There is something very therapeutic in working on a very specific and detailed task for a period of time. My example is any kind of woodworking that involves carving or a hand plane. I spent some time this weekend working on my new guitar. I made a mistake in the second step of the entire instrument building process and it has taken about three weeks to unscrew it. In any case, I got back to some forward motion on Sunday and noticed how good it felt to sit on the floor of my studio and carve while my son made crazy noises with my synthesizers.

The immediacy of a very sharp blade under pressure in close proximity to one’s flesh conjures a different state of mind. Thoughts wander less and I wonder if extreme focus like this doesn’t actually give us more rest than it burns. Of course since I’m not getting paid to do it, it’s recreation instead of “work” so it must be restful! Right. Anyway, the nuanced tasks are the ones I hate and love the most. And it’s in the middle of them that I feel most like the fairy tale definition of a craftsman. Whether it’s removing small amounts of material from a guitar or practicing a phrase until it flows, the details make it fun.

I’m thinking about details more and more as I get ready to start the next big project. There are a few ideas that are very nuanced that I might finally take the time to explore. With two weeks left in the first quarter of the year and my major quarterly goal taken care of (Thought Music) I feel like I can take some time to really think about what’s next. And that feels great!

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