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As a new member of a fiction writing group I was baffled at all the restrictions they put on the short story format. It wasn’t just a short story but each piece of writing had to focus mainly on one protagonist who changes in some way, it had to start in the middle, no long back story and so on. Many people, me included, complained that this would restrict our creativity and produce very similar stories. It didn’t. The leaders were experienced enough to know that freedom does not come from being allowed to do whatever you want because that led people to repeat the same thing over and over again. By introducing different restrictions each month you had to experiment and dare to do things you normally wouldn’t do. You were forced to grow in a way that you are not when everything is always the way you want it to be. Freedom is important but sometimes we have to voluntarily limit it to get the results we want.