While a creative block usually comes because we simply can’t come up with any new ideas, it can also come from having too many.
The blank page is scary, not only because of what’s not there, but because of all the potential it holds.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the work, follow the Dr. Seuss technique.
Before writing Green Eggs and Ham, his beloved children’s book that has sold 200 million copies around the world, Theo Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s real name), had accepted a bet from his publisher, Bennett Cerf. There was only $50 on the line, but Cerf said Geisel couldn’t write an entertaining children’s book using only 50 different words.
We all know what happened. But why?
There’s a few reasons the constraint actually made Seuss more creative:
It forced him to use novel solutions.
If you’re a photographer and don’t have a lighting setup, you think up new ways to get the shot you want.
He wasn’t distracted by options.
When your options are limited, you don’t fall victim to choice paralysis and can focus on getting things done.
It made him think practically.
When your canvas or toolkit changes, you have to rethink what you can actually do. This changes the conversation from “What should I do?” to “What can I do with what I have?”