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Quinn McDonald : Riding a Motorcycle

Creativity — Just Like Riding a Motorcycle

By Quinn McDonald

While out taking a ride in the break between rainstorms, I realized how much riding has in common with being creative. Both give you a huge sense of freedom. Both are fun, dangerous, risky and make you nimble. Neither is boring. Common riding rules can also apply to creativity. Like this —

  1. Give the narrow mind a wide road. (My father, who rode a motorcycle 80 years ago, taught me that rule.) Whether it's a car driver that hates motorcycles or a co-worker who doesn't want to consider any ideas other than his/her own, leave a lot of room around an angry head.

  2. Don't look right in front of you, look where you want to go — the bike will follow. Short-term planning is helpful, but unless it's linked to long-term plans, you'll wind up in the ditch.

  3. A moving bike wants to stay upright. A bike that isn't moving wants to fall over. Keeping your creative project in forward motion keeps you moving toward your dreams, your goals, or just the end of a difficult project. Take some measures to keep moving — whether it's downshifting to keep rolling or upshifting for a smooth ride, forward motion helps keep your feet on the pegs, not dragging on the pavement.

  4. If you come across a big obstacle in the road, and you can't avoid it, slow down until you are close, then gun the engine, stand on the pegs, and accelerate over it. No creative project comes without obstacles. Don't act until you get a grip on the problem, then get it over with as fast as possible. Standing on the pegs keeps the bike from tossing you off when you hit the obstacle. Keeping your balance when you power over that creative obstacle is also good idea.

  5. Stupid hurts ® is the motto of the Honda Riders Group. I hate the time it takes to put on boots, a helmet, and gloves in case I dump the bike, but I do it. In a creative project, shortcuts almost always undermine the result. It's not fun to sweat out the right answer, but you feel great when you see that the time was worth it. And creativity is always worth it! •

© Quinn McDonald, 2007. All rights reserved.

Quinn McDonaldQuinn McDonald is a writer, artist and certified creativity coach. More »