The beauty of structure

The Eiffel Tower was to have been dismantled in the early 1900s. 

Built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, it was only supposed to be up for twenty years. 

But the iconic tower outlasted its original purpose to become interwoven with Parisian life: a tourist drawcard and spectacular venue as well as home to broadcast transmission towers. 

A thing of beauty and utility as envisaged by Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and constructed it. 

The first principle of architectural beauty is that the essential lines of a construction be determined by a perfect appropriateness to its use. Gustave Eiffel, Le Temps newspaper, 1887

Beauty and utility delivered within a structure that fits the purpose. 

Writing is no different. 

Structure provides a shape for our work; something to hang our ideas and insights on, a place for us to be curious and experimental.

A structure is not a template. Structure allows creative freedom. Templates are the paths already trodden by others. 

Following a template would not have enabled Gustave Eiffel and his team to design something so bold and so original as the Eiffel Tower. Following the path of others would not have resulted in reaching up to the stars in such an enduring way.

A template is not liberté.

Look for your structure, for the shape that suits you best. Try on different structures and shapes until you find the one that lets you breathe and move and venture forth on your own original path.

There you will find liberté.

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