The presentation I attended was with one presenter, Lauren. She first explained how her topic was about writing restrictions. She then picked two volunteers in the audience. First, she gave the two volunteers the job of writing a few lines of a poem with no subject, just anything they could think of. Her next exercise was to right a poem, but with specific lines. Her reasoning behind the exercise was to prove to her audience how working with restrictions could be easier than working without restrictions. She lectured on how restrictions help writing and help the mind become centered and focused.
Lauren then presented a film that she created for the on-campus film competition. The short film that she had to create had many restrictions that she had to comply with. One of the restrictions was that it had to be a film that was silent, which she felt was a really good restriction. It worked in her favor because in the amount of time she had to produce the film, there would not have been enough time to write a whole script. Another restriction was that the music provided in the film could not be outside music. This also presented to be in her advantage. She actually know a composer she was friends with and he helped her with the music for the film. Considering she only had a week to make the whole film, the restrictions worked in her advantage. For Lauren, restrictions were helpful for her and allowed her a focused mindset for her creative project.
I actually had to a 12- to 15-page research paper for one of my classes this semester. The term paper topic was completely up to me, which really scared me. I had no idea where to begin or how I would come up with a topic. Anything is a very broad request for a term paper. Of course there was the restriction of staying inside the topic of spirituality. I had to give myself many more restrictions to actually figure out the my topic, which at the time I had no idea I was doing. I realized after Laruen’s presentation that I was giving myself restrictions to help me come up with ideas.
During my tutoring sessions, I have used this to show students how to work with the restrictions that have been given to them. For example, one of my students was having a hard time figuring out how to find the questions. In the prompt that was given to him, there was a small note on what the professor was looking for. I explained to him to use both the question and what the professor is asking of him to look for quotes. It was much easier for him to do that then just to simply look at the question and look for a quote.
(sorry i didn’t post this early, i realized i saved the draft and never published it!)