Inspiration has a tendency to sprout from the strangest of places. For example, I once devised an entire ad campaign while in the shower. Except by “an entire ad campaign,” I actually mean “a single billboard.” And by “a single billboard,” I actually mean “the title of this blog.”
Nevertheless. If rousing, caffeine-fueled ruminations with the countless creatives who’ve wandered into my life have taught me anything, it’s that I’m not alone. My brethren learned early on that over-thinking a creative task — be it conjuring a simple headline or plotting the perfect website — could yield stale results.
In other words, there is no creative “ON” switch. (My doctor told me so, and he went to medical school.) That’s why many creatives will tell you that sometimes the best route is to concentrate on the task at hand, let the mind wander, then, return triumphantly. Preferably with a result that makes everyone “Oooh!” and “Ahhh!” and want to spray champagne around the office. Devising ways to re-route one’s mind is the fun part. And, ironically, it often requires a little creativity.
My latest venture into the world of distraction-based brainstorming began with the purchase of a vintage, 1970s Schwinn cruiser.
Here in Lafayette, being the proud owner of a bicycle nets you an in with a pretty swell group of individuals. First, if you decide to go the vintage route, it affords you the opportunity to meet the great folks over at Recycled Cycles of Acadiana. It’s a new business dedicated to — you guessed it — recycling vintage bicycles. They’re especially adept at simplifying the language for dorks like me who don’t know the first thing about “handlebars” and “gears” and “bicycles.”
Second, there’s Lafayette’s version of Critical Mass, a laid-back, monthly gathering of cycling aficionados who, for one sweet evening, take to the streets in unified, car-defying formation. It’s really quite breathtaking.
Needless to say, the new bicycle (I call her “Julia”) has made quite an impact on my life. To call it conducive to the creative process is an understatement — I get a lot of thinking done when I go out for a ride. Plus it’s giving me a much better workout than my Xbox 360 ever has.
Best of all, I’m learning a lot about myself. Specifically that few things beat the sensation of racing down the street — pedals pumping, wind in my hair — before being dragged down to the pavement by your own untied shoelaces.
Um, actually, ignore that last part.