They say, “the devil is in the details.” (Though who “they” are, I’m never quite sure of.)
I’ve also seen something of a push-back statement recently, “God is in the details.”
So who is the one with control over the details, God or Devil? I think there’s a truth to be found in each statement and, when you come down to it, these phrases are about different situations. That said, would you agree the details are important?
Details matter, as much in creativity as in anything else.
You know what else is in the details? Life. No, I’m not talking about the cereal, though I suppose it sometimes may be one of the details. Like, if you asked me to relate to you what popular breakfast food Mikey likes. Man, the kid loves that stuff, and, as far as I understand, he doesn’t like much else.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, details: those specific things about your life which make it uniquely yours and not someone else’s. Without them, many of us would look the same, our experiences would be uninteresting and common. But everyone’s got details, things which, when gathered up and analyzed together, make each person stand out from anyone else.
No two lives are the same. I find this fascinating and wonderful. The details of a person, their specific experiences and insights, can make for a great story. And here’s an odd thing, despite each person having their own details, it is through such details we can relate to one another.
I heard a notable quote on this matter from Desiree Burch on the Writing Excuses podcast:
"The more specific a work gets, the more broadly it relates to other people.”
In other words, the more you want to reach people, the more you need to dive into the details. And, let’s be honest here, the details ain't always pretty. Sometimes it’s the fun and sweet details which make a creative work appealing, but it can also be the raw, ugly truths which sets it apart and draws others in.
In my own life, I will always live in the shadow of my parent’s divorce, I had extensive plastic surgery as a child and I’ve done some things I’m far from proud of. The details are messy, but they are mine. Then again, I’ve got a wonderful family, loving parents (on all sides), a great job and I love my local church.
When it comes to life, there are so many details: good, bad, ugly, even downright weird (I have a lot of those). Whatever the case, I hope you don’t hide the details, I hope you share them and know that only through those details can your creativity come alive and be appreciated by someone else.
Hey Creatives, what details do you find important, either in your own life or in your favorite creative influences? Let us know in the comments below.