set phaser to awesome

Have you ever seen those sets of word magnets for your refrigerator? Magnetic Poetry Kit is one of the popular (and I believe the first) brands. As you might imagine, they’re a lot of fun and provide some great creative opportunities. I own two different themed sets: geeky and big dictionary words.

My wife and I have had a some fun playing around with them, but the best results came from our guests over the years. Here are some of my favorites:


as sexy as could be
to understand a Kafkaesque fire cloud
open minds by hacking them off
I am your mellifluous pedagog of galactic temerity
the nefarious alien was more verbose than I liked
this is our observation, you are a missive humanoid
ed is always cheating
I like Herculean nachos
set phaser to awesome


I see two factors contributing to what makes these so great: limited selection and a random assortment. We’ll save the second for another day (maybe a rainy one, but it doesn’t have to be).

When you’re limited to just a few words (some of which, you may not even understand), the results are way more interesting then when you can choose any (and only) word(s) from your vocabulary. I’ve heard Dr. Seuss wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” because of a bet from his publisher. The bet was he couldn’t write a children’s book with 50 or less distinct words. The clever doctor succeeded of course and, though the publisher didn’t pay up, it sounds like things turned out pretty well for ol’ Seuss.

Takeaway: there’s a valuable lesson about limitations here and how they promote creative thought.


Hey Creatives, have you ever been required to do or write something under strict limitations, what were the results, did the limitations help or hinder your creativity? Let us know in the comments below.

A.P. Lambert

A. P. Lambert is an author and creative professional who helps other creative entrepreneurs achieve more and find purpose in their work.