Stray Sparks: The Upkeep, Part 1

My Tinder BoxNow that you’ve been catching stray sparks for a few weeks, it’s time you put them to use. Otherwise, what’s the point in collecting them?

The first part of the upkeep is simple. It’s all about keeping those ideas fresh in your mind. If you’re like me, most of the little notes you make for yourself are almost instantly lost once you’ve written them down. After all, that’s why you wrote them down, right? So you won’t have to remember them.

In this case, we want to remember them. I guess technically you’d want to remember all of the notes you make for yourself, but that’s besides the point.

Take it upon yourself to at least once a week go through what you’ve written in that little black book, spark catcher, tinderbox, or whatever you want to call that repository of ideas. Sometimes the mere act of reading what you’ve written will spark more ideas. Write those down if they come, but don’t feel bad if they don’t.

Just going through my catcher, I’ve noticed a few things both good and bad. The good felt like birthday present I gave myself. There were at least two ideas I’d completely forgotten about. Just reading them got me excited about it again, and my creative wheels are turning. In particular was a description about how it feels physically to be sleep deprived. It’s not really surprising that I forgot it. I mean, I was sleep deprived at the time.

The other thing I noticed wasn’t as heartening. A couple of my entries were so vague that I had no idea what my point was in writing it down. The only thing I could remember was that they were good enough for me to want to write them down. What good is that doing me now? To positively spin it, I did two things, as should you if you find yourself doing the same.

One, I wrote new entries based on the vague ones. I don’t know if that’s what it was originally intended to be, but it’s better than forever fretting on it. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not to cross out the original vagueness.  Crossing it out could prevent future fretting, which I can understand. Although that vagueness might also spark a new idea later on, something different from your first adaptation. For me, it’ll depend on my mood and the vagueness of the statement.

And two, I made a mental note not to be vague in future entries. If it was important enough for you to want to write it down, then you should show yourself the respect by being able to remember it in its original glory later.

That does it for now. Go through your spark catcher and see what you find. Who knows what surprises await.

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