From the Desk Remix! – 4 Billion Bits!

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!

From the Desk – Remix! – Me Journal, You Journal?

As this month is ending I have been getting my journal set up for October. I have a hybrid BuJo and record/reflections journal which I enter the art, writing, Bible study, podcasts, videos, books, music, which have accompanied me on any given day.

I am not perfect at the forward planning, or the recording of what I have done to be honest, but it is a habit I try to keep to, as much as a reference point than anything else.

I am not fancy and artistic with my journal. It might be soemthing I try in the future, but at the moment it is more of a utilitarian document – a document that I have done things and also a source for future work and projects.

I have kept journals off and on for many years, but the thing which generally breaks down the habit is my handwriting. It has always been poor – after six weeks of being on the same handwriting card in Junior School and having not improved at all, the teacher told me I could move onto the next card out of pity. In A-Level study my History teacher asked me to write in block capitals so he could read my work!

As in most things, I am now trying to be slower and more deliberate with my creativity.

I admire the Japanese crafts people and artists, who seem to instinctively understand this and see it as just as much of the process of producing artefacts and creative pieces as the tools and materials which go into the finished item.

Being more deliberate. This is part of the process in keeping a calendar or a BuJo. You are forced to consider the time you have available and commit to a specific act within a portion of that time.

Consider the act of creativity you intend to do and slow down in the production of it. Each word you write, note you play, or brush stroke you make, is deliberate and not rushed. Each action and decision is purposeful.

My handwriting may still not be as successful as some of the other things I do, but it is benefitting from being more deliberate in its execution.

Be Deliberate and Be Creative!


Some Links to the things I use in my Journal:

  • My Journal is the Paper Republic Grand Voyager XL in Chestnut
  • I usually carry three Moleskine Large Squared Cahier Notebook in the Journal – Daily Planner, Writing Ideas/Planning, Bible Study notes.
  • I use the standard Bullet-Journal method and add in my own codes for recording information e.g. A-artwork, W-writing, R-reading, B-bible study, P-podcasts listened to, etc. You can also use whole pages for notes, or ideas within the daily planner/journal.
  • Pens! A constant trial and error to find something which helps my poor letter forms, but I mainly use a fountain pen – Kaweco Classic Sport – but I bought some 0.35mm Gel Pens for sketching and I have started to use these for writing as well.

Creative Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the new mantra covering a lot of areas from simple meditation to a mental health checklist.

Some meditation and mindfulness techniques exhort you to think of ‘nothing’.

Hit the eco-setting, dim the screen, go to a blank screen rather than screensaver.

If you are a creative then this is probably impossible.

If you have managed it, I would argue that it may not benefit you.

Being creative is who you are and not a menu-setting.

Imagine asking a dancer not to move their body whilst you play a piece of music – they would probably cause you of being cruel.

Whether you are a writer, musician, or artist, you are tuned to be creative.

It is how you respond to your environment. It is how you communicate. It is you.

So, rather than emptying your mind, sit for a short period and reflect upon your creativity.

What are you happy about in your output? What are you finding difficult? What are you being drawn to which is new?

Afterwards, write down the strongest thought which came to you.

Pursue it.

Be creative with it.