Monday, July 30, 2012

Adjusting vs. starting over.

I once read somewhere that the great writer Umberto Eco wrote in his personal library surrounded by his collection of some 30,000 books.

That is an extraordinary number of volumes. It's buying a book a day every day for 82 years.

Eco liked to be amid his books. And he said when he had visitors he could divide the world neatly into two. There were those who immediately asked "have you read all those books?" (An impossible task.) And those who understood that knowledge can be gained by proximity and osmosis. Eco was better because he could absorb from those volumes.

I'm thinking about this to day as I am engaged in a death battle with my client.

"Just add a sentence or two from a couple of the campaigns we didn't buy. We really liked those thoughts," they say.

They are short, these sentences, but that's not the point.

The point is I've worked extremely hard to make my scripts extremely simple. It's not the number of words that matters, it's how those words are put together. Right now, they work. If I have to add stuff, they won't work.

Because adding at this point is pulling the loose thread in a sweater. Before long, the whole thing unravels.

Sometimes I believe a good piece of copy is like a mosaic or a puzzle. Everything has to fit. There can be no leftover pieces or missing ones.

If you want more stuff in there, it's time not to adjust but to start over.

You can't just add things.

That's not the way it works.

Some people will never get it.


Sam said...

Boiler plates do not create meaning.

Yet these are what clients want.

Jess Hutton said...

Thank you. Now if only they could just take our word for it instead of insisting...