How Creativity Comes from Constraints
Jumpstart your writing when you can't find the words
On top of my refrigerator I keep a canister that used to contain protein powder. It now contains my collection of Magnetic Poetry Kit® words. My collection goes back two decades now. I started with the Original set, then I added two more but I don’t remember which ones. I once tried to sort them by dirty and new, as you’ll see, the background is grayer on some than the others. Well-worn, well-loved words.
This plastic canister of possible poetry becomes fodder for my mornings while waiting for water to boil. I stand there, wondering what words will jump out at me? What would my inner poet wish to express today? What secret message awaits, and from whom?
When I don’t have the words for writing, when I can’t think of something to say,
I turn to my fridge, not for food per se (it’s too often lacking, for lack of inspiration)
but for my Magnetic Poetry, raw ingredients, soul food, I say.
My rules of engagement are this:
Set your intention to “empty & open.”
Pick without looking
one at a time. Keep both
if two stick together.
Post on fridge, let meaning
arise. Be surprised.
Add s, ing, er or ly
as needed, or the
but let your mind fill in
Forget punctuation. Add space.
If your fridge is stainless steel
use a pizza pan.
Constrained by the collection
already there, creativity
still finds a way.
Poems you’d have no way
of devising appear.
Revising is optional.
Rearrange slightly, but
trust the soul’s sequence.
What does your poem say?
What words do you magnetize
and find meaning within?
What word(s) can you not
If you don’t have your own set of Magnetic Poetry, you can play online. It works on your phone, but is easier with big screen and a mouse. Expect errors to slow you down and call it Divine Mischief.
"Magnetic Poetry Kit" is the registered trademark of Magnetic Poetry, Inc. I just happen to be a big fan. I just discovered they also have tins of words based on your Zodiac sign or random wonderful collections like Bliss and Encouragement.
What collection of words would you create if you could?
Enjoy! And Happy February on 2/2/22 today.