You know that saying, “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”? As creatives, we’re often (not always, but often) on the hunt for more information, more knowledge, more experience, more more more, in a quest to be better and do better. For the most part, this is a great thing. It means you’re consistently growing, learning, and changing. But at what point is more information too much information?
I’ve written in the past about just doing the work. Doing it frequently and doing it consistently. Living under the premise that you should not wait for some magical bolt of inspiration to strike you dead. But, this is the flip side of that story. The necessary and important work of not working. Consciously, at least.
There is a point at which doing and learning more may actually hurt you. There is a point at which you should just walk away and forget about the work. There is a point at which your conscious brain becomes utterly useless. There is a point at which you know more than you think you know and you have to release the control. There is a point at which you have to let your subconscious do the work.
That point comes at different times in the creative process for different people. That point is often disguised as a this-sucks-and-I-should-trash-this-work feeling. That point is often disguised in hitting a wall. There are so many ways that this point could be disguised that we, more often than not, miss it. So, before the work comes yelling at you to leave it, before it screams down your throat that the work sucks and you’re not good enough, walk away. Quit doing the work. Sleep on it. Let your brain go and let your subconscious do what it does. The thing is, we don’t even know how much we know and we don’t even know how much we don’t know. We don’t know how smart we truly are and we think that by doing more and being more, by never walking away and by never taking the space our brains need, we can accomplish anything. But by only taking stock in conscious decisions you’re only using about 5% of your brain capacity.
Give the rest of your brain time to work. To solve the problems you can’t consciously solve. To sleep and learn and do. Sometime it just takes an hour of walking away from the conscious, sometimes it takes a night’s sleep. Either way, allow yourself to stop consciously working on the “thing.”
It’s all in your subconscious so quit overthinking it. You’re smarter than you think but but too dumb to know it.