The weather summary for today – It rained. It stopped raining. It rained. It stopped raining. It rained . . .
Our brains like to sift things into easy categories.
It makes sense. It is like a type of short hand.
Have you tried to write down notes on a webinar, zoom meeting, or at a live event?
It is practically impossible.
A quick search on an ‘engine’ of your choice and I discover that the brain processes 4 billion bits of information every second, but we are only aware of about 2000 bits.
A quick search of my brain for the weather and it neatly summarises it for me as it rained on and off.
My brain, being sensible, decided I was probably struggling with the few bits of information I was concentrating on and didn’t want to overload me!
If I search the system a little more closely, then I know the sun came out for a few brief periods, and during one of them the light across the blue sky was invigorating. It was also windy, blowing the magnolia tree at the bottom of the garden from the west.
When we are creative it is easy to fall into the ‘summary’ option of what we’ve done.
Stephen King tells us that when we have finished our story or novel, we should shut it away in a drawer and forget about it. After a few days or weeks, get it out and read it. Your ‘summary’ may not have done it justice – for good or bad.
The same works for art or music. Leave a little space and time between you and the work. Come back to it and look beyond the summary.
You notice things. This is important. Revisit the details.
I’m sure you’ve noticed this with movies, or albums (does anybody still listen to whole albums anymore?). I guarentee there is a scene you had forgotten, or a track which you didn’t remember but now think is great.
Creatively this ‘revisit’ is a really important part of our process. Here we learn from ourselves and question why we put those particular marks on the canvas, or included a scene with the protagonist or a minor character.
4 billion bits of information per second.
Creatively, we have more resources at our disposal than we might think!