The Creative Spark! – Whacked by Flying Bras

Do you know your hobbies gone-by haunt as idle callings?

Yesterday, my brother prodded me to paint. He coaxed me by offering cash for my “dreamlike” creations. You see, when I was a teen, he dedicated a room to my painting. He bought me easels, acrylics, oils, brushes, and varnishes. I painted Billy Idol with pink-and-blue hair and Conan the Barbarian with a bloody sword that I peeled off and repainted?not just once, but weekly. So today, I stashed an online course on acrylics into my wish list. And felt guilty.

Yesterday, my boyfriend played a YouTube clip of dueling banjos. We watched comedian Steve Martin and others pick away. A thought struck me: My boyfriend plays novice guitar with the Juilliard touch. Yet, his guitar sits untouched. With that thought came an eye-opener?a life lesson: When we time-after-time tune into a topic on YouTube, we’ve tapped into a calling.

Time’s tight, we agreed. No time for hobbies.

Yet, his power to play Presley pressed me on. I cited stats on hobbies. Barker, in his book Barking up the Wrong Tree, says accomplished people tend to have two hobbies; the greatest minds, three hobbies. Maxwell Maltz, in his book Psychocybernetics, says we have nothing to lose by taking risks: we either grow or stay the same. So, why not pursue a new hobby? Or rekindle hobbies bygone?

Plus, the busiest people produce the most. And the more diverse our creative tasks, the more our creativity crosses-over. You see, smooth riffs on a guitar make for musical essays. Musical essays make for spot-on brushstrokes. And spot-on brushstrokes make for artsy cake icing. In light of the data, my boyfriend now plays soothing solos as I peer at acrylic paints.

Also, I aim to invent. You’ll do the same?by writing essays like an inventor. Maybe you’ll map road paths for flying Volvos. Or make Picasso paint kits that rely on heat sensors (a.k.a. mood rings for millennials). Regardless, you’ll write with Sean Michael Ragan’s mindset in his book The Total Inventor’s Manual. Sean’s stuff is in bold below; mine, follows.

Geniuses don’t have better ideas than you. They just dig for?not one?but hundreds of ideas and pick the few that shine. You can do the same. Easy.

Listen to your thoughts in silence, either through meditating, jogging, baking, or bubble bathing. Your inner voice may pop your eyes open as you race to fetch your pen and pad.

Carry that pen and pad. Snap photos of your idea inspirations, too. Record all the details. You’ll thank yourself for not allowing great ideas to be forgotten or fragmented.

Search patent files to see if your great idea’s taken. Similarly, search the library to see if studies duplicate your essay topic. Also, read the historical moments behind the birth of your idea.

Imagine how you could better the world with your invention. Do so by finding problems people need solved. Do the same in your essays: pursue topics that better-the-world or solve people’s problems. Simple.

Think of the everyday things that annoy you. Write these nuisances down: time wasters, space inefficiencies, or the need for more fun. Your gripes serve as fuel for inventions. What annoys you about a topic may fuel your essay, or give you an idea of an area that needs to be explored.

If you drum up an idea that seems to excite only you, pursue it. If you feel excited, chances are that some others feel the same. If writing a paper on chic flying Volvos excites you, start scrawling.

Your life’s callings need not whack you with the bra of a flying Volvo. Whether it does, recoup not in a clinic; recover your hobbies instead.

A paradox? I call it a creative spark!