sparks

Photo by LuckyLooke

Time to Create!

Sometimes you just get stuck, mentally and physically.

You know the feeling.  Your thoughts swirl around, dancing here and there, skipping over the right phrase or the perfect word to communicate a concept. You can’t seem to do anything else until you solve this particular problem, but you also can’t seem to solve the problem that’s causing you so much grief.

When you find yourself in this kind of a mental jam, do a one-minute exercise to jump start your thoughts with an uplift, a snip of inspiration to get the creative juices flowing again.

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Woman of mystery

Woman of mystery

While checking out of the grocery store, you spot a beautiful, mysterious woman.  Though she tries to disguise herself, the car she gets into reveals intimate details about her life. She has an honor student at Jones Creek Middle School. Her family, courtesy of the stick figure line-up on the back window, consists of a husband, two older boys, one young girl, and an infant, plus two dogs and a cat. The tennis ball magnet on her gas cap tells you she’s a player. From the rearview, a mystic crystal hangs and catches the light.

Who is this suburban woman, and why is she trying to remain mysterious? Write her story today.


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We all have a mantra, whether we realize it or not. It’s a phrase that runs through our head when stress creeps in and rears its feisty head and makes everything in your life feel like it’s spinning out of control. I often find myself saying “this too shall pass.”

What are your words to live by?

What are your words to live by?

Individual moments of stress may feel like they take an eternity to endure, but in the grand scheme of things, they are, indeed, fleeting. When I’m feeling really low, I have to keep reminding myself that something really great is just about to happen. I just have to get there.

What drives you forward? What words are your touchstones? If you don’t have words to live by, give it some thought. Today’s creative spark is meant to make you think – about you.  Choose three words to become your life code.

Live. Believe. Be.

Live the best life that you can.

Always believe in yourself.

Be true to your nature, and be the person you are destined to be.


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Think before you act.

We’ve talked a lot about bullying lately, and that’s great. But today we’re going to look at this issue from a slightly different perspective.  Yesterday, I participated in a fascinating panel discussion at Emory University in Atlanta that concerned multiple perspectives of bullying.

Dr. Sarah Vitorino encouraged the audience to not just identify with the “victim” of bullying, but also to try to gain understanding of the bully’s frame of mind when an incident occurs. This human understanding can go a long way toward healing the impact of a really bad situation.

So ask yourself, what makes a bully decide it’s okay to pick on someone else? What provokes that person to act out physically against another?

For today’s introspective creative spark, I ask you to imagine a little empathy, and perhaps even gain some compassion, for those individuals who lash out at others. There is usually more than one good reason bullies act the way they do.

Your spark?  Create a back story for a bully. Consider these questions about your bully:

  • Which elements in his or her life may have altered his outlook?
  • Did one childhood incident in particular shape the way a bully physically responds to others?
  • Can you pinpoint the emotions that trigger a bullying incident?
  • Why do you think the bully chooses one person in particular to single out for verbal or physical attacks?

Really try to nail down the triggers for aggressive behaviors. In doing so, you just might begin to understand the whole bullying equation and realize just how complex our behaviors can be.

And in trying to have empathy for the bullies in life, perhaps you may learn that what the schoolyard bully really needs is a friend.


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“That’s exactly what I said!”

Animals have a language all their own. That’s a given.  But what do you really think those grunts, roars, cackles, and howls mean?

Today’s creative spark puts you in touch with your animal instincts.  Imagine, and write, exactly what this lovely lady is saying to make her point.


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Look beside you. Describe the person next to you in a page-turning way.

Some days, the world seems to fly by before you can notice it. You drive down a road, make a few turns, go through the motions, then all of a sudden you realize you’ve traveled ten miles without remembering any stretch of it. Or you’re on a train, blanked out to your surroundings, twenty minutes suddenly are lost to you. Scary!

Today on your regular travel routine – to the bus stop, on the train, in a commuter car – take pause. Be conscious. Notice details, and smells, and sounds. Listen.  Live in your world. Start a journal and write down your impressions. These little nuggets of observation can fuel a future blockbuster.

The other day when I was waiting for a friend in a NoHo restaurant, I became an observer of the characters around me. Since we were in such close proximity, I had no choice but to listen. Let me set the scene:

The table two feet from me was filled with beautiful Brazilian boys. They oozed New York style with close-cropped hair, scarf-wrapped necks, and beringed fingers. I gathered they were artists, and they talked of studio space and living lofts and gallery shows and competitors’ techniques worthy of publicity. Normal stuff, really, for this trendy New York spot that dictated creativity as a requirement.

But, the boys’ conversation took a high energy turn when one of the artists brought up his troubled green card marriage. His “wife” had been apprehended on a normal flight from Ohio to Maryland. Detained by INS officials and interrogated about her work habits in the US, she was “found out.” The boys leaned close, darting furtive glances to the other patrons. As they huddled and strategized over next moves, these artists became conspirators.

The story pivot. The moment of change.  The paradigm shift.. Whatever you want to call it, the singular moment that takes the ordinary into something more exciting, dangerous, suspenseful, or riveting is the moment you need to capture on paper. This is the moment where your story starts to shine.

Today’s creative spark: Capture a pivot. Define the moment of change, and give some oomph to your story.


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