Creative Contagion: Setting Sparks, Catching Fire

(This is the final post in a series of four on lessons learned from the book The Artist’s Way at Work. Read my review of the book and start the full series here.)

One of the really cool things about creativity is that it catches like wildfire. Once it ignites, it can be passed one person to another, and another, and another, until it completely changes the dynamic of an entire group–say, an office, for example.

There are two big ways to use this to fuel your own creative drive that can transform your world.

1. Surround yourself with positive, creative energy.
I strongly believe that one of the biggest reasons that I have been able to stick to my daily creative writing habit and stay excited about my craft is because I subscribe to blogs and connect to communities that fuel it. Think about it–are you more likely to be motivated listening to your friend talk about the latest Bachelorette episode, or reading a post about strengthening your plot structure?

Who and what you surround yourself with can hugely impact your thoughts. You are what you consume. So surround yourself with voices and ideas that will keep you inspired. Pay attention to the people who embody what you want to be. Catch their spark.

2. Be an impetus where change is needed.
The Artist’s Way at Work is full of stories about how people inadvertently change their environment by changing themselves.

One woman worked in book publishing. She’d been in the industry for years, and she had burnt out. The company had fallen behind, but everyone was pretending things were fine. One day, at a meeting, when the presenter asked for comments on the cover for an upcoming book, she was shocked to hear herself say, “I hate it! “And then she realized, she really did hate this book cover. Their book covers had been subpar for years. As soon as she had the guts to say it, everyone else in the meeting started unloading too, backing up her opinion. They brainstormed on different approaches and it wasn’t long before book covers at the company were completely different.

This story from The Artist’s Way at Work is not an anomaly. If you see a problem, you are probably not the only one. In marketing we have a rule–for every negative comment you hear from a customer, there’s at least five more out there thinking the exact same thing, who don’t bother to tell you about it.

Don’t wait for something better to find you. You can go find it. Be your own spark. There are people around you dying to catch it.

That’s it, huh?
I know, I know, these are simple concepts that can take a lot of guts and discipline to execute on. But like so many things in life, the more you practice it the easier it gets. It even becomes second nature over time. Creativity is contagious. You are contagious.

Think of yourself as a spark … what can can you set alight?

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2 thoughts on “Creative Contagion: Setting Sparks, Catching Fire

  1. Thanks for this! I love the reminder that we are what we consume. I sometimes stay away from blogs because I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my time online when I should be writing, but I forget how inspiring and motivating it can be to absorb the energy of others who are going through many of the same things I am.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Link Love – July 7 | Lacey Savage

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