Using a Spark File to Organize Your Ideas

Using a Spark File to Organize Your Ideas

Create May 13, 2013 / By Kristen Fischer
Using a Spark File to Organize Your Ideas

What is a Spark File and how can it defrag your creative mind?

My cousin sent me an email a while back with a Lifehacker link that she thought I may find interesting. It was about defragmenting your creative brain, the same way you would a computer.

I thought, “Wow…she must think I’m pretty scattered.”

I wasn’t offended though. Because the creative brain is all over the place. Ideas come and go. (Why must it always be during a bath or sleep?) And even those of us that aren’t Type A creatives do need a little organizing. In my cousin’s case, she thought I could use a Spark File. Girl was spot on.

The Spark File is a document where you keep all your creative goodness. It was defined by author Stephen Johnson. So instead of scratching notes down on a Post-it® in the middle of the night or devoting different journals for ideas, you put all your concepts in one file.

Then you review that every three or four months to see if any old ideas can connect with new ones, or just to see which things have come to fruition. You may see things that you haven’t gotten around to doing. Or you may see how you’ve grown in your creative journey. It may ignite—or spark—more ideas. Maybe it just keeps you aware of your progression as a creative person.

I hadn’t had the chance to really look into this whole Spark File thing until recently--I didn't even know if it was anything useful, but I'm glad I bookmarked that link. I’ve decided to make one. And mine comes with an intention, too. That's the yogi in me, I suppose.

In my case, I’m not doing it to spark new ideas so much as I am to remind myself of all those must-write book and magazine article ideas. Sometimes the best ideas I have simply are forgotten because I wake up or get busy with something else. I lose so many great ideas because I never write them down—but I really lose them because I usually don’t write them down and remember to review them.

But what if a Spark File can turn me into even more of a Type A creative? What if it makes me more successful in my writing career? Perhaps I’d publish one book a year, or be able to secure more clients. Maybe I'd query magazines more regularly. Maybe it will help me realize all the creative energy that I do put out, and help me unwind again in order to properly revitalize my creative brain.

With that in mind, I’m going to create my Spark File. And I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes!

What could a Spark File help you do?


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