How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

Today I’m so pleased to introduce you to my good friend Tina Hofer Medico. Tina is an accomplished interior designer whose life mission is to create products, spaces, and experience that make you feel more alive - more creative, more connected - and more attuned to serendipity. Everytime I get on the phone with Tina, I’m so pumped up and inspired by her vision and mindset. Tina is launching a very exciting product called The Sparkboard (more on that later) but today I asked her to talk about that time she devoted 100 days to her inner child and how that influenced her creativity and productivity at work.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

For most of my life I’ve been fueled by a fierce imagination and an insatiable curiosity about the world and people around me.  Playing hide-and-seek. Standing on furniture to see the world from a new vantage point. Exploring life with an open curious mind. I’m my best self when I nurture my playful tendencies and build adventure into my life.

Last year I realized that an overly serious worker bee had been steering the direction my work days and I was feeling more anxious and exhausted than I’d ever hoped to be as the owner of my own business. I was in charge of my schedule after all -- I chose what made it on my to-do list.  But I was failing to make time for the things I needed most, things that nourished me and brought me joy, pleasure and a sense of well being.

In an effort to find my way back to my curious, playful self I decided to do an experiment where I made play a priority in my daily routine.

Inspired by Elle Luna’s #100dayproject I set out on an adventure for #100daysofplay.

Once I had bumped my worker bee out of the driver seat and let my inner child take the wheel it felt so natural to think of fun ways to add play into my day. Some of my favorite play ideas included:

  • Buying a razor scooter and taking scooter breaks to get away from my computer
  • Building a fort in the middle of my house and using it for quiet reading or weekend naps
  • Visiting a nearby swing set to swinggg with abandon. A magical experience. Every. Time.
  • Covering an entire wall of my office with whiteboard paint and coloring on the walls
  • Running a covert mission to put googly eyes on benches in near my house. This is called #eyebombing ...who knew?!
  • Taking daily adventure walks to get my body moving, to get out in nature and to keep a look out for inspiration

The days I really made space for play and adventure, I thrived.

Work flowed with more ease and I felt inspired to do more of the things my “ideal self” would be doing with her day like buying flowers and healthy groceries then making a delicious dinner for my family. I learned so many valuable lessons during this experiment -- namely to make time for my inner self and listen to the little girl inside me who just wants to strike out on an adventure every now and then.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

Until recently, I hadn’t quite realized the alchemy that was at work during my adventure walks. I had access to an abundance of intuitive guidance, magical discoveries, secret clues and inspiration ...so long as I made the time to get out and walk.

I created a little ritual to mentally transition away from my work tasks before leaving the house. I shut down my laptop, closed up my Sparkboard and wrote down one or two action items I’d focus on when I returned. This allowed me to start each walk with a clear, curious mind truly open to a unique adventure!

I wouldn’t plan my route ahead of time - just set off walking and decide my next directions by listening to my gut and allowing it to lead the way.

I kept my eyes peeled for signs or unique discoveries that might spark my imagination. I jotted down insights and collected clues whenever they appeared.

My imagination was set on fire. I’d dream up wild ideas about houses in my neighborhood and the characters that inhabited them. I desired to learn the history of old homes and when I couldn’t track it down I’d conjure one up myself. Signs I’d see on my journey began to answer questions looming in my life, the clues I collected made for delicious fodder for my imagination.  I was truly engaging in the scavenger hunt of life.

My walks were simultaneously restful and invigorating. They filled me back up and allowed me to bring a grounded presence and focus back to my work day.  It’s almost as if my inner child just needed her playtime and then she’d let me step back into my big girl role and get shit done, which was a liberating realization.

Join Us in a 5-Day Mini Adventure: Wandering and Wondering

Becca and I want to invite you to participate in a 5 Day Mini Adventure to ignite a spark of curiosity in your soul and help build the habit of play into your day to day life. So here’s the scoop:

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

For a five days, block off a specific time for an adventure walk.

Create a ritual that helps you “close up shop”  and transition from work mode to a space of relaxed, open-minded curiosity.

Bring a notebook on your journey (or iPhone app if you’re a note taker of the digital persuasion) and jot down any wild ideas, intuitive hits, insights or discoveries that come up along the way. It doesn’t have to make sense. If it feels good or intriguing just take note. If a story or painting or idea feels like its taking shape give it space in your notebook to live and grow.

If possible, keep your walks within a designated neighborhood but take a new route each day. Seeing familiar places from a new perspective might spark exciting revelations

Be sure to collect any small, tangible objects that catch your eye or tickle your imagination. You never know -- they may be clues that help solve something magical or mysterious

At the end of your five days, examine the notes you’ve taken and the objects you’ve collected.

Is there a story or idea taking shape? Can you find a common thread that links each of the tangible objects that you’ve collected? Have you made any intriguing discoveries about your neighbors or neighborhood? Can you do more exploring or research to make connections between the ideas or insights you’ve jotted down?

Now close up your notebook and let this experience ripen for a bit.  Come back to it in a few days and decide if it has enriched and empowered your creative process and workflow.  If it feels good to incorporate this type of play in your daily routine give it a shot for another five days and if it keeps feeling good maybe another five.

How Play Ignites Your Creative Spark

My passion for play and finding space for it in my life has been the catalyst for designing and launching The Sparkboard. Born at the crossroads of needing to splash ideas up on the wall and desiring a streamlined way to close up shop and go seek inspiration out in the world;  The Sparkboard has become an invaluable tool for empowering my unique creative process. I hope it will do the same for creatives everywhere.

I’m making this product for the makers, the dreamers, the curious wanderers and creators. I’m making this product for the dabblists and I’d love for you to be involved. I’ve teamed up with a handful of amazing production partners here in the US and am in the process of funding the first round of Sparkboard production through a kickstarter campaign. You can find all kinds of info about the project and our kickstarter campaign here.

Alright, dabblists! It’s time to get-going on your mini adventure. After the end of the 5 days, come back here and leave us a comment letting us know how it went. Bonus points for posting on Instagram with #MiniAdventure and tagging @thedabblist and @tinahofermedico.

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