And pickling jalapeños
This one really got me thinking. It perfectly described the reasons why I am stuck: I continuously ingest new info about all interesting topics, but never really sit down to process what truly is important. This blog post was a revelation. Action time for me, I have some deep restructuring to do!
Full of inspirations.
Best analogy I’ve ever seen.
I needed this so badly. Thank you, Nat.
I love that analogy Nat! Especially the bit about waiting rather than opening the jar and sticking another cucumber in. That patient willingness for time to unfold things is so often key :)
great piece! love a good cooking/gardening metaphor, especially for creativity. I love how you integrated the recipes together.
the idea that we should focus on creating "the ideal environment for them to reproduce and let the magic happen" is such a powerful one. the biggest thing I've taken from gardening the last few years is the idea of cultivating conditions to support whatever we want instead of trying to control or force the outcome directly.
applies to so much of life. and continues to shock me by how much more effective and enjoyable it can be haha. have you read the Tao Te Ching? the ideas around non-doing helped broaden the ways i play with this metaphor in my life. you may enjoy if you haven't already read
Mondays and Nat have become a thing now, brilliant writing as always :)
Thanks for this article. It helps to reaffirm some of the discoveries I made practicing daily journaling and then daily publishing. I struggled and failed for many years in finding my workflow and it took me several experiments and harsh failures to identify contexts, conditions and attitudes to improve my creative system. Problem: while it take me huge sacrifices and frustration for me to become an habitual creative it was exceptionally easy for me to stop being one. It's so difficult to maintain the environment and the discipline in taking care of your thoughts, your Jalapenos. And little by little, just a small crack appears here and there. A deadline in writing slides away. The motivation to write fades out, tasks accumulate, and you're back at square one, scrolling into the black hole of damned social media.
After a few months of a break from daily writing I am slowly coming back to the practice but taking it easier and less stressful: small Tweets. Little atomic posts, trying to get the taste back of what habitual creativity means. To make it work I need to build more patience, less egotism in what I share, and revising the posts periodically to find the maturing ideas (the red in the Jalapenos) so that I can harvest them and try to develop into something worth of a newsletter.
Since I do all of that for my only benefit and not professionally, it's a great struggle to keep consistency or even following coherent threads. So far, I realized, what I am talking about is just my story of trying to write every day. Sometimes I'm bored myself about it and I wonder how it could be of any interest to anybody else.
I have a more focus objective, though, being more careless about what I write down, and putting more heart and mind into synthesizing interesting ideas out of the mass. Will it be that my fermentation process?
Only time will tell.
Thank you for giving the change to make this reflection aloud.
I really liked this post as I also definitely see the point in - what you also wrote in a previous post - giving your subconscious the time and space to process.
However, I was thinking that in this post you approached creating the space for your brain from a very positive, optimistic view, e.g. forming new ideas. But what if my brain, if given the time and space, is not forming ideas (which to me has a positive connotation) but just keeps thinking constantly about work, past situations, future scenarios, to do lists, problems to solve and so on - you get the idea.
In that case listening to podcasts, checking Instagram etc. actually helps to reduce this background noise. I agree that probably not in the healthiest way, as it just keeps your brain busy with new input which suppresses overthinking, but at the end of the day it does help to just 'be' without thoughts.
What is your view on this? Can there be instances apart from the 'advantageous' idea generation when feeding my brain with constant input is not so bad / giving the space for my mind to wander is not so good?
And can (and if yes, how) giving the space and time for our mind be useful/used when we just want to simply stop thinking and refrain from ideas?
Nat, This was a great article and really made me think about how I can create more mental space for ideas to ferment. It reminds me of the concept that your best ideas come in the shower of which I am a firm believer - so much so that I have waterproof notepads attached to my shower wall.
Wonderful analogy. This post reminded me of Tiago Forte's 12 favorite ideas concept. I like how you're constantly exposing yourself to your focus ideas. This is something novel I haven’t thought about before. I'm going to try something similar. Many thanks
Loved this one Nat. Really appreciate the bit on your simplified homescreen with the notes app. I've gone and added this to my homescreen as well (didn't know the big widget was a thing). I probably write notes on thoughts I'm working through just about every day, and this is a great way to keep that kind of work front and centre instead of all the distractions we have on our phones.
This describes one way of generating ideas or innovative solutions. And it's a useful tool if you're working alone with no timetable. But it's not the only way. And it's not effective for groups or meeting specific deadlines (like say, for design firms or product development).
The "Brainstorming session" when used as a part of a larger, well-managed idea generation process is shown to be effective. The reason it seems like a waste of time is because they're usually done badly, or it's not linked to a larger process of iteration and development.