If all else fails, run out of gas
When George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum had worked at the White House for about a week, he got an assignment to write a speech alerting the country that a serious recession was about to begin.
“I just couldn’t think of anything,” Frum told Terry Gross on “Fresh Air.” So the man who put the “axis” in “axis of evil” wasted the afternoon trying one thing after another, then went home, figuring he’d show up early the next day.
But the next morning — d’oh! — he remembered he had carpool duty.
“As I pull out of the driveway, the indicator light goes on in my minivan,” he said. “I ended up driving all the way to the school then all the way back to town with this indicator light flashing at me.”
“So I wrote the speech in which I said, ‘There’s a warning light flashing on the dashboard of our economy,’” he told Gross. “The president said it in the Rose Garden, and it was the quote of the week in Newsweek, and it led The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and it was on the Reuters wire.”
Call it incubation in action. Sometimes the best way to come up with a creative idea is to take your mind off of it for awhile.
Source: Terry Gross, “Political commentator David Frum,” “Fresh Air from WHYY,” National Public Radio, Jan. 8, 2003