Friday, August 31, 2012

The two ways of writing.

There are two ways to write an ad, or a manifesto, or even an email.

The first way is as you might expect. It involves order, planning and discipline. In common parlance, it's writing when you have a rough idea of your beginning, middle and end.

The second way is equally important and equally effective.

It comes into play when you're stuck with a problem.

Or your partner and you aren't connecting.

Or he's unavailable.

Or you have an idea you need to work out alone.

This kind of writing is like Jackson Pollack's painting.

Let your words splatter over the page.

Don't start out trying to form something eloquent.

Just start dipping your brush into the paint, your fingers on your keyboard.


See what comes out.

See what's behind the part of your brain that's smart, that seeks order and logic.

Let your words drip.


Give yourself an hour and type. Type about anything. Don't worry if it makes sense or not. See what happens.

Then don't read anything you've written. Instead take a walk around the block. Before you come back to the page, walk away from the page.

When you do come back to what you've written, there's probably something there.

A thread to pull.

A pattern that presents itself.

Find what's good in what you've written.

And start again from there.

Maybe this manner will work for you.

Maybe it won't.

But sometimes it works for me.


Graham Strong said...

Ha - used this very technique yesterday. Had a positioning-type statement to write, but didn't quite know the position. Pollacked it all over the page in whatever order the ideas came to me, then walked away.

I'll look to see this morning what stuck.


Jeff said...

Order? Planning? Discipline? That's just crazy talk. As the least disciplined copywriter in the business, the only way I've ever known is the second one - just sitting down and seeing where it takes me. So far so good.

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