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Ignite flow state with this technique

Drawing of a man with a blank page and a smaller man with a blank page.

Kick the critic to the curb.

I am sitting at my desk with lots of problems and no solutions. 

So I will lock a loved one outside.

My inner critic.

Because my beloved inner evaluator is shivering in the wind and cold, I can return to my desk and start solving my first problem, a blank page titled: Ideas for Next Natural History Pattern Collection.

Igniting Flow State 

People talk about “flow” a lot. A word web is a way to start a flow state. In five minutes, my pen lists many concrete, abstract, and symbolic words related to Natural History, namely to BIRDS.

Bird’s Nests
Birdhouses
Eggs 
Chicks
Branches
Worms
Rebirth
Flight
Sky
Clouds
Mothers and fathers
Offspring
Springtime
Devotion
Feathers
Song
Migration
Water
Ground/sky
Bugs
Birdfeeders
Bird tracks
Briars and berries
Dinosaurs
Therapods
Archaeopteryx
Wrens
Cardinals
Mockingbirds
Hummingbirds

When the word list glows with potential energy, I go to step 2.

How do I know when it’s glowing with potential energy? When I start salivating thinking about future work. 

Now I can unlock the door.

Let the critic back in 

Which ideas stand out? 

Which ideas can be paired? 

What idea will be worth devoting hours to? What is my end purpose? Am I thinking tea towels, bedding, clothing, wallpaper? Is there a story I can tell with images?

There are many interactions at this stage that breed further ideas.

But I only want high-premise ideas. I depend on my inner critic to make these distinctions. 
 

Move on

Once I have a high premise idea, I do the following:


Step 3: Sketch  
Step 4: Create a to-do list. What to draw each day, for example.
Step 5: Build out patterns
Step 5: Edit, refine 
 

A problem is an opportunity

Next time you’re confronted with a problem, knock the evaluator out the window and try a word web. 

In my next newsletter, I will share a scary step in word webbing that feels risky but can reap rich rewards.

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