The Creative Spark! – Old-Spiced Academics

At one point, you wanted fame, didn’t you? At some point, we all did. Well, would you play the role of the Kellogg’s mom? The Nyquil snoring dad? Personally, I’d cast well as Danica Patrick on steroids. But Go Daddy dropped her once she hulked.

And, as a child, I fumed during Barbie commercials. I had long pigtails just like the little girls on TV. But, they, not me, starred. But we’re grown up now, aren’t we?

Yes, and now, as academics, there’s something else we desire. Desperately. Something that brings us cushy government jobs, hefty scholarships?even tenure. As academics, we pine to publish. And to get that, we need to poise our pen, turn on the TV, and pretend. Pretend we’re the next star of Old Spice.

W. L. Jenkins in How to Audition for TV Commercials says how to study commercials (below in bold). I say study journal articles like You’re the star of Pepto Bismol. Yes, pop and fizz:

TV commercials offer free education. Journal articles offer free education, too. But, undergrads, beware articles that have sections called “methodology.” That is, unless you plan on a future as a grad student. Instead, mimic lit reviews.

Study lots of commercials to figure out the trends. And the more journal articles you study, the more you’ll know what’s hot, who’s big, and what’s worth stealing. (I mean, mimicking.)

Study commercials that thrill you. For fun, read journal articles on topics that make you froth. For example, study quarks if they make you go wild.

Find your role in commercials. Find your role in academic writing. Study whatever topic peaks your interests, taps your talents, and lets loose your life experiences. Yes, you matter.

Pretend You’re the target market for the commercial. Pretend You’re the target market for your dream topic. If you wish to write about comics, seek journals catering to comic fans.

Record the exciting stuff. When reading articles, ask, Are they fun? Wild? Crazy? If so, store them.

Read product companies? Websites. Read up on your professors? research interests, articles and bibliographies.

Why? Because if You’re going to grad studies, you’ll know which professor’s topics make you tingle. Then you can line-up a supervisor at the get-go and the courses you wisely choose will write your thesis. No time wasted.

Discover the actor’s brand personality—and where yours shines. What are your discipline’s authors’ brand personalities? Are they arrogant? Conservative? Wordy?

Now, what is your brand personality? Your brand can fill a gap.

Look at tone and manner, says Jenkins, and fill-in gaps with your own style.

Watch music videos. As a side gig, read philosophers and theorists. Most disciplines hunger for theory.

So, let the games begin: study a spot on McDonalds, KFC?Ex-Lax. Publish not perish. A paradox? I call it a Creative Spark!

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