The Spark, Part 1- In which I read a great book about creativity and keeping it fired up


By Pattie Beaven

The Little Spark drew me in like a moth to a flame. Perhaps this is what I’ve been needing to kick my butt in gear, I thought. A spark. This spark, though, took me on a little distraction tour of my home, my writing, and my crazy messed up mind. Not that this sort of distraction is a bad thing. I think it was beneficial. But it was indeed a distraction. It took up my writing time for several days. Sometimes we need that, though. And if it sparks my motivation, my energy, and my focus, then it is well worth the time, right?

At first I thought I would write down key points that sparked interest and share them as a blog post. Which I will probably do on my personal page because I often don’t care how long I write. But after I realized I had over ten pages in notes alone, I thought how to incorporate these ideas as a small series.

I found central themes and combined the 30 ideas into 5 main ideas, and one to grow on. So here we are without further ado, the first lesson of creating that special spark in your creative life.

  • Let Go of Negativity

What is the worst that can happen if you pursue this project you feel so passionate about? Write it down.

For example I wrote “The worst thing that can happen is I fail, no one listens, likes, or cares for my ideas and my books, and I’ll have wasted 3 years of my life when I could have stayed a zookeeper.”

Read the statement at least 10 times.  (If I fail, I will prove everyone right and I will be embarrassed and ashamed). Keep reading until the statement has no power and you no longer believe it.

Fear is the boiler room in the basement of our creativity. The same logs of imagination that fuel the fire of fear can also fuel our creativity.

You can’t be creative without being vulnerable. But creativity is also a way to battle anxiety. Let it become your version of anti-anxiety meds.

Just because your worst case scenario doesn’t hold power over you doesn’t really stop the Crazies from taking over either. The Crazies are the voices in your head telling you can’t do what you dream. They tell us “You’re a fraud”, “You’re no good”, untalented, incompetent, etc)

Step 1- Let Go of the voices and the part of you that believes the voices

Step 2- Play- Be more like a kid and play in the backyard of our own souls. If something feels fun, keep doing it.

Step 3- Take notice- Tune into yourself. Be aware of the Crazies as they pop up. Notice them and write down what they say- “I can’t”, “I don’t have the time/talent/ability”

Step 4- Box Them Up- Get a container with a lid and place strips of paper with Crazies’ sayings on it. Acknowledge negative messages but choose to contain them so they don’t get in the way.

Step 5- Show them the door- With successful creative sessions, tear off pieces of Crazies sayings and throw them away, slowly diminishing their existence. Tell your inner critic to take some time off.

Hold a Keylog ceremony for the Crazies, your worst case scenario, and your fears. In logging tradition, lumberjacks would cut trees and send them down the river to sawmills. Once in awhile, a back-up of logs would occur, and in order to release the build-up, the lumberjacks would have to find that one key log. That one log in a specific place was causing a huge stall in the logs getting to their destination. When that key log was cut loose, the flow of fresh cut trees would resume.

While I’m not normally one to honor the logging industry and the practice of deforestation, I do appreciate the sentiment of a key log ceremony. This ceremony can be done at a campfire or a flowing body of water. Take a small stick, it doesn’t have to be large at all, just enough to represent anything that is holding you back. Label your stick. Say it out loud or repeat it in your head. But let it strongly signify what you desperately want to let go of. Walk up to the fire or water and release your keylog. It will no longer hold your creativity at bay.

Step 6- Replace with positivity- Instead of “I’m clumsy” change to “I am graceful”.

I hold onto my negativity for the strangest reason. Perhaps I am comfortable with it, as I have low self-esteem and have often been my own worst critic anyone has ever known. If I say horrible things about myself, then the mean-spirited comments from others won’t hurt as much. This isn’t true, though. Words still sting. So I was still very self-conscious about criticism.

But I have given up a lot to pursue this dream of writing my books, reaching a broader audience with my programs, and helping change the world with my own little spark. I have grand ideas, and I can go far, if I let that little spark ignite and I tend the flame with motivation, focus, and enthusiasm.



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