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.
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.