The Spark File

Ten years ago, Steven Johnson wrote The Spark File, in which he describes his process for keeping track of hunches, ideas, etc. in a single text file.

I, of course, thought this was a great idea and immediately started keeping my own spark file. It began in 2012 and I was reasonably consistent with it until 2016. After that, there was a lull, but it picked up again for a short time in 2021, after which I sort of forgot about it.

I ran into the file today and reviewing it has been quite a trip. The short version is that I’ve only done a few of the things I’d written down. This is fine since many of them are things I’m either no longer interested in or were too ambitious anyway. I have, since I last checked, completed a few of them. Crossing them off the list was fun. There are others that are still good ideas and that I may pursue.

Since the file is an org-mode file, I’ve added a capture template to my Emacs config that lets me quickly capture new entries. Now I just need some hunches or ideas to capture.