Wednesday, April 6, 2016

HOTD--an acronym.

Early on in my career I worked for perhaps the most-awarded copywriter ever.

His name was Ron Rosenfeld and he was a star at Doyle Dane during their 1960s heyday. He was, until Ed McCabe was elected a decade or so later, the youngest copywriter ever elected into the copywriter's hall of fame and was reputed to be the first copywriter ever to make $100,000 a year.

In the late 1970s, Ron and his partner Len Sirowitz opened their own agency, Rosenfeld, Sirowitz and Harper. It was, at best, despite Ron and Len's hall of fame achievements, mediocre.

I joined the joint in the late 1980s. I mistakenly thought that two hall of famers would have something to teach me. However, by that time, the principals had both seemed to give up the pursuit of creativity, favoring instead the pursuit of mammon.

Late one night I was in my office. The guy in the office next door was an older guy who had known Rosenfeld and Sirowitz back in their salad DDB days.

"What happened to Ron," I asked him. "Was he kicked in the head by a horse."

He laughed, then answered. "No, when he worked for Bill Bernbach, Ron would write 100 lines and bring them to Bill. Bill would circle three and say "sell those." Those lines were tinged with advertising genius. Now Ron writes three lines and thinks those three are genius."

The thing we must do as creative people chasing the goal of good work is HOTD, that is, Hold Onto The Doubt.

We must always question what we think, always look at 37 million options, variations and permutations until we arrive at someplace special. We must always dissect, unravel, rethink, rework, rewrite until we reach our goal.

HOTD is at the heart of all creative pursuits.

It's not resting, or landing, or settling.

The frustration I feel at times--and I am someone who arrives at solutions quickly--is that everyone is not at dual-core as I am. It can be frustrating to explain yourself and your thinking when you've already, to yourself, explained yourself and your thinking.

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