Ask Hackaday: Managing Inspiration

For most of us, hacking is a hobby, something to pass a few idle hours and satisfy our need to create. Precious few of us get to live the dream of being paid to tinker; most of us need some kind of day job to pay the bills and support our hacking habits. This necessarily creates an essential conflict, rooted in the fact that we all only have 24 hours to spread around every day: I need to spend my time working so I can afford to hack, but the time I spend working to earn money eats away at my hacking time. That’s some catch, that Catch-22.

From that primary conflict emerges another one. Hacking is a hugely creative process, and while the artist or the author might not see it that way, it’s true nonetheless. Unless we’re straight-up copying someone else’s work, either because they’ve already solved the same problem we’re working on and we just need to get it done, or perhaps we’re just learning a new skill and want to stick to the script, chances are pretty good that we’re hitting the creative juices hard when we build something new. And that requires something perhaps even more limiting than time: inspiration. How you manage inspiration in large part dictates how productive you are in your creative pursuits.

Hot Flashes

Creative inspiration is often described in terms like, “A bolt out of the blue,” or as a “spark” or “flame.” There’s good reason for that: that’s exactly what it feels like when it hits you. In an instant, you see the solution to something you’ve been puzzling over, or the idea for something that could change the world hits you. If you’re anything like me, there are two times when this is most likely to occur: in the shower, and while driving. Perhaps it’s the soothing white noise, or maybe the monotony of a daily routine is the blame. But if I’m going to have an idea, chances are good it’ll be when I’m either soaking wet or trying to stay alive on the highway.

The point is, inspiration generally strikes when we’re least prepared to do anything about it. It’s tough to scribble a short note when you’re in the shower or in traffic, or even when you let your mind wander in yet another pointless meeting at work. There are tools to help with that, of course, ranging from simple mnemonic devices to help you remember to write your idea down later to a shouted, “OK, Google,” or “Hey Siri,” if you care to share your big idea with the interwebz. But assuming you get your idea written down somehow, how many times will you actually be in a position to do anything about it right then and there?

For most of us, the answer to that is: approximately never. If we’re lucky, we’ll get the idea written down before it evaporates, and it’ll become yet another entry in our notebook or journal to be dealt with later. If we’re really lucky, inspiration and free time will sync up with that other limiting factor — materials — and we’ll get a few components plugged into a breadboard or some stock cut up and tack welded together before we get tugged away to address some other needful thing. That’s what makes your bench look like mine — a sort of limbo for projects started but never finished. But very few of us ever seem to have that confluence of factors that allows us to go from idea to completed project seamlessly.

Your Turn

This was not intended to be a catalog of my unfinished projects, or even a litany of our community’s collective failures with time management. It’s to hear from you on this matter. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned during the time I’ve been privileged enough to write for Hackaday, it’s that our community has a lot to say about virtually everything. And I also know we have people who have been doing this kind of stuff forever. Someone out there is winning the race between time and inspiration, and we’d love for them to share a few tips that might help the rest of us.

But we don’t want to just hear from the rock stars, of course. Everyone has tips and tricks for managing their time, and we’d love to hear from them too. What are your experiences with syncing up time and inspiration? Do you have some organizational tips for the rest of us? Perhaps a unique and clever way to take notes? Or maybe you’ve found a way to actually schedule inspiration. We’d love to hear about that. Or maybe your secret is being retired and having a really well-stocked parts bin. Whatever it is, let us know how you achieve balance — or not — between time and inspiration in you hacking life in the comments below.

Thanks to [Jon] for the inspiration for this article. See what I did there?

65 thoughts on “Ask Hackaday: Managing Inspiration

  1. Maybe I am lucky, but typically my ideas come to me while I am failing to fall asleep (I am truly world-class at failing to fall to sleep). SO I can just get out of bed and either make a note or even make a start. (I wasn’t going to manage to sleep anyway…)
    Thinking through ideas when driving scares me. I am pretty sure that when visualising projects or mechanisms I am re-purposing my vision centres in the brain. I am not at all sure that I am seeing the road at these times.

    1. I’m with you on the driving and deep thought. Luckily my body has an auto-pilot mode. Unfortunately, my auto-pilot never takes me to where I actually need to go. The worst was when I drove 10 minutes out of my way before realizing I wasn’t going where I needed.

    2. If the structure of your life allows for it, then the next step is polyphasic sleep. Simply put, sleep when you get tired, and get up when you wake up. Usually about twice a day, but for a shorter duration overall.
      Lay out a problem in your head before you go to bed, but then let it go and go play. When you wake up, often a potential solution will be waiting. With polyphasic sleep, it works even better, and then it happens at least twice a day.
      Keeping the distractions of the day out of your thoughts while you do this is the hardest part, but I’ve found visualizing the simplest thing, a blank canvas, with intense focus at the start works. Then slowly give up control (or just get tired), and then your canvas becomes your playground.
      Occasionally, this can also lead to a wonderful state of ‘directed dreaming’ where you have free reign to play in your subconscious, but still be ‘barely’ in control.
      Like you, I’m a visually oriented person, so I imagine that has a lot to do with why this works. I have no idea if this would work that way for others.

      1. I’m a big fan of analyzing a problem, thinking about what inputs, factors, limitations are required to try to solve it… then letting all that stuff cook away overnight. That’s how you prepare a petri dish for the ideas to grow and flourish in.

      1. Hmm, sorry to read of your difficulties, I’d advise safe and mildest cost effective GRAS rated mineral supplements. The best for your dual problems all in one is Magnesium Phosphate, then you can do the business easier being cheaper than constipation meds, as well as that Magnesium is a mild mood moderator quelling some depressive quirks thought to dampen creative ideas and the phosphate complex offers aid to bolster our key energy carrier Adenosine Tri-phosphate :D

    1. Double thumbs up for John Cleese’s process! Here’s the original video, from which the one above is a sequel:

      This same process – the exact process laid out by Cleese – has been independently discovered and taught by lots of people, and has been studied extensively.

      The term to search for is “superconscious” on Google. Watch out for “woo” – there’s a tendency for people to ascribe the state to all sorts of new age and supernatural causes – but there’s also scientific examination of the effect. For example, Brian Tracy has a good overview description.

      I independently discovered this process many years ago and subsequently found out it’s a common tactic used by other people.

      I use the process and always seem to come up with solutions to problems and think “I would never have thought of that”.

        1. A machine is bound to do it either by random, or by program. One is just throwing stuff at the wall until something sticks, and the other is only following the programmer’s advice. Neither is really being creative.

          So, if you compare the machine to man, you have to conclude that a) creativity doesn’t actually exist, or b) creativity is something we currently don’t understand and can’t describe.

        2. IME, if you try to talk to people about the physiology of a traditionally-not-understood process like creativity, they either don’t care about creativity because hippies, or else they hate even the attempt at understanding the physiology because they associate knowledge with emotional coldness.

          For example, if you try to talk about the chemical processes involved in emotions like love, you get an extreme version of this effect; but the same effect affects discussion of creativity. The main difference is that with creativity they won’t come straight out and tell you how they feel about it. But if you probe, there is often a sortof mystical aversion to gaining knowledge of specific mental processes.

          There are definitely people working on it, but they’re even more time-constrained than the average person, and less likely to show up on hackaday.

          I’ve found that talking to makers about the recent discoveries in understanding the time quantization of human awareness tends to cause them to get angry; not at me personally, but at the knowledge itself! They presume it is so wrong, it needs to be shouted down. Of course their awareness is perfectly analog! Of course it isn’t quantized. Of course it is an attack on their humanity to claim otherwise!

          It isn’t so much that it isn’t knowable as that it isn’t talkable with makers. ;)

          1. They might show up if they want to promote their latest book? I’m thinking of someone like Nick Bostrum. I think you’ll find that much of the audience here is more than capable of digesting this kind of stuff. Just because it’s difficult / controversial does not mean it should not be done …. On the contrary!

          2. @Ostracus
            That’s a mild example of what I mean. If I made a post about thermodynamics, nobody is going to be talking about how it isn’t important to them and isn’t practical knowledge. Even though, both are practical knowledge.

  2. I used to sketch ideas in the condensation on the glass shower door. Then I discovered dive slates which are designed to be written on under water. I keep one in the shower for jotting down ideas.

  3. Funny, but most of the time I’m most creative when I’m actively doing something. Necessity and the mother of invention and all that. More “hey, what if I?” than “Eureka!”.

    Which isn’t to say that I don’t get shower thoughts too — a good walk when I get stumped often does the trick. But for day-to-day hacker-style creativity, I’d go with the happy little accidents and their attendant clever workarounds and so on.

    1. Yup, the more I’m supposed to be concentrating on task X, the more creatively my brain is analyzing problems Y and Z instead. I jot down the ideas in hopes that once I write them down, I’ll be able to focus on X, but that’s usually not successful either.

      Sometimes I just give up and go work on Y for a while, cuz my brain won’t shut up about it. It’s bad for deadlines, but great for actually solving problems.

  4. I find my creativity to be too abundant actually. I have ideas about stuff, but if I actually attempted to execute all of them, life would be a mess. Instead I try to notice recurring ideas and concepts, and execute those, because they have maximum utility (e.g. I spend 5 minutes every day using this stupid frustrating interface, I could cut it to 2 minutes if I did X, Y Z). These sorts of ideas tend to have the most staying power, and the ones that interest me the most.

  5. Inspiration comes when the brain is not busy, pre-occupied, stressed or obsessed with other things. Best way to become inspired is to do a certain amount of mundane, boring work and avoid stress. Some engineers will claim they work best under stress but this is probably actually because they are lazy, de-motivated and bad at organising themselves properly.

    I’m a huge fan of Dave Jones’s EEV blog and stumbled across this video about a week ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnrtneFP_6A . It gives an exact opposite of how to be inspired and work effectively. It’s a diabolical tale of the worst kind of decisions from your boss, which you dutifully obey, and which ends in a total waste of time and 2 weeks of illness. Unfortunately, although Dave is obviously and extremely smart guy, he never realises the true travesty of both his boss’s and his own decisions and seems to shrug it off as ‘The folly of youth’ or ‘Australian machismo’, or whatever …. We will probably never know!

    Ultimately, it’s about achieving a balance in life ….. and not having kids. Seriously, kids suck your energy like vampires and if you love kids, just arrange to borrow them from your friends for a while and then give them back when you’re fed up with them. Dogs are a very good alternative and always listen attentively to your stupid ideas without being critical or dismissive.

    1. This.

      Honestly, before a large project, and sometimes during, I will take blank paper for notes to a quiet room and sit there for a good half hour to an hour. No phone, computer, music, or people. Just sit and clear my mind before laying out a plan on the paper. It’s basically Engineer Meditation. It’s fine if you fall asleep during this because you weren’t going to make good plans while sleep deprived anyway. Good luck convincing your boss.

      Another thing that helps me is that I made a custom weekly planner (in Excel then printed and bound it) that I keep around me at all times. I toyed with the idea of a phone based solution, but I like the freedom to write all over the extra pages I put in for that purpose. It also helps maintain my sanity with all the things that come from being a responsible parent. It’s true the kids will drain your time, so while I do love a persistent challenge it may not be for everyone.

      I also track my time to see where my biggest sinks are and what I can reduce. The parent thing isn’t going away, but the hours I spend in distractions and amusements online aren’t really helping. Every other day or so, during my free time, I turn off the computer (or just close the browser if I need it on for something else) and put the phone down so I can knock out some lingering projects. It doesn’t always work that way but it helps dig my brain out of its rut that it gets stuck in. Also related, take breaks at work.

      I watched the Dave Jones thing while writing this. It sounds like some high level marketing executive “idea” that rolled down hill, through all his bosses, and it ate his holiday. He stipulates at the end that Engineers work best under pressure and “just get it done”, but this is of course false. Engineers can pull some weird solutions out in a pinch, but the groundwork has to be meticulously laid down beforehand. His example was making two phantom products for a trade show booth from an existing product, but if that didn’t exist and the relationship with the 24 hour turn around suppliers weren’t there for him he’d be screwed.

    2. >Ultimately, it’s about achieving a balance in life ….. and not having kids. Seriously, kids suck your energy like vampires and if you love kids,

      The issue is not much about kids – hopefully kids without health/mental issue – but lack of organization or de-sync inside the couple.

      My wife follows the wind or cosmic rays while I do follow a schedule or at least a to-do list which she impacts greatly. I have to find my way around. :)

      Anyway, if we have to summarize the video:
      Don’t get interrupted, focus or at least create the environment. The creative process is an activity by itself so does need its own space/time..

  6. I crowd source the problem to get the creativity of the masses… ;)

    So:
    water height = voltage
    water flow = current
    water valve = switch
    water check valve = diode
    water hammer arrestor = capacitor
    etc…

    What would the equivalent electrical schematic symbol for a Venturi powered water pump?

      1. But it’s constant flow, not alternating flow…

        1 gallon per second goes in one port.
        2 gallons per second get sucked into another port.
        3 gallons per second leave another port.

        I think it acts more like a transisor with a gain of 3.

        1 gallon = base current.
        2 gallon = collector current.
        3 gallon = emitter current.

  7. If I need inspiration I like to hit the hardware store or craft/hobby shop. All those little LEGO blocks of parts and pieces seem to unlock the creative process. Occasionally it even works to resolve the problem I went there for in the first place…

    1. Agree with this. Its doubly cool because you (well, at least I) come across new tools and materials which can suggest new methods. When I worked in software alone, and got into design patterns then all of this took on a greater meaning ie, Adapters, Strategies, Factories and so forth. I also visit art galleries and museums with the same goal, to get some random input. Visiting a specialist shop catering for a niche market is also helpful. I probably took this to the n’th degree when I went to the World Maker Faire in ’15. Go to a maker faire if you get the chance.

        1. I have a pretty decent inventory of basic electronics, tools and hacking stuff (… not quite hoarding but it’s one of the very few sources of friction between my spouse and I). The upside is that I can generally tackle 80% of problems/projects with materials on hand.

          But yeah – taking regular trips to the hardware stores, electronic surplus etc is great for staying aware of solutions and even new ideas.

          At work and at home, I have one or two notebooks always out for capturing ideas, and i also set up directories on the PC and maintain .txt files of ideas, links etc. for things I am working on or interested in.

  8. I’m always fighting the [Time, opportunity] / [Mental, physical energy] / [Materials and/or spare cash] ; pick any two out of three problem.

    For inspiration, there seems to be a ton of stuff that only I care about, so it’s selfishly gratifying, but then seem to find a lack of “interesting” problems, (That also are to me personally) that 5 seconds googling won’t turn up reasonable solutions for, so why reinvent the wheel. Though I guess there’s lots of interesting problems where it’s obvious that megadollars and 100s of people are required, I’ll leave that to the Musks. So the start of inspiration is finding that problem that is small enough to do alone, or at least small enough to start alone, to produce some part or demo of it to inspire collaboration.

    Then, you have your inspiring problem, and break it up into units, something that does this, so something can do that, and something can take this and this and make magic happen. Now this is where I have to kill a tendency toward perfectionism, that each element should be simple and perfect, otherwise I want to stab every alligator personally, and the swamp stays wet. Remember about making the magic happen, keep the momentum, leverage known to work strategies, modules, even slightly expensive plug and play black boxes, get to the magic. Now along the way, as you load up your stack with data, you will have flashes, of exactly how to replace or even eliminate generic pieces, so you can do that as inspiration allows. You might get to the magic with a klunky pile of generic black boxes, but you can go back and refine.

    Contemplating something recently, I had to hold my nose and admit “Yeah, I should just throw arduinos at it” separating functions out to them, knowing that code similar to what I want already exists. They are just really means to an end parts, the central part where the magic comes together may be subject to timing issues or complete rebasing of software on it several times before I’m sure I’ve got what I want, so unburdening it of some menial tasks will mean I’m not reprogramming trivialities 10 times just to see it do things. There’s a lot of potential that it can be optimised to handle all the functions on one board, or with only one arduino assisting, but magic first, elegance later.

  9. I’ve been trying to reserve Sunday as my personal day in the shop. It helps to reserve a chunk of time to just be, without any goals or expectations. I specifically don’t feel bad if I don’t do anything productive at all and specifically do not engage in paid projects. Sometimes, all I do is drink and scribble thoughts down in the notebook!
    I also try to adhere to a project limit. I’m in a really tiny space, so that limit is pretty firm! Once in a while, I clean out projects that are admittedly never going to become anything and digest the components for future projects. That in itself is sometimes inspiring, just revisiting old projects. Half-done projects are a bane to process flow, and I reckon to the flow of mental juices as well.
    Discipline! Finish the projects on the bench, put tools back where they belong, and give yourself a time to relax and let your thoughts wander.

  10. I see needs and wants, and I am a wicked pack rat, so I look at the “pile of inspiration” and ask, how can I get from here to there? The thing that amazes me is how ideas can be refined and simplified when well thought out.

  11. Inspiration cannot be forced, unless there is an active problem that requires a solution and options are limited but resources are endless, but is that true inspiration?
    In practice it mostly comes to this. There is a problem of a technical nature, I think very hard about a solution but fail to come up with a satisfying solution, so I decide to stop to think about it and do something else. Folding laundry, doing the dishes, taking a shower or cleaning up the place, thinks that don’t require any attention but do distract me from thinking about the problem itself.
    Then is some cases the answer comes by itself because I’m looking at something that could be a part of a solution. Or I hear something on radio/TV that reminds me of something else. Then I write it down,, so I can continue with my task and free my mind from preventing to forget that marvelous idea. And when I can I start to work on that. Sometimes even more and better ideas come along.
    But also very often… no ideas come at all… so then I decide to park the project and concentrate on a completely different project, sometimes months later an idea pops-up allowing the previous project to be finished.
    There is only one problem… my mind sometimes overflows with project ideas but there is simply not enough time to handle them all. And while overflowing with these ideas and tasks for new projects I freeze up and decide to do some research on the internet for even more ideas, because “you never know”, then I come along hackaday and waste 2 hours of my precious time looking at projects of others, giving me inspiration or confirming that I’m doing fine on my own. Yet… 2 hours down the drain…

    1. Does the lack of a solid, portable, repeatable process for inspiration really imply that it isn’t possible?

      Is it true that everybody believes it can’t be forced, or are there also people who believe they can turn on their inspiration, either at will or be recreating certain conditions? The comments here show lots of people who at least believe they manipulate the rate of inspiration. If you get good at controlling the rate, then it can be “forced” easily! Perhaps the word “forced” sortof loads things so that it only remains true as long as failed, eg, if you didn’t fail then force wasn’t required, but if you did fail then force was impossible. There isn’t really a force involved there, just an evaluation of success.

      I find in many cases I can ensure an inspired answer to a problem by refusing to answer until I get the answer that really seems to work! Saying, “wait, wait, wait, I’m not sure about that yet” and not acting might actually be the “force” required! And then making an attempt to create the known conditions that increase the rate of inspiration.

  12. I read a lot of random sites, forums and of course hackaday for whatever I think is interesting at the moment and store tidbits away in the back of my head (and links in my browser) and I’ve found that its happened a few times that I’m stumped by a problem and I remember something I read long ago that seems relevant so I go back and reread to find that the solution to my problem was there all along (or seeds the idea for a solution).

    Like everyone else, I also seem to have random flashes of inspiration in my shower, on the porcelain throne, as I lay in bed awaiting sleep’s sweet embrace, as I drive, as I make and eat breakfast, as I am typing something menial, taking out the trash, standing in line, watching tv, etc.

    1. I’ve been storing bookmarks for approx 20 years and I have amased thousands of them. In reality I’ve very rarely if ever gone back to look over them once more. Too many no longer exisit and the world moves on.
      The really useful ones stick in the mind and I remember the URL’s off by heart.

  13. Dan, thank you so much for running with my question!

    The initial problem that I was hoping for help with is not so much coming up with ideas, I have thoughts by the truckload (ooo, truck load, I wonder if I combine short throw hydraulic jacks on a ratcheting leg, pop one on each corner and lift a container level for a Truck to drive under…). The issue is that minor roadblocks can hinder my progress long enough to lose the excited inspiration I felt initially. This came up in an article about harvesting components…

    Two days of delay puts me out of the groove, and into another work week. There is almost no chance my inspiration will survive yet another work week.

    Then [macegr] contributed the following which was pivotal to my approach.

    [macegr] says:
    December 7, 2017 at 10:16 am
    It can be a valuable investment to spend time rewiring the way your inspiration works. If you can wait a while, really cool options are available. For example…if you are inspired, instead of rummaging through piles of junk you can sit down and design a small PCB. Order the PCB from OSH Park and either order the parts or put them in a shopping cart to be batched with the next inspiration’s parts. You get to work on each inspiration and take them all the way through to a prototype in one shot. Later, the PCBs arrive and I find that is exciting enough to make the project inspiring enough to assemble and test.

    [Jon] says:
    December 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm
    Thanks macegr… I see wisdom in changing the project steps to more closely match my inspiration half-life

    [W] says:
    December 13, 2017 at 9:20 pm
    I too have trouble getting motivated sometimes and I do what macegr suggests. PCB design is a useful skill and you end up with much higher-quality hacks. You can also have a handful of different designs pipelined on the go at any given time, so you can work on any of them when the inspiration strikes. When you submit a PCB order, you also submit the order for any parts you’re missing. Couple of weeks later, it’s all there and you can

    Commenters, could you also help with ideas on how to cultivate a cycle of inspiration and enthusiasm that will survive roadblocks (I really need another 555 to do this right) or the grind (ack it is 1am and I need to be functional in the 9am meeting)

  14. Oh, the best time to be inconveniently inspired is when you’re trying to learn something. Every new significant piece of information triggers fifteen rabbit trails to explore.

  15. The vast majority of my inspirations end up with me sighing and round-filing it as I research deeply enough to realize that I don’t have the money, time, resources, or drive to travel all the way to Tibet to shave the necessary yak. At fifty, my pool of knowledge is as wide as the sea and as deep as a puddle. (It still means that I usually have come across something that will help you with your problem, though!)

  16. I used to have those ‘Eureka!’ moments in the middle of the night, while sleeping. I kept a notepad around, would wake up with a start, scribble something, then go back to sleep. Often it was not in any language I recognized in the morning! It did help me go back to sleep though.

    Thankfully my ideas have moved into daylight hours (and are written in a language), but I noticed a common theme: When I think I’m being really clever, I’m always less clever than I think I am. In hindsight, the majority of the ideas that suddenly spring on me are actually not all that good.

    By contrast, the things I slowly and carefully ticked away at by just doing what I thought was the most straightforward implementation at each step, documenting carefully, and improving over the years… those are the things I’m much more proud of.

    I guess you could say my ‘Eureka!’ moments are more like ‘moments where I’m impressed by my own mediocrity’ :D

  17. For me showers are the best time for me to come up with ideas.

    I would recommend keeping a small book with you and write down any ideas you have as well as difficulties you had throughout your day. If you ever run out of ideas for a project look at what might make your life easier or simpler.

    As for time management, 9 PM to 11 PM is my time to work on my projects. I trade TV time for project time. If I have time to watch TV, then I have time to work on a project.

    Also, try to automate things so you have more time. For example, I consider walking around a store shopping for groceries is not the best use of my time. So, I have our local store do my shopping and I just pick it up my order. It cost a few dollars more but I just gained time. Time vs money, which one do you have to spend?

  18. I find that creativity is the study of limitations. If you can do anything, it becomes impossible to decide on anything. But once you start adding constraints, the path slowly starts to resolve.

    I might start with things that I enjoy doing, or things that I’d like to accomplish, or maybe that I have a client for. Then I add the limitations of things I feel confident that I have or can learn the skills to achieve. Do I need the project to make money? Can it be built for a reasonable cost? What parts are available that might make it easier or cheaper? How long would it take to do?

    Slowly, one whittles down everything that doesn’t fit until you have an idea, and maybe a plan for execution. Then there is the mad dash to do it before one sees a new shiny thing and starts running after that…

  19. I started a makerspace (we opened this May), partly on the premise that I felt I wasn’t finishing projects because there wasn’t really anyone interested enough for me to show them to (ever tried showing your latest contraption to your SO or kids, when they don’t even grasp the problem it’s trying to solve?).

    I don’t know for sure it’s working yet, but I *have* finished a few projects as a result – getting feedback certainly helps. But the biggest project of all has been getting the space set up and populated…

  20. I find that creativity and problem solving are closely related. The key seems to be the ability to “think outside the box” or, to put it another way, not to be limited by preconceptions. A sense of humor helps! I remember a problem in a computer systems class that was proving especially difficult to crack for the team I was in. So we just decided to come up with the most ridiculous solutions possible. One was to destroy the data center so that the problem couldn’t be solved. Eventually we decided to design a manual system just because it was a computer systems class. It turns out that this was a trick question and that the best solution was a manual one. The objective was to get the teams to let the problem drive the solution and not the other way around. I believe we were the only team ever to propose a manual solution and that was because we just decided to be contrarian. The lesson I learned was not to dismiss any solution however ridiculous it may seem at first sight.

  21. I prefer my writing when it comes in “bolts of lightening” but in those cases it comes all it once- it’s formed, it’s a perfect reflection of me; no tinkering required. Lately, I’ve been trying to communicate my experience (over here in Africa to my family back home aka blogging haha) which has meant a lot of “tinkering” and writing when I’m not in a moment of inspiration per say. It is a different experience, but when I’m happy with the outcome it’s a happy surprised.

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