I often improvise on piano, and I sometimes find some really cool stuff to play, and enjoy myself greatly. But I never memorize any of what happens, I don’t write it down, and I’m not sure how to get there again.
Most of the time I play, though, I do get to an interesting place – so I’m reasonably certain that if I start, I can find something. And often, I don’t know how to start.
So I thought – I need a standard way to start. And I thought that this would be useful not just for piano, but for everything I do – a standard way to get into it, that is nothing like the thing itself, but that always leads to the target thing flowing well.
For piano, it had to be something very simple, that I know how to transform into everything else I’d play. And so that’s what I worked out – a basic flow, that necessarily forces me to go outside of it, that is not stable for me to get comfortable in and forget myself; a flow with an open question, something unresolved.
I don’t want to limit myself by the way I start. I’d love to work out many different ways to start, and keep working out new ones. But I think someone who truly knows their craft always knows some standard openings. A chess maestro has them memorized.
For software, I feel like I should never be at a loss of ideas for the next most important thing to change in the world that contributes to my goals the most. My standard way of getting into the years-long flow is notes. And they have to work on every scale of time – from my day to day, to the intermediate milestone, to the grand vision. And opening to think about every scale of the problem.