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13 Ways To Spark Creativity

Updated on July 16, 2014

Spark. Inspire. Create. Repeat.

Ultimately, this is a list of experiences that have sparked creativity for me. I've tried every one listed here, and each has given me a spark in some special way. I share them with you because they worked for me. It's a large list, and everyone is different. If you're drawn to specific ones, try them! If not, pass.

I will be adding to the list, until I get to 100. Post something that has sparked creativity for you in the comments section below because I will be adding them to the list. Let's get to 100!

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Books for Delving into the Mystery of Creativity - Learn more about what it takes to be creative!

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice
The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

I've learned a lot from the Accidental Creative Podcast as well.

Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

Maria Popova of rated this the #1 from her collection: "2013's Best Books on Writing and Creativity."

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (99U)
Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (99U)

This is edited by Behance’s 99U editor-in-chief, Jocelyn Glei.

It features contributions from twenty of today’s most celebrated thinkers and doers.

Maria Popova of writes, "It delves into the secrets of this holy grail of creativity."


Sundance Film Festival

photo credit: Raffi Asdourian

Something special happens when tens of thousands of people from all around the world gather together in a remote town tucked away in the mountains to highlight and celebrate the human experience.

The first time I attended the Sundance Film Festival, I had one word to describe it: Magical. It is capable of much more than a spark. For me it was an enlightenment.

During the festival, Park City, UT is buzzing with inspiration. How can it not be, when filmakers from all around the world gather to highlight the human story through film?

Seth Godin

photo credit: Peter Bromberg

I wake up each morning with a new thought in my inbox from Seth Godin's blog. His ideas usually require flipping the world upside down to understand. But that's good news in a world that's flipped wrong-side up.

Godin takes me further in, always challenging me to make time for nuance and context, before completely ingesting information.

I read his blog for re-direction, for re-routing all my tendencies to chase the Big Easy, and to remind me that deep inspiration comes in big, slow waves that are worth investing in.

His blog inspires me to live well and be remarkable. It may give you a spark or two as well.

Books by Seth Godin - Incredible resources for expanding your understanding of creativity and business!

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

If you are a leader or want to be a leader, this is an incredible resource.

Get. This. Book.


Crossword Puzzles Spark Creativity

photo credit:Lori L. Stalteri

When I was a kid, I watched my Grandpa do the crossword puzzle everyday. I would find them scattered around his house with a few words missing here and there. Almost always I would find his ideas, or little drawings, scribbled in the margins. They represent the reason why this activity makes the list. The crossword puzzle gets the mind going.

Doing crossword puzzles as an adult, I see the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. I've had to save my fair share of crossword puzzle cut-outs, not for words in the boxes, but for the bursting ideas in the margins.

Kanye West's "All Of The Lights"

photo credit: Jason Persse

Listening to this song starts sparks for me every time. It's the Rocky Theme Song of Hip Hop for me. I picture the training scenes from Rocky IV when the synth-horns kick in, Ivan Drago on machines and Rocky all-natural.

Kanye may not be the most humble person, but he pushes the envelope, and keeps pushing. He's got that fever for wanting to be the best. That's what's pumping through this song, and into my blood when I listen. Because way down inside, I too, want to be the best.

We all have a big ego. And we'll always run into the ugly, but it doesn't mean stop moving forward. "All Of The Lights" motivates me to keep training, and to pair sparks of creativity with inspired action.

"All Of The Lights" Music Video - Kanye West

Avoid Black and White Answers

photo credit: kiwinz

When everything fits nicely in neat little packaged ways, the world gets boring real quick.

Not accepting a black and white world makes everything come alive. Sometimes, I will catch myself tidying concepts using black-and-white/cut-and-dry thinking, it almost always leads to misunderstanding.

Answers that stay black-and-white erode possibilities instead of expanding them. When you can pin down the world with a few black-and-white concepts, it get too small, and so does the meaning we draw from it.

Caption By: Adam Muller

I have several favorites on the list, and this is one. I began submitting entries to join Roger Ebert every week as he shared his own entries on his blog. He submitted every week even though some were more lackluster than others.

I started submitting entries to the New Yorker Caption Contest, but found it difficult to submit those I thought sub-par. But Roger gave me the courage to submit even the ones that were less poignant. Why? To get used to the idea that I won't be brilliant every time, and to still show up anyways. This is the best exercise I know for dismantling the perfectionist in me. It's a plain habit, but one of the best I know of. Give it a go, and you'll see what I mean :)

Sparks for your Coffee Table!

The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker (Book & CD)
The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker (Book & CD)

One of the best coffee table books ever!

The Best of the Rejection Collection: 293 Cartoons That Were Too Dumb, Too Dark, or Too Naughty for The New Yorker
The Best of the Rejection Collection: 293 Cartoons That Were Too Dumb, Too Dark, or Too Naughty for The New Yorker

Get an inside peek at the stuff that's been rejected, not because it's not funny, but because it isn't perhaps appropriate. :)


Take The Scenic Route

photo credit: Wouter Kiel

Avoid the desire to race home after work. Turn off the GPS, and take the scenic route. Turn the radio on, roll the windows down, and let your mind wander.

This for me, is the commuter's equivalent to taking a walk, where ideas percolate and inspiration is available. Let go of your routine route and see what thoughts and feelings come up.


photo credit: wikimedia

Dave Eggers is growing to be one of the best writers of our time. This is a magical book that follows the true story of one man's experience of Hurricane Katrina. This is not a spark, it's an enlightening.

I first read, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" and was pulled in by the neurotic existential implosion. "Zeitoun" goes the opposite way. It reaches out and offers an exercise in empathy, and invites us to show love, honor, and care for others.

Get the Book and Spark Your Creativity! - Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Wake Up Early

photo credit: yandle

I've gone through seasons where I will get up when it's dark, 5 or 6 a.m. when the rest of the world is still sleeping.

There is something special about being awake before everyone else is. There is a peace, and almost an openness, or invitation for creativity.

Color Wheel

photo credit: filthfiller dotcom

What color did it feel like? What color did it sound like?

I love this type of thinking because it opens up a world of possibility. For me, "I Am The Walrus" sounds dead-yellow. England feels like grey-magic. And passion feels a pulsing-red. What colors do you hear and feel?

Ernest Hemingway "The Sun Also Rises"

photo credit: readteachblog

I first read "The Sun Also Rises" when I was 22 at Broadway Cafe in Kansas City, MO.

Hemingway's writing deflated all the fluff, and taught me to ask for brute honesty. He placed cold simple words onto his experience, too cold and simple almost on purpose, so that the truth and the complexity were forced to flex.

Hemingway also had an ego, and like Kanye, wanted to be the best. But he also was on a relentless search for the true good life. And this was the spark for me. When reading, I didn’t have to search for a pulse, his reckless search was the pulse, and I recognized the same search in my veins too.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

photo credit: musiclipse

In 2010, Phoenix kept popping up in my Pandora Radio. You know when you hear a song, and you have that, "Who IS this?" After three different songs caught my appeal, I bought the album.

It stayed on repeat in my car for the next 1 and 1/2 months. It's responsible for more than a few sparks :)

Get the Album and Start Listening!

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

An amazing album for sparking your creativity.


Start At Zero

photo credit: Tom Mooring

As an artist, it is tempting to polish and perfect all your existing work before going on to something else. Editing is not a good place to start creating.

When you start with nothing, a blank page, an empty garageband file, a blank canvas, you are at zero. The value of starting with nothing is that it forces you to go and get something. This requires effort, and effort always gives back.

Capture Snapshots of Daily Life

photo credit: Mike Baird

This spark was contributed from the talented and creative klaartje-loose. She's a fellow lensmaster and shared this spark in the comment section below. I snagged it up and added it to the list! You can check out her Purple Star Lens on this very spark for more inspiring details:

Picturing my life - one snapshot at a time.

This is a great way to spark creativity! I did a little research on the interwebs and found others using this strategy to inspire creativity. I found this blog on instragram on how to host a photo contest(which I dig because the habit of contributing to the New Yorker Cartoon Contest confronts the perfectionist in me)

Start a Conversation With Your Hero

photo credit: particlem

The extremely talented Swisstoons offered this spark in the comment section below, and I think it's a tremendous addition to our list. I encourage you to drop by Swistoons profile and check some of his lenses. Here is one of my favorites that achieved a Purple Star: Humorous Announcement And Invitation Postcards. You can also check out more of his talent on his Zazzle Page!

I love this spark because it requires courage, and it calls you up. Our heroes might not all be celebrities, but to us, they are. Reaching out to them might be a little intimidating, and perhaps they might not even respond, but I think it's worth the risk.

Swisstoons is a cartoonist, and shares the story of reaching out to cartoonist Sam Gross, whom he admired. He writes below, "I didn't know Sam at the time, but wrote him a fan letter, explaining that I was an aspiring cartoonist and planned to use his book as a primer. I said, "If I am HALF as good a cartoonist as you are in a year's time, I will be delighted. Of course, at that rate, in four years, I will be twice as good." Sam wrote a nice note back (which I still have) telling me to keep at it, and in no time I would be able to draw without moving my lips."

Swisstoons goes on to say he ended up collaborating with Sam, "Five years later, I was proud to be one of the few non-New Yorker cartoonist whose work Sam chose to be in the food cartoon anthology, "All You Can Eat," which he edited for Harper & Row. In fact, he even chose my toon to adorn the back cover!"

I love it. Thank you Swisstoons for sparking it forward, and sharing your story!

Take a Walk in a Vineyard

photo credit: torbakhopper

This brilliant spark is from BarbRad, and she finds creative sparks by visiting wineries and taking walks through the vineyards. She visits wineries around where she lives near Paso Robles in the beautiful San Luis Obispo County. She writes about her trips in several lenses, and here is one of my favorites titled I Like to Explore the Back Roads of San Luis Obispo County.

This spark is priceless...and true. This one hits home for me because my wife is from San Luis Obispo and we've spent time visiting the wineries and walking the vineyards:) We also spent our honeymoon in Italy, and for part of it, rented a car in Florence and drove south through Tuscany.

BarbRad mentions that she meets some of the most interesting people when visiting wineries, and I can agree. One of my favorite memories was when we visited a small vineyard in Montalcino, responsible for some of the best reviewed Brunello wine. We nearly got lost trying to find it, but when we showed up, were invited right into their home by the owner. My wife and I (along with four kind gentlemen from South Africa) sat and listened to the owners tell their story in broken english. They were such kind and beautiful people and we couldn't help feeling grateful. We brought a bottle home with us and managed to save it until our first anniversary before opening it to celebrate.

Thank you BarbRad for sharing this amazing spark. It fits perfectly on this list:)

Taking a Shower Helps Creativity

photo credit: stevendepolo

This is the perfect spark, and I think it will resonate with many of you! It comes from fellow lensmaster BigGirlBlue! She is super-active here on Squidoo and has close to 300 lenses. Amazing. I love her Purple Star lens on writing prompts, and think you should check it out: The Write Prompts - Writing Prompts.

There is actually a science behind this spark. Leo Widrich of one of my favorite startups-gone-success, Buffer, wrote an amazing article I recommend uncovering why we have our best ideas in the shower.

Thank you BigGirlBlue! Great spark!

Make a Few Mistakes

photo credit: bkl

This is such a solid spark, and comes from the creative wisdom of Steve_Kaye. I love the personal touch he gives his lenses, and I think you will too. One of my favorites is the charming, How To Achieve Success As A Cat.

For those thinking it might be a tad masochistic to chase down mistakes just to spark a little creativity, worry no more. It takes about as much effort to find mistakes in life as it does to find weeds in a garden. How you respond when they spring up, however, makes all the difference.

It takes time to loosen the knot our culture has tied so tightly about the nature of making mistakes. Education, in America at least, is stuck on a system that mostly rewards right answers and punishes wrong ones. It's no wonder we have extraordinary fears about making mistakes.

It takes awhile (a tough while) before we're able to look at mistakes without recoiling in fear. But I am hopeful that after a little time of stretching and learning, our harsh ideas about the nature of mistakes can soften and soon be malleable enough to change. It may take some un-learning before seeing mistakes differently, but when we do, they look less like something that can destroy you and more and more like something that can ignite a spark. Thank you Steven_Kaye for such a solid addition to the list!

Go on a Walk Alone

photo credit: Pithawat Vachiramon

I identify with this spark. It's a great contribution by fellow lensmaster Upon-Request. She has TONS of lenses and I encourage you to hop on over to her page and check em' out! One of my favorites is, 25 Ways To Make The World a Better Place.

I use this spark often, and has contributed to many personal sparks. Our culture is a bit obsessed with going, going, going. It's hard to be creative when you don't have time to be. Joel Gascoigne (can you tell I love the Buffer team:) offers his journey of reaching success with his startup in the inspiring post, Dreams Come True. He highlights how taking a walk for 20 minutes in the evening (and specifically leaving his cell at home) allowed ideas to bubble up before going to bed, and ended up contributing to his dreams. Thank you Upon-Request for the spark!

Go on a Bike Ride

photo credit: Karin Dalziel

This cool spark was contributed by rking96! He joined Squidoo earlier this year and has several lenses already. Go squid-like and comment them up! My favorite has to to do with this very spark: Our Family Bike Fleet.

Exercise dumps the dopamine and that is a crucial part of what sparks creativity. For those wanting a be creative AND get some exercise in, this is perfect! So dusting off the bike in the garage just might be the thing to shake up your creative world, and cause a few inspiring sparks. Thank you rking96 for the suggestion!

Move On!

photo credit: David Goehring

This spark comes from scottmccray! Check out his lenses, and leave a comment or two. This one caught my eye because of its hilarious title: My big ol' pile of Squidoo!

When sparks aren't flying, don't let it turn you into a wreck and waste all of your creative energy. The best thing you can do is move on, and don't stop the flow. One thing I've learned about creativity is it can't be controlled. When's the last time you forced yourself to have a brilliant idea? It just doesn't happen that way.

The best you can do is give it some respect, allow it to be fluid, and move on. It'll show up again. I promise. Thank you scottmccray for the spark. It's a great addition to the list!

Work By Yourself

photo credit: MindsEye_PJl

Colin323 contributed this spark! He is fairly new to Squidoo so check out his lenses and visit my favorite of his, The Beauty of Wood Engravings.

Sometimes working with others can interrupt flow. When you have to appeal to others, it splits up your energy, and reduces its power. Sometimes the situation calls for that, and it's just a part of the process. But when it comes to your personal work, when it's just you and your Muse, it can be pretty powerful. Thank you Colin323 for the great spark!

Fred Muller

photo credit: Adam Muller

I love this spark because I DO this, AND it gives me the chance to show off Fred (he's our little guy and we adore him). This was contributed by ThingsILike! She's new to squidoo, so hop over to her page, give her a warm welcome, and congratulate her for her first lens: Baratza Encore Grinder Review - Let's Spill the Beans.

When creativity isn't sparking, take sparky on a walk! (how could i resist?) Taking a walk with your pet is a great way to get out of your headspace. It allows you to take in a bit of nature and love a little too. Dig this spark. Thank you ThingsILike!

Spark It Forward

Make sure to share something that sparks your creativity! So we can grow the list :)

What Has Sparked Your Creativity?

photo credit: Steve Jervetson

Share an experience that sparked creativity for you. I will be highlighting your suggestions and adding links to your lenses and profiles to give you some traffic as gratitude for sparking creativity for others!

Make sure to include a brief personal story too. Sparks from fellow lensmasters and visitors start at #14. Let's give squidoo an outright sparkfest! Thank you all and let's have some fun!

(you don't have to be a squidoo member to be able to comment.)

Share Your Own Spark And Let's Get To 100! - What's Your Story?

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      For me, it Squidoo and other writing platforms like it have inspired my creativity...I like putting words together...writing. When not doing that, I like being outdoors...which is where I'll be headed very soon.

    • williamslaw profile image


      5 years ago

      Awesome ideas! There are a lot of things in the list I do and one of my favorite is doing the crossword.

    • VanessaPrieto profile image


      5 years ago

      I find that anything can be inspiring... it just needs to light that inner 'spark.' Sometimes it's nature that inspires me. Sometimes it's architecture. Oftentimes I'm moved by my raw materials! I think the key is being open to finding the beauty around you, and tapping into it.

      Great lens, btw!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      5 years ago

      @Colin323: I am digging your suggestion sir! 'Bolero' here I come.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      5 years ago

      @Reaching_Apex: Thanks for stopping by the page! And appreciate the kind words:)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Definitely a source of creativity in and of itself. Good job!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Play Ravel's 'Bolero' if you are stuck for an idea. The gradual build of the music is often paralleled by the rise in your own emotions,which can generate creative thinking. Try it.

    • amosvee profile image


      6 years ago

      Bulletproof coffee.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My favorite way to spark creativity is to learn how to whistle a new song. The best way I've found to do that is to look through songs in the public domain and to learn them by whistling the tunes.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @ThingsILike LM: Thank you very much for contributing! I love this one:)

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @Scott A McCray: Cool of you to contribute. Yours is #21! I hope you dig the corresponding photograph:), ha!

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      Accepting that I think differently from most and that's something to celebrate, rather than hide from.

    • WeaselPuppy profile image


      6 years ago

      Another option is to just stop, be still, and be passively aware. Go to the park, sit down under the trees and listen to the sound of the wind, the sound of the kids, watch the patterns of the leaves of the trees as they twist and turn, and the patterns their shadows make on the ground. Listen for the sound of your own heartbeat.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i'll try anything for a spark...except drugs of course

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Lots of things can start me writing, but often I get ideas while working in my garden. There must be something about getting my hands dirty! :-)

    • shewins profile image


      6 years ago

      What really gets my creative juices flowing is to make or build something. Whether it's laying a new vinyl tile floor in my kitchen, baking an apple pie, planting flowers in my garden or piecing a new quilt top, I always feel creatively renewed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! everyone does have their own way to spark a little creativity.. For me, it is to step back not think about it and let it fall into place. Go out, watch a movie or just sleep on it instead of worrying... and that is the best creativity to work with

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good lens; enjoyed this. My advice: don't work in a team; work alone whenever possible. Teams revolve around the loudest Queen Bees or King Kongs, and if you can't compete with their egos, your good ideas might as well be dog crap. Lone workers often generate the best ideas if given a particular task. But don't take my word for it, check out "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" by Susan Cain - she cites research in this field.

    • ThingsILike LM profile image

      ThingsILike LM 

      6 years ago

      Loved the part about waking up early. I sometimes take my dog for a walk before the world wakes up on an early summer morning. There's something about taking in the world on your own before it gets going ... I get my best thoughts from walks like this.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 

      6 years ago

      I'm an IT guy, a woodworker, a luthier, a musician, a songwriter and a lensmaster - my sparks of inspiration come from a multitude of places. When frustrated with "Why won't the ideas come?" or "Words, why don't you flow?" I find the best thing to do is set aside the frustration and move on to something else - writing isn't working? Let's play guitar for a while...and along comes the spark of an idea...just whilst I was doing something different. It's kind of like when you cant recall a name or place from twenty years ago - as soon as you stop thinking of it - there it is!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @stargazer90: Thank you! Your lenses kick-tale, and you have a great sense of humor!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @rking96: Dig the spark!

      It's officially added as #20!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Submitting entries to the New Yorker Caption Contest, is such a great idea. I love it and, I will look into this further.

      Thank you for sharing this information and these tips, its very thorough and so well done! I learned so much here.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @dellgirl: That's my favorite one!

      I appreciate the kind words, and if you submit to the New Yorker, we should exchange for grins and giggles:)

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @SheGetsCreative: Thank you for participating in the sparkfest, and for your kind comments on FB.

      Your spark is officially #19!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @SteveKaye: Thank you sir!

      Your spark has officially been added:)

    • stargazer90 profile image


      6 years ago

      great lens truly inspiring in itself! I often times find myself needing inspiration and i really like your suggestions! I'll be sure to use them, keep up the great work :-)

    • rking96 profile image

      Rick King 

      6 years ago from Charleston, SC

      A good bike ride through the right setting can cause some pretty serious sparks. Also I find that riding in the early morning or late evening can be inspiring as well.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @PromptWriter: Perfect spark!

      I officially added it to the list and it's #17! There is actually a science to your spark:)

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Walk in nature, with no one but yourself. Clear your mind of all expectations, leave your cell phone behind, stand in a grove of trees, sit on a large rock, close your eyes and think of nothing else but identifying every sound you hear. (p.s. take your camera with you!) Works for me 90% of the time. Enjoyed the lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Here's mine: Begin by making mistakes.

      Excellent lens on a topic that can help everyone.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 

      6 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      Take a Shower -- It seems like a simple act but taking a shower always seems to clear the way for creativity to ignite. Showering does more than just clean. It releases the tension we carry in our scalp, neck, shoulders, and back -- areas that often build up when we are sitting at our desk. It also provides extensive stimulation to all those nerve endings in our skin helping to wake up our mind. It never fails, when I am in the shower I can write a whole article by the time I am done or solve a computer problem that has been ailing me. I'd work from the shower if I could!

    • EpicEra profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful lens full of sparks of inspiration. I read Zeitoun recently - what a great novel about being reborn from the depths of devastation

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @BarbRad: What a worthy spark. Thank you very much for sharing. I've officially added your spark to the list as #16! My wife is from San Luis Obispo, and we've spent much time up there and have even walked through the vineyards. Thank you so much:)

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I live in the middle of wine country in Paso Robles. I find that taking photo walks through the vineyards and tasting rooms keep me in tune with the seasons and also expose me to new art and gift items that give me ideas. Sometimes I meet interesting people on these walks, including vineyard owners and artists and musicians. An number of my lens ideas started when I visited a winery and walked through its vineyard.

      Another place that sparks my creativity is Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. I have written a lens or two based on visits to the art studios and talking to artists there. I am amazed at all the creativity I see at the constantly changing art exhibits and the new paintings or prints or processes the artists are using and producing. I'm often able to get video interviews of demonstrations there.

      Between the vineyards and the artists, I never run out of material -- just time to write it down.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @Swisstoons: Thank you so much for your story! What a cool spark:) It's officially #15 on the list!

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I've always perused the work of other cartoonists as a way to spark my own creative impulse. In 1982, I picked up a copy of Sam Gross's cartoon book, "I Am Blind and My Dog Is Dead." I didn't know Sam at the time, but wrote him a fan letter, explaining that I was an aspiring cartoonist and planned to use his book as a primer. I said, "If I am HALF as good a cartoonist as you are in a year's time, I will be delighted. Of course, at that rate, in four years, I will be twice as good." Sam wrote a nice note back (which I still have) telling me to keep at it, and in no time I would be able to draw without moving my lips. So, I guess that would be another spark; exchanging notes with people at the top of the profession you wish to work in. (PS...Five years later, I was proud to be one of the few non-New Yorker cartoonist whose work Sam chose to be in the food cartoon anthology, "All You Can Eat," which he edited for Harper & Row. In fact, he even chose my toon to adorn the back cover!)

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @NoYouAreNot: I'm glad they resonate. There's a good chance what you are doing to create sparks in your life would fit on this list! Make a suggestion!!!!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @LoriBeninger: I might've shot myself in the foot. I'm gonna have to wrestle with the perfectionist in me and get some new lenses pronto.

      Where's your spark suggestion!!???

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @BLouw: awesome! Seth Blog's is like food for me :) Thank you for checking them out. I hope it ignited some sparks.

    • LoriBeninger profile image


      6 years ago

      Creative AND interactive...very nice. Contests on a Purple Star after only your second lens...someone's on the fast track!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @Klaartje Loose: YOUR SPARK IS OFFICIALLY #14!!

      Very cool of you to contribute, and it was a blast including it on the list:)

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      I forgot to say how lovely it looked and how much I like your different picture frames.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      What a wonderful lens. I'm an artist and I always tell my students to just look in front of them - plenty of inspiration all around us. But for that little extra push to actually DO something about these ideas are great. I even took the trouble to listen to your songs and look at Seth's Blog.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great lens thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      #5, Avoid black-and-white answers is perhaps the greatest spark creativity tip of all!

      But, I do practice some of your other suggestions too.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is incredible. I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @Klaartje Loose: Great spark!

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 

      6 years ago

      Making snapshots with my iphone of daily life sparks my creativity; I am more aware of the beauty surrounding me since I do this!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Very thought-provoking ideas. No. 13 really speaks to me. I really like your writing style.

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @KnitnPurlGirl: I know Sudoku, but what is a Kakuro puzzle?

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @Swisstoons: Swisstoons! I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Do you ever submit to the New Yorker for fun? If so, I want to post it here.

      There are chess sets made of glass that represent sides by how opaque they are :)

      I enjoyed your response!

    • KnitnPurlGirl profile image


      6 years ago

      I like Sudoku and Kakuro puzzles. Do one every morning with my breakfast.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, at least there is something I do, I wake up before the others, I do crosswords puzzles and I feel colors.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Really insightful list.

    • Swisstoons profile image

      Thomas F. Wuthrich 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I enjoyed this! I was a freelance gagwriter (for cartoonists and greeting card companies) before I began drawing up my own gags, so Spark #2 has special meaning for me. When I was a kid, I used to do crossword puzzles with my mom who was an expert crossword puzzler who used to whip through the large diagramless in the Sunday magazine of the Detroit News, so I'm cool with #3, too. And I generally opt for scenic routes (#7). But I'm a little apprehensive about #5. What if someone asks me to name the sides in a chess game? Great lens!

    • NibsyNell profile image


      6 years ago

      Great ideas! Definitely agree with No 9! :)

    • adammuller003 lm profile imageAUTHOR

      adammuller003 lm 

      6 years ago

      @TolovajWordsmith: Very true. Can we ever get enough!?

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Everything can spark creativity: situation on the bus, front page of newspaper, a verse from a poem... And yet our world needs more creativity! Thanks for the tips.


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