When the itch isn’t accompanied by ignition, when we struggle to take initiative when hit with the urge to create, we must practice our information recall. Every interesting thought we’ve had since our last creative session has disappeared. Notes may jog our memory but lack the internal flow of a natural spark— we’re detached from who we were when we wrote the note, but if we can remember who we were and why we valued the idea, inspiration flows just as it did at the ideas inception.
The best advice is to give ourselves permission to execute ideas while they’re still fresh. Unfortunately, often circumstances bar us from bringing projects to life on inspiration’s schedule. We must learn to call the wholeness of inspiration back to us.
Memory retrieval isn’t merely remembering on command, it’s a recognition and reliving of circumstances. Declarative memory encompasses all we can consciously summon but the contents are often bare and lack the context involved in inspiration. They are instructive, useful for structure but not the filling substance. We must not end our internal investigation. These ‘explicit’ memories may aid in reconnecting with ‘implicit’ memories, unconscious methods of being. Each defines and influences each other but with the subtle nature of the latter, it may be taken for granted.
I wrote “optical illusion of crone in overgrown tomato plants”, but why? What influenced me to leave myself this reminder? I could still easily forget in January why I was awed, how humbled I was gazing through the leaves, the details of my perception.
The idea may now have little interest to me. If I do attempt it, I won’t be attempting the project I initially conceived because it no longer exists.
More detailed note-taking may save some of the context but only if we’re able to use it. Having a solid awareness of our creative self and our psychology, priming our memory with repetition (ergo, developing productive creative habits), and practicing mindfulness are proactive ways of strengthening thorough memory recall.
Associations are a powerful influence. Often, they’re nearly unnoticeable in the thin slicing of memory and unconscious identification of patterns. Journaling may help keep a more well rounded picture of ourselves and serve as a key to initiating inspiration. Beyond taking notes of the ideas, take notes of the self who generates the idea. We’re constantly taking in and putting out information without the process having any accountability.
In my journals, I’m often rewriting topics I’ve already documented. The consistencies are strengthened and changes are made noticeable. My mind retains an overarching awareness: how I do things, why I do them, where, what, when.
We can spark the ignition without even reaching for the key. All growth of our self awareness is retained and though we still don’t always realize we remember the subtleties of our being, we do remember. The more contextualized the explicit memory, the more naturally we embody our implicit memory, our deeper self.