The Gestalt's Garden

Shuhari: imitate, interpret and create

| 3 min (596 words)
#writing #personal-growth #learn

I have already given my first online workshop :-)

There were six of us—not counting me—and the experience was excellent.

I prepared the workshop to be practical: there were a lot of exercises, questions, and discussions (besides the typical slides where only I spoke). I think this structure worked quite well because all the participants interacted a lot during the almost two hours that the workshop lasted.

In addition, they gave me quite a lot of positive feedback (which is appreciated) and constructive feedback (which is even more appreciated).

However, one of my favorite metrics to know if something went well is whether I enjoyed it.

And, on this occasion, I enjoyed it a lot.

There are things I want to improve for the next workshop. For example:

But that will be for the next edition.

Before I go, I want to tell you about an idea that I would have liked to say during the workshop (but I didn’t).

Why teach a step-by-step methodology?

In the workshop, I recommend a series of techniques and tips covering the whole writing process: from how to have an idea to materializing it in written form.

Why is it valuable to teach a step-by-step methodology?

Recently, I found a word that answers this question: Shuhari.

Shuhari is a Japanese word—usually used in martial arts teaching—which describes the three phases of learning: imitate, interpret and create.


When you want to learn a new discipline from scratch, the most effective way at first is to imitate the techniques used by others.

In the case of writing, one option to start is to do the 100-word habit that I recommend in my workshop.


This way, by imitating a technique, you will gradually be able to interpret the principles behind that technique.

I don’t recommend the 100-word habit because it is valuable just to write 100 words. What is valuable is that it is a way to train yourself to write without having any productive intentionality in mind, which, paradoxically, is one of the best ways to be productive in the long run. This is one of the principles behind this technique: your mindset when doing creative work directly influences the creative process.


Finally, once you internalize the principles, you can create your own techniques that best suit your capabilities or needs.

There may come a time when you stop doing the 100-word habit, but the principles will still be there and you will integrate them–consciously or unconsciously–into your own techniques.

Conclusion: an easy-to-imitate methodology

The goal of my workshop is to offer a complete step-by-step methodology that is easy to imitate and has integrated all the principles that I consider valuable for writing and enjoying writing.

Why didn’t I tell this idea in my workshop?

Yesterday, I participated—this time as a student—in a workshop on Zettelkasten given by Sascha Fast. I feel privileged to have been able to enter this workshop (places were limited to eight people, and I was the last to enter). Sascha explained this idea to us to contextualize his workshop and, as ideas belong to no one, now you also know the Shuhari.

And you, in which phase of the Shuhari are you?

You can answer me in the comments or directly to this email. In both cases, I will answer you :-)


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