I want my creative spark to be exactly that. A sudden flash of brilliance that brings the fire right behind in a blaze of triumph. What typically happens is a slow smoldering ember that most of the time fizzles out. Then I have to go back with lots of patience and start again.
Building a fire can be difficult and it takes work and dedication. If you've seen the movie Cast Away you fought and cried and then cheered at the success and sweat it took for Tom Hanks to start one.
So, I need to have loads of patience and treat my creative spark with the respect it deserves.
Fire: The more seasoned the wood the easier it is to start the fire. Creative Spark: The more seasoned the ideas the easier it is to get busy.
The blank page or canvas is white and stark and empty. I certainly wouldn't try to start a real fire with nothing. Why do I think I can do the same with a creative event? I gather my ideas, let them dry out, and then build my fire. Once I start, I just keep going. Fires can be a pain in the ass but I don't worry. The flames will eventually catch.
Fire: Kindling is your friend. Creative Spark: Start small and then work up to the bigger view.
Throwing a match on a log might start a fire but the better approach is to have lots of kindling of various sizes to light first. This requires patience and care just like creative ideas. What creative kindling might help? Reading other works. Going to an art gallery. Watching a movie. Going for a walk. While doing all of this I jot down what was interesting or fascinating so that I'll have it handy when I sit down to start my creative flame-age.
Fire: Smoke means you're doing something right. Creative Spark: A little smoldering is good. I don't panic. I just keep adding more kindling and some oxygen.
I get impatient. Example: this post. I was in a hurry to write it but when I sat back, did a little bit of Internet research (surfing but not too much) there were several paths I thought about taking. I thought about Transformers and the AllSpark, I though about spark plugs, I thought maybe this isn't such a good topic for a blog post. But I didn't give up. I took a deep breathe (added oxygen) and thought that summer is just on the horizon along with (hopefully) some camping trips. Smokey Bear whispered in my ear and that's when I knew the creative spark had caught.
Fire: You can't set it and forget it. Safety is a must. Creative Spark: Baby your idea and extinguish the flames when you're done.
Fires require constant attention. If I don't take care and stay aware of my surroundings either a) it will fizzle out and die or b) it will get out of control and potentially harm me or someone else. I take this approach with my creative spark as well. When in the midst of the creation I focus and ease into the ideas and try not to be too concerned with whether they are good or not. I minimize distractions. Then I go back and baby the rough edges, change a little here, tweak a little there. But when I'm done with the fire or need to finish the creation later I put out the flames. I know I can build another fire tomorrow. I can't concentrate on the other areas of my life while there is a fire unattended.
And remember this sound advice from Smokey Bear, "Only you can prevent wildfires."
This goes for actual fires and your creative fire, too.
Let me know if you have other suggestions on how to manage the creative spark.
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