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Disrupt Yourself Podcast with Whitney Johnson

Aug 7, 2018

In today's episode, we will be discussing just one of the seven points of personal disruption: embracing constraints. All too often we find ourselves saying, "If only I had more time, more money, more health, expertise. If only Oprah were my fairy godmother, I could get something done!" And yet, when we take a moment to examine the role constraints play in the creative process and in our lives, we frequently find that they aren't a check on absolute freedom, but a tool of creation.

With me to discuss this topic today is Orson Scott Card, an American novelist who has authored 70 books (and counting), best known for his work in science fiction. One might think that such a prolific author has very little to worry about in the way of constraints, but Orson Scott Card disagrees.

“My favorite genre is romantic comedy or satiric comedy. But I never get to write that because, I have to make a certain income level, and the market for my work is generally within the science fiction and fantasy genre. When I step out of that genre, the sales are much lower. So, publishers are eager for books from me in-genre, and not so eager for books out of genre.”

Rather than revolt against this constraint, Scott embraces it, finding new ways to enjoy the genre that has earned him success by delving deep into characters he finds fascinating. He’s also found that understanding and adhering to rules within his books—whether it be magic or science—helps him identify what can’t or shouldn’t happen, and it is there that the most interesting stories are developed. 

Links and Show Notes at