Not Setting The Idea Grinder To “Fine”

I used to have an old coffee maker, and every time I put beans in I had ground myself I had a mess on my hands.  It seemed about 50% of the time I could never get the grinder to get things “just right” for it.  I had to mess with the settings between coarse and fine to hit the magic spot.

When the beans got ground too fine they would plug up the tiny driphole and back up coffee all over my counter, making a silty mess.

I think our “idea grinders” can be set too fine also.  I’ve thought of plenty of ideas for possible blog posts in the last month or so, but haven’t committed any of them to this blog.  I thought about them a little, figured there wasn’t any appeal to them, or that no one would be interested, and then on to the next one.

At which the whole process would loop.  It seems I’m never quite so eloquent as when I’m talking myself out of something.

I don’t think anyone really knows when an idea is going to “catch”.  I’m sure when Van Gogh was locked up in the asylum in Saint-Remy he spent a lot of time by himself just thinking about things.  Staring out the window, and letting his train of thought go whistling through his head, taking note of the occasional interesting idea.

Something must have hit him just looking out the window enough for him to paint Starry Night.

I’m glad Vincent didn’t just let this idea go as “not good enough”

He could have said “what the hell, it’s just the night sky in the countryside, who cares”.  And went on to think of whatever popped into his head next.  He would have been somewhat correct – not a lot of people did seem to care then.

A lot of us seem to now.

To sum up – if you’re like me, you spend a lot of time with your Idea Grinder set at too fine a setting.  You’re your own harshest critic.  There isn’t a lack of ideas, there’s a lack of execution of most of them.

So dial the self-criticism back a notch.  It’s better to err on the side of too coarse, rather than too fine.

Things are less messy that way, in the kitchen and in life.



5 thoughts on “Not Setting The Idea Grinder To “Fine”

  1. Mention Van Gogh and I’ve got to respond 🙂 This is such a good topic Harry and I’m SO glad you decided to publish it! How right you are that the inner critic gets to us sometimes even before the work’s had time to hit the page [or the canvas] I think perhaps our first idea is always our best idea… and yes… we should skip the fine grind and go with the rough and aromatic!
    GREAT topic [always timely] LOL

  2. Enjoyed reading your coffee….and lately I have thought of possible blog topics at the most odd places. I think I need to start carrying a small notebook or text myself these great ideas. 😉
    My purpose of being here in WP land was to encourage others while on my journey, but I am finding some great places to visit and read…like here…and finding that I still love to write.

    • Thanks for the comment and the follow. I’ve always read that it pays to have a small journal or notebook to jot things down in immediately, before the idea flies away – like the inventors or artists who keep a notepad on the nightstand to immediately get down any ideas they might have had in a dream. So many times I’ve meant to explore a topic more, but an hour or so later it gets difficult to pick the train of thought back up.

      • The Fool,

        So, so true! Finally, I decided to pull the chain of the thought train sometime ago. I couldn’t rush through anymore. Now I keep a notebook near. And life has flowed in from all places into the remotest corners of the mind.

        I missed your sowing the writing.

      • Thanks, Red….now the trick is converting the ideas in that notebook into something tangible, which is always the tougher part. But freezing them in a notebook is a great first step.

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