David Byrne, in an interview from McSweeney's regarding his book, How Music Works:
So, while a songwriter may write a whole album about how their girlfriend dumped them, the fact that they choose to convey that in three minute songs, with structures that are probably familiar, and using melodies and chord changes and sounds we find attractive or intriguing—well, a lot of our big creative decisions have already been made for us. That’s not to say the breakup didn’t fuel some part of the creative process—I’m just saying that most of what makes a piece of music sound the way it does has nothing to do with one’s personal life.
There are so many gems here, but only one I want to highlight: "...a lot of our big creative decisions have already been made for us."
We don't always notice the pre-existing parameters when we are creating or experiencing art. The boxes are invisible because they are so common. Or we just don't think about them, because we're too busy building within them and using the pieces provided for us. A vinyl record is a piece of plastic with grooves, a given number of inches in diameter and rotations per minute. Subsequently, a musician creates a body of work that fits within that landscape. A children's book is 32 pages, for technical and economic reasons, so an author/illustrator has to tell a story in 32 pages. These decisions are already made, and sure we can buck the system and insist upon creating an entirely new format, but the constraints are like a puzzle. How do I create an emotional arc that falls within these boundaries?
So here we go. It's storyboard time. Time to take the bits of paper around the studio, and the ideas swimming in my head and string them together into a beautiful, meaningful sequence that spans 32 pages.