08 Dec

When ideas strike

Given that my work largely involves sitting on my backside (with a liberal sprinkling of research and writing in between), I like to get in at least one bit of exercise each day.
Sometimes I get my exercise in at night (swim or gym). Sometimes I get my exercise out of the way in the morning.
I opted for a morning gym session today (absolutely nothing to do with eating my own bodyweight in French cheese, plus a fried breakfast, plus a Double Whopper meal over the weekend).
I didn’t enter the gym like any normal person, though. Instead, I bolted to the front desk, flapping like an agitated swan, and asked for a pen and something to write on, ‘quickly!’
Luckily, I know all of the receptionists at my gym and get on well with them, so they forgave my abruptness.

When they handed over the pen and a blank piece of paper, I scribbled like my life depended on it, for about two minutes, let out a big sigh, then explained myself to the receptionist, who was viewing me as if I were a strange, exotic insect that had just landed on the desk.

Anyone with a vaguely creative mindset – or whose mind just operates in a haphazard manner – will understand this:
I can get an idea that solves a problem, is amusing or intriguing, or that cracks an entire client brief in one go, anytime, anywhere. The problem is, I haven’t always got control of when and where that ‘anytime, anywhere’ is.

Unfortunately, more often than not, ‘anytime, anywhere’ is ‘travelling at 70 MPH on the M25 motorway, with the hard shoulder blocked by cones’, leaving no way of getting this flash of inspiration down on paper before it leaves my head.

In the case of this morning, I cracked a client brief and thought of a great, future blog post in one go. The whole thing (in both cases) just ‘downloaded’.
However, I’d gone against one of my set rules, which is what caused me a problem: always, always, always carry at least one pen on you, and some scraps of paper – even if it’s just old receipts or envelopes.

Yes, we have phones and tablets now, but you cannot get things down (still) on these bits of kit as quick as you can with good old pen and paper. 
Pen and paper doesn’t lose power or fail to save something properly, either.

An idea could strike while you’re on a train journey, out having a meal, having a drink in a pub, at a gig – anywhere.
So, if you have an active mind, just make sure you have a pen and some paper on you, always … it saves you having to run from your car to your gym’s reception for fear of your idea jumping out of your mind.

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