February 11

After college, in my early twenties, I was a traveling musician. I wrote music and performed for crowds ranging from a handful of people in a smoky bar to seventy thousand people at a giant outdoor music festival. During that time, I wrote a lot of songs and seemed to always be able to “crank one out” on demand.

Then I decided to quit performing and get a “real” job. My guitar sat in the case more often than I’d prefer, and it was rare that I would pick it up to noodle around and write something new. My creativity was finding expression in other ways, like writing essays and books.

A few years ago, I fell in love with an electric guitar that I spotted for sale in a music shop. It was gorgeous and felt incredible in my hands, and I knew I had to have it so I bought it and brought it home. Then something amazing happened: I started writing songs again. In fact, I wrote a few dozen songs in about six months, more than I’d written in twenty years.

Sometimes the feel of a new tool in your hands is all it takes to create a spark: a new keyboard for your computer, a new pen or notebook. There’s no magic in the tool; it’s how the new tool makes you feel about working, how it invites you back into your craft.

If you need a quick creative spark, consider upgrading your tools.

What new tool might provide you with a creative spark?

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