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Quick! I need a cheap trick! I'm running out of writing ideas!

Quick! I need a cheap trick! I'm running out of writing ideas!

As if... :P

Jorge Romero's photo
Jorge Romero
·Mar 14, 2022·

4 min read

I don't want to lose my "writing every day" streak.

I am writing a BIG post about creativity (please, do be excited about it, please). As well as being working on my Hackathon project. So I don't have anything to write about today.

With just a couple of hours to go, I was thinking of making an "update on what I am doing". But then I thought "man, that's such a cheap tactic!".

Cheap tactic. To write something...

But I constrain myself to only write stuff that I think you may find valuable...

Thus. I came up with this.

A cheap trick to write something + Things I think you will find valuable => A tutorial for a cheap trick for coming up with ideas.

The rest is me filling constraints. Which is a great way to foster creativity! Let's see what I mean.

Here's a cheap trick for coming up with writing ideas:

Reframe how you think about "coming up with ideas".

You always have something in your head. I am pretty sure about this. There's some interesting neuroscience behind it. That involves a heated concept of the default mode network of the brain. The science is still pretty new and controversial. But very promising. We can discuss it at a later time if you want!

And I am willing to bet. You can always succeed it you attempt to -purposefully- find a creative connection between what's in your head right now and some "requirements". Which embody what you know your audience may find valuable.

This time it's some solid psychology behind this claim. Believe it or not. People are consistently more creative when told to be creative.

Also, problems with constraints to satisfy are great for innovation. They foster creative solutions.

So let's put two and two together. You always have a thought \(X\). And you always have the requirements \(Y\). Which is the mental model you have about what your readers may find valuable. Why would you write, expecting to be read, if you didn't?

You now have a constrain satisfaction problem to solve.

"Find a way to fit idea \(X\) to requirements \(Y\). Be creative!"

But you always have \(X\). And by now, you should have a picture of \(Y\).

And you also know that asking yourself to be creative, on purpose, actually works.

So you always have a constrain satisfaction problem. That you know forces you to be creative!!! And that you know always works.

Reeeeaally?

I recently wrote a poem-tautogram-thing called "All iterations". With the constrain that I would write tautograms for each letter of the alphabet. One for each line. I wanted to write about the role of iteration in creativity (please check it out, I'm really proud of it :D)

So lets up the stakes. I will write a small tautogram for each letter of the MERN stack. In tomorrow's post. I'll make it so each of them contains a small useful tip.

Look! I came up with another idea. And framed as a problem with constrains. Also, I want to be creative.

:P

Epilogue.

Psychology is a beautiful and perversely counter-intuitive science. Common sense more often than not fails, spectacularly, to grasp the workings of the mind. I am always skeptical about any article that claims to be "psychology" on the internet. And you should too.

Thus, the following disclaimer.

Please, be mindful. I can only claim that this sketch is but a hypothesis. At best.

It is a trick, that works wonders for me. And I shared because I feel pretty confident it can work for you.

But actual science requires much, much more, before we can make any claims with confidence. Psychology is hard. And good psychology is a thing of wonder.

So, take it for what it's worth. A heuristic. A rule-of-thumb. Based on whatever scientific experience I have. Which I hope you find useful. If you try it out please let me know!

See you tomorrow!

...

Wait!

You know me. I cannot just let you go without some good-ol book recommendations!

Here you go. Patricia Stokes' Creativity from Constrains: The Psychology of Breakthrough

:3


P.S. It's 9:23 where I live. I barely made it XD

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