couple of ways I apply that limitation.
The first is by starting simple. I write a draft. Any draft. If I can, I sometimes ask someone else to write that draft for me. It’s a diamond in the rough. It’s a seed. I then start chiselling at it. Slowly but surely, a polished product emerges.
The other is to introduce arbitrary constraints. I choose a rule at random and apply it to the task at hand. For example, I’d decide the game has to be a racing game. Or the article has to have animal analogies. The food I order has to be Italian.
Constraints help me focus. No longer do I have to worry about the What. I can focus on the How. For me, that’s easier to cope with.
I guess there’s a reason they say scarcity drives innovation. On the other hand, they also say the more the merrier. So what do they know!