Hi, I’m Matt Tillotson, and this is Matt’s Mix Tape: ideas for remixing the Side B of life.
The off-switch turns creativity on.
My brain was in the off position while on vacation. I worked out. I hung out with family. I ate a lot and drank less than a lot. No books, no work, not much writing.
Then a funny thing happened.
By the third day, I started getting new ideas for work. No matter how many notes I took in the thick of work, no matter how many post-cohort memos I wrote, certain insights remained hidden behind a haze of urgency, busyness, and, yes, fatigue.
But with rest, I dialed back into a lost radio frequency.
Your brain must rest. You can’t just write more, talk more, work more, and truly get more.
“No Days Off” is a recipe for creative stagnation.
Please take some down time this holiday season. Switch your brain to the off position. Let it reacquire that distant creative signal.
Learning to appreciate all that jazz.
Write of Passage alum Silvio Castelletti on learning to appreciate jazz:
Jazz is playing the same piece a thousand times and making it different each and every one of them, it’s total creative liberty to go places on top of an agreed-upon harmonic backbone.
In his piece, you’ll learn a lot about jazz and music in general. This is how I wish I could write about music.
Choose the needle drops in your writing.
“Andor” is best show Disney+ has made. It’s a Star Wars prequel to a prequel, telling the origin story of Rebel hero Cassian Andor who first appeared in the 2016 film Rogue One.
The show isn’t typical Star Wars. Instead, it examines the birth of the rebellion in rough and raw detail. No lightsabers here. On the Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith podcast, showrunner Tony Gilroy talked about writing the story:
You go back you can go back all the way through recorded history. You can find racism you find slavery, you find oppression, you find torture, you find colonialism you find every single thing that you could possibly want. And I can go back all the way through history in this show, and I can needle drop, all different things that I thought were fascinating, all the way down the line.
What you consume becomes the needle drops in your writing. Choose intentionally.
Thank you for reading.
Whatever you’re working on or working through: keep showing up.
If you liked this edition, would you mind giving the heart a click? Thank you.
“No Days Off” is a recipe for creative stagnation. What a line!
Glad you got some downtime! Would love to hear more about those memos... Would love to be in a position to emulate the Amazon model with my own team.