Jean Renoir, the director of more truly seminal movies than anyone else (look him up), once said "A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it up and makes it again."
I'm not one to compare myself to Renoir, or anyone else for that matter. But as I near having written almost 4,000 posts on "Ad Aged," one topic in particular keeps appearing.
It's simple. Irreducible. And obvious. Which is why, I suppose, I feel the need to repeat it so often.
Practice your craft. Every minute, every hour, every day.
I work in advertising, but first and foremost I am a writer.
Writers are born into a primordial swamp and asked to make sense of it. Sometimes we are asked to take columns of numbers and create a story. Sometimes we are thrown a powerpoint deck full of inchoate ideas and out of that soup we need to create something sensible and logical.
This is not about finding the right word, this is not about being precious. This is not about anything but digging and finding the core and expressing it in ways that haven't been expressed before.
This is the most important thing you can do in this business. And, most times, you have to do it alone. It's you and the same 84 keys that everyone else gets.
The best way, the only way, to do this is to do this. You practice every day. Write every day. Make something simple. Then throw it away and make it simpler. Then make it weird, strange, funny, memorable.
My ability to do this, to do this at the drop of a hat, to do this quickly and boldly, is my superpower. I can't bend steel with my bare hands, I can't make pixels dance, I don't have a compendious knowledge of the latest directors or film techniques.
But I can take a phone book and make something interesting out of it.
Because I work at it every day.