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Melanii
01-07-2014, 06:40 AM
Hello all, I come with my doubts and thoughts on the subject matter we call writing.

As a young girl my face was always buried in a book. They may have been terrible books (*coughbabysittersclub*), but that's what I loved to do. I was also always coming up with stories, and writing them was so very easy to do.

Now a days, it's hard. I can't seem to write unless I'm being pushed or I force myself. Any idea I think is good, I hate it the next day. I don't feel connected to any of them either. I still have my heart for my old characters, but that's about it.

I also don't read as much. I have a book in my purse that I carry around, but I don't pick it up and randomly read. Maybe it's not good, but I just don't.

I still come up with characters and some stories for them, but it never goes very far.

I also love to draw, and pixel art. People think I'm very good at it and some believe I should sell my work professionally. The thing is, I'm only good at drawing people, some animals, and no background. Also, I do better with sketches, so it's not like I can paint or anything.

I used to want to be a character designer for a video game company (I love gaming a lot), but I realized after awhile I wanted my own ideas included. I thought about collaborating with others, but I would love to have some input rather than the partner just telling me what to do.

I still have that desire to create and have my name on a book. But I can't seem to get there, and I'm not really sure what I really want to do. If I have to force myself to write, then maybe writing is not what I should be doing.

I wish I knew...

Filigree
01-07-2014, 07:06 AM
I suspect all of us have been there, Miss Strawberrii.

I have learned this over the years: anything worth doing is going to be hard work at least part of the time.

A novel may seem an insurmountable goal, but it becomes a little easier when you break it into chapters and pages. That does mean you have to think of the story as a whole (if you plot by the seat of your pants), or have a reasonable outline (if you plan things more). It means accepting that big projects take time - they won't be done in a day or a week.

I love the white-fire moments when I can write 6K in a day, and not have to cut 5K of it the next day. But I try to remember the joyous parts of writing when I'm stuck in a slow point. It helps me get through the inevitable slogs and bottlenecks.

It might be time to step away from writing for a bit, and focus on something that rekindles your creative spark. Find something to read - no matter how silly or derivative (or difficult) that makes you happy to read again. Do things that help validate your creativity, because that can ease into your writing later.

I don't know if this helps, but I have been right where you are emotionally many times. I stopped writing original fiction for ten years, and writing altogether for almost eight years. I focused on my art, and the hiatus helped. I became a better artist, achieved some minor victories there, and got back into writing when I was ready.

I could have pushed myself with workshops or writers groups, but part of me needed to be away from it to recharge.

Good luck to you, and indulge in AW for a jump-start if you need.

Karen Junker
01-07-2014, 07:19 AM
You don't have to be a full-time writer to be a writer. Write when you can. Nice to meet you!

buz
01-07-2014, 07:34 AM
Hello all, I come with my doubts and thoughts on the subject matter we call writing.

As a young girl my face was always buried in a book. They may have been terrible books (*coughbabysittersclub*), but that's what I loved to do. I was also always coming up with stories, and writing them was so very easy to do.

Now a days, it's hard. I can't seem to write unless I'm being pushed or I force myself. Any idea I think is good, I hate it the next day. I don't feel connected to any of them either. I still have my heart for my old characters, but that's about it.

I also don't read as much. I have a book in my purse that I carry around, but I don't pick it up and randomly read. Maybe it's not good, but I just don't.

I still come up with characters and some stories for them, but it never goes very far.

I also love to draw, and pixel art. People think I'm very good at it and some believe I should sell my work professionally. The thing is, I'm only good at drawing people, some animals, and no background. Also, I do better with sketches, so it's not like I can paint or anything.

I used to want to be a character designer for a video game company (I love gaming a lot), but I realized after awhile I wanted my own ideas included. I thought about collaborating with others, but I would love to have some input rather than the partner just telling me what to do.

I still have that desire to create and have my name on a book. But I can't seem to get there, and I'm not really sure what I really want to do. If I have to force myself to write, then maybe writing is not what I should be doing.

I wish I knew...

Most people have a desire to create or add something to the world in some fashion. It can take a lot of energy to find out what your addition should be...:p

For me, writing is one of the few things I've tried that I a) haven't given up on yet and b) feels like something difficult, but within reach, and therefore gives me some hope. Granted, it's only been a bit less than three years I've been doing this in earnest (as in "trying to get the writing to a publishable state" instead of screwing around), but that's still longer than most pursuits I've tried to involve myself in...

I was into art and drawing for a while. I still like to doodle and make things and experiment when the mood strikes me. But the motivation to get to a professional level just isn't there. If it was, I'd have learned Photoshop by now. Or I'd be way better at painting. Or I could draw human figures worth a poop because I'd have spent time working on it--it would have been important enough to me, I guess.

I also rode horses for many years. But I was never at a competition sort of level because I just wasn't in it for that. I enjoyed the funsies bit, but once it became Serious and I had to Improve My Skill, I ceased to enjoy it.

Writing...I struggle a lot with writing. I have to force myself to do it a lot. I'm not really in it for the funsies, because it's only "fun" at the beginning for me and then I still have to finish and revise and edit and submit and barf. But the motivation to improve *is* there. I don't know why *THIS* thing out of all the things keeps driving me forward, but for all I bitch and whinge and hate it and piss and moan, it feels right. At least right now it does, and that's all I can plan for ;) . I find it more deeply satisfying than enjoyable, if that makes sense.

So having to force yourself to write doesn't necessarily mean anything, I don't think. But feeling like you're not getting anything out of it--that's a different thing entirely...

I don't know if any of that applies to you; just throwing some noodles at the wall and seeing if they stick :)

LOTLOF
01-07-2014, 11:41 AM
If I have to force myself to write, then maybe writing is not what I should be doing.



This is the only real issue.

It doesn't matter if you lack time or energy. It doesn't matter if you are unsure about what you want to write. It doesn't matter if you keep having a change of heart about story ideas.

All those things can be worked on and improved. The only thing that you can't work on is your own motivation for writing. Writers don't write because we are forced to, we do it because we have to. There is a burning need to write, to create, it is there all the time regardless of the circumstance. Even in the middle of the worst writer's block it is still there, driving us even when we feel we will never be able to come up with another original sentence.

If you want to write you can, it's just that simple. You may or may not see something in a bookstore with your name on it some day, but that's not really the point. If the desire is there you can write. You are the only person who can stop yourself.

I think everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone has the motivation to actually try and do so. Find the story you want to tell and do so, even if it is hard, even if you can only put a few hundred words together at a time.

So long as you have the desire it will come.

I wish you the best of luck.

_Sian_
01-07-2014, 05:00 PM
Focus on what you enjoy about reading. Cut yourself some slack in the first draft maybe? The moment I tried to do things "the right way", I froze up. If you have to fiddle around with some characters before you decide you like them enough to play with them, go ahead.

I don't think there's anything wrong either with writing for yourself rather than for publication. Muck around a bit, try different lengths and types of fiction, and at the end of the day, if you're not enjoying it, go and find something you do enjoy. Doesn't mean you have to stop writing, doesn't mean in a couple of days/months/years you could come back and find yourself seriously enjoying it again.

Just have a go and see where you end up.

Buffysquirrel
01-07-2014, 05:03 PM
I used to want to be a character designer for a video game company (I love gaming a lot), but I realized after awhile I wanted my own ideas included. I thought about collaborating with others, but I would love to have some input rather than the partner just telling me what to do.

The thing is, to get to the point where you have creative control, you often have to slog through an apprenticeship where you won't have complete control. Not many people start at the top of their profession :).

WeaselFire
01-07-2014, 06:05 PM
If I have to force myself to write, then maybe writing is not what I should be doing.
Probably not. At least not yet.

Jeff

Melanii
01-07-2014, 07:54 PM
If it's something I want, something I can see myself doing with enough spark and motivation, then I'll do it. I will become a writer. I can't picture myself doing anything else.


I love to draw, and maybe there's a way I can incorporate my art into my writing, but I won't worry too much about it.

I suppose I may just be in a creative slump, and it's bothering me big time. D=

Buffysquirrel
01-07-2014, 08:56 PM
Slumps are not uncommon. People have different ways of getting out of them. If you peek into the Outwitting Writers Block thread, you may find some help there :).

lbender
01-07-2014, 09:34 PM
Hello all, I come with my doubts and thoughts on the subject matter we call writing.

As a young girl my face was always buried in a book. They may have been terrible books (*coughbabysittersclub*), but that's what I loved to do. I was also always coming up with stories, and writing them was so very easy to do.

Now a days, it's hard. I can't seem to write unless I'm being pushed or I force myself. Any idea I think is good, I hate it the next day. I don't feel connected to any of them either. I still have my heart for my old characters, but that's about it.

I also don't read as much. I have a book in my purse that I carry around, but I don't pick it up and randomly read. Maybe it's not good, but I just don't.

I still come up with characters and some stories for them, but it never goes very far.

I also love to draw, and pixel art. People think I'm very good at it and some believe I should sell my work professionally. The thing is, I'm only good at drawing people, some animals, and no background. Also, I do better with sketches, so it's not like I can paint or anything.

I used to want to be a character designer for a video game company (I love gaming a lot), but I realized after awhile I wanted my own ideas included. I thought about collaborating with others, but I would love to have some input rather than the partner just telling me what to do.

I still have that desire to create and have my name on a book. But I can't seem to get there, and I'm not really sure what I really want to do. If I have to force myself to write, then maybe writing is not what I should be doing.

I wish I knew...


I agree with most of what's been said, but I'd like to add one thing. It sounds as though you not only find it difficult to write anymore, you also don't read as much.

One possible reason is that you don't want to waste time reading 'terrible' books that you'd enjoy the hell out of. Don't diss Babysitter's Club. That's one of the series that my daughter swept through when she was younger. It helped get her excited about reading. I still read a number of books that I wouldn't describe as exceptionally well written. It doesn't matter. I enjoy them.

Don't read 'good' books unless you want to. Read the enjoyable ones. I usually carry a book with me everywhere. I read a page while on line at the store, or while waiting for the movie to begin. My wife makes fun of me. Again, it doesn't matter.

Find a way to enjoy reading again and maybe you'll enjoy writing again.

Filigree
01-07-2014, 10:40 PM
Seconded what Lbender said: it doesn't matter what you are reading, only that you are reading something enjoyable. And doing something enjoyable, to feed your creativity.

Wikipedia, gourmet food sites, travel magazines, fan fiction, and art research have all broken my own reading slumps at one time or other. I love to write, most days. I live to read: it's a core skill that I couldn't imagine being without or exercising.

Likewise, if I go too many days without doing something creative (even just cooking or sewing) I get twitchy and short-tempered.

Entice yourself back into writing with other stuff, and don't sweat it. You have time.

MookyMcD
01-07-2014, 10:46 PM
I completely stopped pleasure reading when I was in law school (because 18 hours of reading a day is plenty). I'd fallen out of the habit.

Two years after, I got a box set of the original James Bond movies and a complete set of the books as a Christmas gift. I'd never read them, but loved the movies. The books were garbage -- MG-level tripe about an awesome spy doing all sorts of cool shit. I loved them. 20 years later, the kick-start my pleasure reading needed still hasn't worn off.

Maze Runner
01-07-2014, 11:05 PM
If it's something I want, something I can see myself doing with enough spark and motivation, then I'll do it. I will become a writer. I can't picture myself doing anything else.


I love to draw, and maybe there's a way I can incorporate my art into my writing, but I won't worry too much about it.

I suppose I may just be in a creative slump, and it's bothering me big time. D=

Try a graphic novel. Most people can't do both.

Melanii
01-07-2014, 11:15 PM
I guess, when it comes to reading, I'm having a hard time finding things to read that I would enjoy. I don't want to buy, I want to borrow from the library (whether the library has it or not, is another deal...).

I can't even think of my favorite author or favorite book (or book series).

Yes, as a young child I LOVED the Babysitters Club. Would I read them now? Maybe not, but they made me a reader. They really did.

I used to love Laurel K Hamilton (mostly her Merry Gentry series), but because of her genre, I'd feel weird bringing her books into public. She used to be my favorite author, but I just haven't read past book 3 or 4 of one of her series. And not because I don't want to.

I recently read "A Game of Thrones" by George RR Martin and loved it. However, when I borrowed the second book the holidays showed up and I could not finish it, and I eventually had to return it to the library. I can't go back to that library because it's out of the way.

I don't know what interests me in book form - I feel picky. ._.;;

Melanii
01-07-2014, 11:21 PM
Try a graphic novel. Most people can't do both.
I can't, I don't have the skill...

You have to tone, and draw backgrounds and all those different angles. I don't think I'd have what it takes. XD

Maze Runner
01-07-2014, 11:34 PM
I can't, I don't have the skill...

You have to tone, and draw backgrounds and all those different angles. I don't think I'd have what it takes. XD

Oh, I see.

I have the same problem as you do sometimes. It takes me a while to fall in love with an idea. These past few months I've started and scrapped maybe a half a dozen stories, after getting between 5K and 10K words in. I think I'm finally onto something that's grabbed me. I guess I'm not entirely sure that's so bad. You do have to be willing to get in there and slug it out, but myself at least, I like to know I'm fighting the right battle.

DancingMaenid
01-08-2014, 01:57 AM
I wonder if you're putting pressure on yourself to write and read things that you think are "good." I think sometimes people feel like they have to write the Great American Novel, and like they should be reading great literature. I went through a phase like that when I was in my late teens. Being well-read is good, and I definitely recommend exposing yourself to different things, but there's a lot to be said for having fun. There's nothing wrong with enjoying things like Babysitter's Club books or Laurell K. Hamilton's novels. Are they going to be great literary classics? Probably not. But not all books have to be. Also, I doubt many people will judge your reading taste much.

Jamesaritchie
01-08-2014, 02:32 AM
I can't, I don't have the skill...

You have to tone, and draw backgrounds and all those different angles. I don't think I'd have what it takes. XD

Can you learn to have what it takes? Art was my first love, and we were told over and over that sketching is the heart of all art. If you can sketch well, you can learn to do anything else well. If you can't sketch well, you probably aren't cut out for art.

Maybe art school is your best choice?

chompers
01-08-2014, 05:25 AM
agreed about the graphic novel. if you've got the passion, you can learn it

Melanii
01-08-2014, 06:20 AM
I wonder if you're putting pressure on yourself to write and read things that you think are "good."

You're probably right. I am indeed my worst critic. Every time I begin writing something, I immediately think the writing sucks and delete the document. Sometimes I keep them around (I have some in a folder on my desktop somewhere).

I wonder, if certain ideas are always stuck in my head, then does that mean I should do something about them?

*tilts head*


Can you learn to have what it takes? Art was my first love, and we were told over and over that sketching is the heart of all art. If you can sketch well, you can learn to do anything else well. If you can't sketch well, you probably aren't cut out for art.

Maybe art school is your best choice

I might be able to... I've never tried before - probably because I was never THAT passionate about art. I love drawing and designing my characters, but I've never thought of myself as making graphic novels. Especially since my style changes like the time. :P

I couldn't do art school, though. Last time I tried, I had to quit due to money issues...


agreed about the graphic novel. if you've got the passion, you can learn it

I'm not sure I have the passion for it. When I go to libraries or bookstores I always look for books to read, not graphic novels, lols.

((I do read SOME webcomics though))

Melanii
01-19-2014, 11:19 PM
So... I'm back. Sorry for the bumpage.

I don't know, I came up with an idea that seemed to be cool to me, and many friends. At first I was pumped, like I couldn't get it out of my system.

It's only been a few days, but now I'm almost on the edge of throwing it aside. I keep wanting to curl up in a ball and just cry, proclaiming how I can never live up to my dream of being an author.

I'll think of this story, then tons of others just flow into my head at once. Ones from my past, ones I should be working on with friends that I miss, new ideas that probably even aren't as good - or are just as good...

I write down all my ideas I possibly can in Evernote, but they're still there.

I'm really bothered by all of this. I'm considering the fact that if I'm 25, almost 26, and I still can't be excited about my ideas - then this can't be for me.

I may have wanted to write since I was a young girl, but what good is a writer who doesn't write?

buz
01-19-2014, 11:46 PM
So... I'm back. Sorry for the bumpage.

I don't know, I came up with an idea that seemed to be cool to me, and many friends. At first I was pumped, like I couldn't get it out of my system.

It's only been a few days, but now I'm almost on the edge of throwing it aside. I keep wanting to curl up in a ball and just cry, proclaiming how I can never live up to my dream of being an author.

I'll think of this story, then tons of others just flow into my head at once. Ones from my past, ones I should be working on with friends that I miss, new ideas that probably even aren't as good - or are just as good...

I write down all my ideas I possibly can in Evernote, but they're still there.

I'm really bothered by all of this. I'm considering the fact that if I'm 25, almost 26, and I still can't be excited about my ideas - then this can't be for me.

I may have wanted to write since I was a young girl, but what good is a writer who doesn't write?

So is it a focus problem, then? Are you kinda scattered about other things, too?

The reason I finished a novel in the first place was mostly just to prove to myself that I could finish *something.* I've been scattered a lot, throughout most of my life--still am--and writing was one of those things I was scattered about until I exploded with frustration and went BUH OKAY I'M FINISHING THIS DAMN THING BECAUSE IF I CAN'T FINISH ANYTHING THEN WHAT THE FUCK...

And only *then* did I really take it seriously and stick with it and keep working at it. Because it became more of a possibility, I guess.

Now, I'm not you, of course, and I'm only pulling from my own brains here which may not apply to you at all, but...have you finished anything yet?

Melanii
01-19-2014, 11:48 PM
Nope, never. I would come very close sometimes, but then it gets dropped or lost in time. 'Tis sad, I know. :(

buz
01-19-2014, 11:51 PM
Nope, never. I would come very close sometimes, but then it gets dropped or lost in time. 'Tis sad, I know. :(

Then my advice, for all the total nothing it's worth, is to make yourself finish something. :)

You may know at that point whether it's worth it or not. If you thoroughly hate the experience, maybe you can let go of the idea that you need to be a writer. If you find it worthwhile in some way or another, then you'll know you have the ability to see a project through and you can do this after all. :)

Again, though, just extrapolating from myself, which may or may not apply to you ;)

Maze Runner
01-20-2014, 04:25 AM
Just want to say that some of the most talented people I've ever known, in whatever field, are the most critical of their own work. I think whatever we do, if we're conscientious we push ourselves to our limitations. The more talented you are the further your limitations will take you and the better the work. I think the fact that you are so unsatisfied with your work is a good thing. It could very well mean that you're very talented and therefore have very high standards. I would encourage you to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and see your work through. No one knows where something will take them at the onset. But one thing's for sure, if you remain unwilling to settle for less than you're capable of the work will be good in your eyes. It really is the only thing you can control. I sure wish you the best. You seem to care.

Russell Secord
01-20-2014, 05:03 AM
If you are a writer, you will write. It's that simple.

I've taken long breaks, but I've always come back. I've delved into hobbies, but they never had the same lure as writing. It's almost a spiritual thing. Nothing makes me feel the same way as an idea that bubbles up from the goo in my head, dances with me for a while, forces itself onto paper, and transforms itself into something almost real that I can share with others.

It may take some time, but I sense that you will have to admit your calling as a writer. You may do other things as a vocation, you may stop writing for months or years, but if you are a true writer, you never give it up entirely.

lbender
01-20-2014, 05:16 AM
So... I'm back. Sorry for the bumpage.

I don't know, I came up with an idea that seemed to be cool to me, and many friends. At first I was pumped, like I couldn't get it out of my system.

It's only been a few days, but now I'm almost on the edge of throwing it aside. I keep wanting to curl up in a ball and just cry, proclaiming how I can never live up to my dream of being an author.

I'll think of this story, then tons of others just flow into my head at once. Ones from my past, ones I should be working on with friends that I miss, new ideas that probably even aren't as good - or are just as good...

I write down all my ideas I possibly can in Evernote, but they're still there.

I'm really bothered by all of this. I'm considering the fact that if I'm 25, almost 26, and I still can't be excited about my ideas - then this can't be for me.

I may have wanted to write since I was a young girl, but what good is a writer who doesn't write?

Not true. You still have quite a ways to go. I wrote a lot in school, then did other things for a while. Finished my first novel in my fifties - second one a couple years after. Bit early to give up now.

Filigree
01-20-2014, 05:30 AM
Pick something and finish it, even if it's a very short piece. That might whet your interest and confidence. Once you've seen you can finish one story, writing others can become easier.

Ellielle
01-21-2014, 06:02 AM
I wonder if you're too hung up on having to like your writing/ideas all the time? I mean, obviously the lack of love makes it much harder to continue, but just because you're no longer in love with your idea doesn't necessarily mean it's time to stop.

For me personally, I love my idea for the first 20k of the first draft or so. Then I hate it. Occasionally, the love will come back to me at times in revision, but it always disappears again, and I spend most of my writing/revising time hating my idea. I don't write because I'm always excited by my ideas. I write because--I don't know. I like some aspect of it, obviously, but I think it's more that I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't. Plus, the few times I actually like whatever I'm writing are so exhilarating, I continue to write in search of more of those. The rest of the time, it's all just discipline-- forcing myself to write even though I'm pretty sure it's garbage.

So, I do believe writers sometimes force themselves to write. It doesn't always mean they shouldn't write.

I agree with those who are suggesting you finish something just for the sake of finishing.

Filigree
01-21-2014, 09:40 AM
I certainly don't like everything I do while I'm working on it. I write. I also paint, embroider, sew, make jewelry, and do bookbinding, among other creative things. Without fail, partway through every single big project I've worked on in the last twenty years, I will hate that project almost more than anything else in my life.

I've learned to stop and assess the piece. Do I hate it because it has a fatal flaw that my ego isn't willing to notice? Am I bored with it? Is it so big I'm letting myself get intimidated by the scope of it? Once I answer those questions, I know how to proceed. I'll fix the problem or rip the piece apart and start over. If I'm bored I'll work on something else. I break large sections of work into smaller ones. Generally, I try to buckle down and finish the piece.

Oddly enough, the pieces I hate most midway through are often the ones I love best, when they are finished.

Raivnor
01-21-2014, 10:13 AM
I won't tell you what to do or what not to do. If you are feeling that you don't want to write, don't write. It is up to each of us to decide whether we want to write or not. That's the great beauty of it: you're not really beholden to anyone but yourself. If, however, you feel like it is something you're called to, I would offer the following pieces of advice/encouragement that I needed someone to tell me before I finally finished writing a novel.

1) It is all about methodology - Are you separating your ideas into plots? Your plots into acts? Your acts into scenes? Are you writing character summaries? Are you blocking out your chapters before you try to write them? It may seem like all this stuff is for people who aren't as creative/artsy/awesome as me, but in reality good organization is usually what makes the difference for me continuing a project when I get to that rough spot where I'm not sure if I want to go on.

2) Play to your strengths - You mentioned that you like sketching characters, but not making entire graphic novel-esque panels. Why not sketch the characters in an interaction you like? Make it something high interest, something you'll look forward to writing. I find that having that one thing I can't wait to write propels me and adds excitement to scenes I may have otherwise been less enthused about. It can be the same with you and drawing. You can even include it in the beginning of your chapter, or include it within the margins of your pages. If books like 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' show anything, it's that there's a lot of variation in how you include art with your story.

3) Find Opportunities and Partners. The thing that marked the tipping point for me: Dungeons and Dragons. I started DM'ing a little game. It wasn't anything awesome, but it let me practice storytelling and think a plot all the way through to the end. It is astounding how much having an opportunity to finish a story in a low-pressure environment will help you. It also introduced me to several different people who were interested enough in me to critique my work positively. Their encouragement and positive criticism was incredibly affirming and helped motivate me to get to the end.

I wish you nothing but the best, and, for what it's worth, I hope you do find your drive to write again.

GeekTells
01-21-2014, 10:43 AM
In writing, published authors tend to be those who stuck with it until they succeeded.

This is true in most professions not ruled by nepotism or cronyism.

If you want it, work for it.

Mark W.
01-21-2014, 02:44 PM
You sound like a carbon copy of myself. I read a lot in my youth, was inspired to write a lot in my youth, but now find it hard to formulate ideas and finish stories. I think it is one of two possibilities:

1) Real life has crept into your writing life. When people are young, they tend to have less worries. As they age, pressures increase from family, financial, and social sources. The trick is finding a release valve for these pressures to allow your creative energies to flow. For me, I read Japanese manga and watch anime and listen to music. After I do that, I feel my mind clear and I can write for a time afterwards.

2) I noticed that you said that Baby Sitters Club and Linda Hamilton books used to spark your interest. Yet your WIPs are High Fantasy. Could it be you are trying to write in the wrong genre? Have you considered changing? If you are forcing your brain to write in a genre it is not geared for at the moment (not hard set by any means) then it can stifle creativity.