As a writer who actually writes (writing things down helps me think, helps me clarify and coalesce my thoughts) I often find I need to push away from my desk every hour or so and take a walk around.
This walking around helps clear my head. If I'm stuck on something, I usually puzzle it out while I'm walking around. More often than not, in just a few minutes I find myself rushing back to my desk--I've figured out a better way to say something and I want to scribble it down before it gets away.
Unless something is due in an hour or so, when I get whatever I'm writing to a place where I'm happy with it and I judge it good, I again walk away. I'll go to a meeting, or jump on another assignment, or even shoot the breeze with someone, while such an activity is still tolerated by the timesheet-industrial-complex.
Often, I'll return to what I've written six or seven times over the next 12 hours or so. I'll reread it, tweak it, rewrite and tighten.
When I don't have the time for this methodical type of writing, I find that I turn myself into Old Iron-Ass.
I won't leave my laptop till I've written something I like. When deadlines get like that, and I'm on the hook for something, I concentrate to such a degree that people who stop by to talk to me or ask me something, usually walk away leaving unsatisfied.
I'm too busy concentrating to ever notice them.
One of the things I've observed as I meander between drafts of copy, is that today it seems like something on the order of one-third of the people in creative departments today seem essentially just out of school.
As the old guy--maybe the oldest--in the agency, I think about all those just-out-of-school people. Us old guys are so busy now, so back-to-back-to-back-to-back in work and meetings, and it's so absolutely vital that we all must be 275% billable, that I wonder who's helping the young people.
I mean training.
I'd like to, of course. But as I said, we're all so damn busy, there's hardly a moment left in our too-long days left to be human. There's hardly a moment for the older generation to do what older generations have essentially always done--what we're actually evolutionarily-programmed to do, that is, help younger people, or try to.
We can always give more. Get in earlier and stay later. We can always give more to the agencies that employ us. But the give:get ratio seems all off-kilter. We're expected to give. But agencies seem increasingly...impecunious. With money and praise and security and, even, kindness.
I don't really understand why things are the way things are. I don't really know why the industry seems bent on destroying itself by not generating its next generations.
I do know, if we don't start acting like grown-ups, like people who care about other people, it won't be much good for anything, or anyone.