The Daily Post

I suffer from menu anxiety (among many other minor neuroses). Although an ice cream shop or a restaurant may offer dozens of appealing options, I’ll more often than not order something familiar (some variety of chocolate ice cream, some mixed enchilada platter) because doing so spares me the anxiety of choosing.

Sometimes we confront a similar anxiety in writing. Questions such as the following are common:

  • What should I write about?
  • What tone or style should I adopt?
  • What genre should I write in?
  • What should my piece’s point-of-view be?

If you find yourself having trouble actually putting words on the page because you’re neck-deep in questions like these, it can sometimes be oddly freeing to impose constraint on yourself.

For example, if a poet chooses to write in a rhyming poetic form, he’s automatically limiting the set of words he can use, so that while he is in one way…

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