Sometimes it’s hard – even after being a copywriter for 14 years – I don’t have it easy all the time.
Often, when I’m tasked to write something, I can immediately get cracking. Words swiftly turn into sentences, which leads to paragraphs. Some jobs take minutes, other hours and the rest days, but the word-flow is constant and premeditated.
I know exactly where I’m heading, and I’m usually pretty confident that the client will appreciate my take on their product or service.
There are times however; I’m left staring at a blinking cursor. Minutes turn into hours before I write even a single line of copy, which I re-hash over and over again until I realise that I’ve actually been watching TED talks the whole day.
I curse myself for being an idiot. The client has trusted me and I can’t even string a couple of decent sentences together. Idiot!
These are the days when self doubt creeps up stealthily and I conclude that I’m not really a good copywriter after all. Then I shut down for the day and grab a… errr… cool, refreshing beverage, pondering whether I should have become a word-challenged pilot instead.
Another day dawns and the struggle continues, despite the looming deadline.
Then I stop working on the copy and start looking at the product or service I am writing for, just to see if there’s any inspiration hidden within the brief, e-mail conversations or materials.
Nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Finally it hits me. Maybe it isn’t me; maybe it’s the product or service that’s flawed in some way that my internal sensors aren’t being activated.
A weak product or service is the antidote to inspiration. Even the world’s best copywriter can’t turn a Proton into a Toyota in the eyes of the consumer.
If I can’t write a reasonably good piece of communication that promises some decent benefits to the consumer, perhaps the product or service needs fixing.
But of course, I can’t tell that to the client. Can I?
I never wanted to believe the little creatures that would keep whispering in my ears. “Go easy on your meds!” I’d say.
This week marks my full year of being self-employed. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but holy crap how time flies!
The little creatures are of course not real, they are more like my inner voices. Yes, I said voices, with an ‘S’. Seriously, the kind of baloney that goes on in my head will leave you gasping for air.
Anyway, these creatures have been insisting that I quit the rat race and plunge into the dog-eat-dog world of self-employment. I finally relented around 12 months ago, after years of annoying pressure. Damn you creatures!
Even when I did give in to the inner pressure, I gave myself 6 months. I figured I’d be scurrying back to the sanity of a fulltime copywriting job in no time. Just like how a rat would sprint toward his hole in the wall at the first sign of trouble.
But it didn’t happen; though I’ve contemplated it during numerous lean periods over the past year.
This is no declaration of victory though. I am still only giving myself another 6 months. Thinking too far ahead only makes a person overconfident I’ve learned.
To my fugly little creatures, I’m sorry for not believing in you guys. And please, forget the meds and let’s bring out the bubbly.
(as the saying goes) …Shit.
So, after all the partying, hangovers, reminiscing and resolutions; we are greeted by the daily grind.
In advertising, that means more last minute rush jobs, late nights, over-the-weekend special bonuses and new business pitches. No one said it was going to be easy, but I think we addies somehow enjoy the pain.
Here’s to another year of adver-chaos, no matter where you are. But for us in Boleh-land, don’t worry, CNY is just round the corner. You just got to love Malaysia sometimes!
Possibly what you can expect all over again this year, thanks to Advergirl: