Creative Restraints – By @DJayDancer1

By Daniel Johnson


Creative Restraints 


Following Caroline’s writing workshop I wanted to use this scab to practice doing creative writing with restraints. Enjoy.


Exercise 1 – No full stops 

Inspiration/Reference –  Sand valley


It ascends it’s lifted.


Seeping between my toes, never stopping always flows, in and out where will it go, I don’t know.


It falls, it descends.


Sitting content with no need to be carried, why move when this spot is perfect-ly serene, picturesque, delightful-ly warmed by the edge of his fellow grain of sand.




Exercise 2 – Every sentence begins with I wanted

Inspiration/Reference – Your late teens


I wanted to do something with my life.

I wanted to get out of the house.

I wanted to wake up.

I wanted to sip and swirl freedom around the tongue.

I wanted to stay independent. 

I wanted to be stronger. 

I wanted the laughter to stop.

I wanted them to dine on their words. 

I wanted to move mountains.

I wanted to lift myself up.

I wanted to escape loneliness.

I wanted to sleep.

I wanted to play.

I wanted to rave.

I wanted to walk. 

I wanted to eat.

I wanted to sleep.

I wanted to kiss.

I wanted to spoon. 

I wanted to say come back. 

I wanted it again.

I wanted to shout. 

I wanted to quit.

I wanted to explore. 

I wanted to go back to who I really was.

I wanted some space to think.

I wanted to know who I really was.

I needed to figure out who that was.

I wanted nothing more.


Exercise 3 – Snowball (Add one letter per line) 

Inspiration/Reference – Mary Sibande Exhibition








Skulls, it

Hides fowl 



Four – Is your constraint: 

Four-word sentences only. 


And your visual Inspiration: 

Bowl of fruit loops.


Never had fruit loops. 


They look great though. 


Hmm, or does it.


Maybe it’s too sweet. 


Magical, Deceptive, alluring, deadly.


Like mermaids calling sailors.


Sugar can be powerful.


The chemical pop, fizz.


The surge of energy. 


The kind that hurts. 


Assaulting worn, tired teeth.


It can feel overwhelming. 


Exercise 5 – A story using 9 words and conjunctions 

Inspiration/Reference – Inception soundtrack – Time 














Parks constantly sweat. 


And dogs smile. 


Slowly watch the watcher. 


Dark green, green sweat. 








Don’t smile slow.


Because dark smiles are slow to watch. 


Exercise 6 – Five 40 words paragraphs. Each paragraph omits one vowel. Inspiration/Reference – Varies


No A’s

Visual inspiration: Image of Bandaged knee


One knee violated by misfortune. You could feel slighted by destiny if you’re of religious standing. Seriously stressed but only lightly. Without feeling life could be cold. Now surrounded, the blood is blocked, like wine falling south suspended by christ. 


No E’s

Visual inspiration: Orange 


Bright, bold, blinding. It has no front. No, nothing to stash. 


Would you bring this colour into your room? 


Boring you’d think? 


I wouldn’t say so. 


Tons of thrills. Just chill and think.


Runaway with the blinding, bright, bold canvas.


No I’s

Visual inspiration: CD cover of a big kid.


When steps are taken the earth shakes. Eyes travel toward the stage, Luther’s presence slows hatred to a halt. Power scrambles. He draws a breath to address the world. He starts with I have a… and the rest is prevalent. 


No O’s

Visual inspiration: N/A


Bar, music, drink, gaze, music, beautiful, beer, admire, smile, thirst, music, bravery, shuffle, bump, hey, dance, chat, leave, fuck, leave. 


Betrayal, caught, texts, multiple, days, weeks, heart, stretched, twisting, writhing, split,  lawyers, kids, please, frustration, scars, exhausted, heal, release, peace. 


No U’s

Inspiration: Ambient techno – High rise – Hope for peace


Swinging, swaying, staring into space. Trying to feel the smoky light. There is nothing else, no one else. I am alone and I am everyone. I am the beat, the floor, the projector and the dark space that fills them.


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