Task Masters and Mining for Ideas

April 10, 2018 by
Task Master

Every week, for a time, I look forward to writing my blog post.


I watch from the distance of a week’s time and imagine carving it out, easily, like my mind is as giving as smooth clay. Any shape seems possible with imagination as my assistant. From this distance, thoughts are my besties. I have no intention of sitting down to disturb that harmony just yet.

Then Ash says to me, maybe you should write your post earlier in the week so it’s not so much of a rush all the time? On Thursdays maybe? so it has time to sit over the weekend and we can get the newsletter out exactly when we want to on Tuesdays?

Task master strikes again! Everyone needs at least one and I love my several. ‘Being held to account’ is one of the major reasons I’ve managed to dig Wandering Cooks out of the ground. Someone outside of me tapping their watch, waiting on me to dig what I promised them I would dig.

Not carving, digging. From a distance work looks much more glamorous than this. A new project, a new way. Great idea, I think. And then Wednesday turns into Thursday and a million small tasks clog my mind, and finding time to write feels impossible when I’m chasing after it with a trowel. Suddenly, it’s Tuesday morning again, and I’m back in my same position. We have no choice anymore. Me and a blank screen. Dig the fucking hole, Ange.

Looking down at the beginnings of this murky pit, I see the conversation I had with two of my favourite food makers yesterday. They’d asked me to help them reach their goals. I could see in their eyes the draw of the not-yet-there, those projects and potentials sitting at a distance looking easier than the murk of the real they were currently in. So I faced them squarely over the business of their making, and said, dig.

Dig first, into skills you’ve been avoiding. Set up a financial record of where you’ve been and where you’re going. Then, we can talk goals. I wouldn’t let them focus on the horizon, on the ideas that just might work. I was the ultimate task master and it felt… real good.

I knew what I was asking was going to hurt. So many turgid steps to get through before they would rest. Maybe they would never rest. That’s basically what I told them. Is that what you want? This life?

I think they’ll say yes. Because maybe even I, at this distance, seem easy to handle. I won’t be. But we’ll do it anyway, because they can’t imagine doing any other kind of work, and neither can I. Sitting down to the hardest tasks first, listening to my task masters. Becoming an idea miner.

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