Book Review: The Little Spark

The Little Spark 30 Ways to Ignite Your CreativityThe Little Spark 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity by Carrie Bloomston

One of the things I try and do with the creative prompt project is to help you spark your creativity. A regular habit really encourages the creative person to continue. I was intrigued to see what Carrie Bloomston thought on the subject when I saw her book.

The book starts out by saying that it is an interactive workbook. When I write reviews, I read the whole book straight through and it was hard to stick to that practice with this book. The book contains 30 ‘sparks’, which are exercises to ignite, inspire, encourage your creativity. The book gives options for doing those exercises, but does not demand a certain way of doing them. Do one a day, one a month or dip in and out.

The author’s definition of living a creative life is a definition I enjoy. She writes “It is a way of living life with curiosity and openness. It means thinking from your heart, thinking for yourself, and thinking outside of the box.” It is actually definition that I am also a little afraid of. She tells the reader right upfront that we will be getting out of our comfort zone.

The Introduction is a kind of call to arms. Bloomston talks about the earliest examples of people making things and of many different ways people have expressed themselves through the ages. Then she says …”your desire to make things is bigger than you.” That line startled me, because I often think about why I feel such a strong need to make quilts and sew things. Yes, to use up fabric. Yes, to try something new, but there is something even deeper that demands I have something soft yet colorful in my hands on which to work. I suspect is has to do with a life not being forgotten.

The first spark confirms that we will be getting out of our comfort zone. Spark 1 has the old creative adage: just start and goes on to explain how starting is hard. We have all heard it before, but it doesn’t make it any less true and the beginning is a good place to start.

The general format of the chapters (sparks) is to introduce the spark, provide directions for the exercise and then provide tips. The tips for getting started are things like don’t hoard materials, do some warm-ups (creative prompt project anyone??) and take baby steps. All of these are sensible and we have heard them before. Still gathering all of these pearls of wisdom into one book is handy.

The sparks are all different and many are things I didn’t think of in this context. Space, classes, messes, permission, grace, rule-breaking, time and many other things are all covered. Yes, I have heard of some, but some were surprising, if completely reasonable to me. The author also does not whitewash this process and talks about issues such as “The Crazies” and self-doubt.

The book just ends after the 30th spark. No sad farewell, drama or an index. The book just ends, which I think is appropriate, because if you have done the book right, then you will be off on a new journey.

I like the layout, colors and photos used in this book. I think it will work well for those of you concerned about creativity and encouraging it in yourself.

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