Does Structure Kill Creativity?

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Structure or no structure? In a craft dependent on creativity, does structure inhibit or encourage innovation?

This question doesn’t have one simple answer. When it comes to writing structure and creativity, there are two sides to this debate:

How Structure Kills Creativity

Structure takes away new opportunities

How will you know if you write better in public or by hand if you never try? New solutions to your problems won’t be discovered if you adhere to the same structure. Sometimes writer’s block can be kicked simply by not doing the same old, same old again and again.

Structure limits right-brain activity

Structure and analytical thinking comes from your left brain. When there’s too much emphasis on structure, it’s hard to write with both sides of your brain.

Structure can’t measure a writer’s full potential

If you measure a fish only by its ability to climb a tree, you’d never know its great swimming talent. Structure doesn’t take all skills and talents of a writer into account when only certain skills and talents are measured.

Why Creativity Needs Structure

Structure is the platform for creativity

There are 26 letters in the alphabet and 12 notes in a musical scale, yet there are infinite ways to create a story and a song. Writing is like a science experiment: structure is the control, creativity is the variable.

Creative freedom can be limiting

If the world is your oyster, you may not know what to write. Having structure makes writing a game: these are the rules, this is the goal, how will you get there? 

Structure lead to more writing

There’s structure in the actual writing process too. You’re more likely to actually write without distractions when you have a routine in place. Your mind will be ready to write if you have a pattern of always going to your personal writing workspace or your favorite café or library to write.

What do you think? Does structure kill creativity? Or does creativity need structure? Share your thoughts on this debate below.


  1. I can’t speak for others, but I feel like I’ve gotten better as a writer over the years by being less structured. My nature is to have a plan, but it turns out my plans tend toward the conventional.

    1. I completely understand. Sometimes when there’s too much focus on the structure, it’s hard to tap into your creativity–the reason why you thought you wanted the structure in the first place!

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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