The city has the same effect on me the sea had for Melville's Ishmael. Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul--then I account it high time to get to the city as soon as I can.
There is something about the city that I find fractal. I can find in a single storefront sixty years of memories, of my youth, of times gone by, of tiny little incidents that altered and illuminate a moment of my life here even if those moments lasted no more than a moment. The city for me is like Herodotus' river. You never step into the same city twice and every bit of the city contains the multitudes of the city that lives in your mind.
So I returned to the city--and away from the breaking apart of our Connecticut home--and decided to spend some time thinking about the year that was and how I could make 2023 a better year for me, a better year for GeorgeCo., and, most important, a better year for my clients.
I tend not to take these things lightly. As my due diligence, I decided to do some intelligence-gathering, such as intelligence-gathering is as our species nears the end of the Era of Enlightenment and lurches deeper into Dark Ages 2.0
So on each of the last few days, I met with special friends of mine. People I trust in the business. People who have that all-too-rare mixture of intelligence and good old-fashioned common sense. People who know me for all my not-so-good, all my not-so-easy, all my not-so-temperate and my bad.
And people strong enough and good enough to hit me between the eyes with their view of the truth, even if it's liable to piss me off or hurt my feelings or even frighten me a little bit.
Since I became untethered from working in an agency, I live with what Alan Sillitoe might have called "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer." Being a copywriter is lonely in the most-social of settings. There's even more isolation and quietude as we work under on-going pandemic conditions.
Here's what I've thought about this week--ways of making the final chapter of my advertising life better for all concerned.
In 2023, I will:
Refuse to work with people and for companies I don't like. Remember that was my promise to myself when I started GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware company. That includes the Net 90s. It's absurd and rude to have to wait a quarter of a year to be paid.
Say "no" more often. In years gone by, I did too much work too quickly for my good or for the good of the work. I'll take an extra six hours when I need it.
Remind clients what GeorgeCo does better than anyone else. The most important thing an agency can do for a client is to clarify what it is they do, so they understand and consumers/investors understand. There aren't many people left who can do this or even know it should be done.
"The Ultimate Driving Machine," is a good example. A summary line like that is priceless. Any agency can do banner ads. Few people can capture a brand in ten words or less.
Spend more time in the city and with friends. Laughter is good not only for my soul, it's good for my work.
That's my plan.
I'll probably have to revise this by January 5th.