I got a call late last week from a Fortune 50 company.
Not the kind of call a one-person agency usually gets.
No matter how large it is.
Without being too unduly arrogant, I'd put my copy department up against any other agency's copy department.
No matter how large they are.
Or where they're located.
After 42 years in the business, after being "chosen" by some of the biggest names in the business, I'm finally coming into being on the edge of the brink of the cusp of the precipice of beginning to get close to believing in myself.
This client asked me to re-write, to "George-ify" about twenty pages of copy.
They need it by Friday.
Only thing is, I wasn't allowed to start until I got an ok from procurement.
My experience tells me that the richer the client, the more impossible it is to get an approval from procurement.
No procurement, no money.
You learn that along the way, too.
Procurement approved my proposal 72-hours after they said they would.
That meant I had 72 fewer hours than I needed to do the work.
But like I said, Fortune 50 company.
So even though the client's "deliverables" list was as vague as a republican plan for universal healthcare, I got to work.
The first thing I do, always, is organize my copy deck.
I make a cover sheet.
A table of contents.
Any copy that needs to be written I create a page for.
I number the pages.
I choose a font and typesize and create a style sheet. How I'll handle headlines, subheads, etc.
It's good when you're under pressure to create a grid you can organize your creative into.
Then instead of worrying about what you have to do and how much is hanging over your head, you see the blanks you have to fill in.
I'd rather say, "I have nineteen pieces of copy to write," than "I don't know what I have to do."
Knowing is better than not knowing.
If I have nineteen pieces, that means each time I complete one, I've knocked another five-percent from the total. If I do six before walking the puppy that's thirty-percent. If I write two more before lunch, I'm up to forty-percent. Five more before dinner, I'm two-thirds done.
Around that point, I usually call the client.
Can we talk tomorrow afternoon around four?
I'm not done at that point, but I have a deadline and I have to be.
That's called sticking a firecracker up your ass.
It stinks but it works.
I didn't really need this work. I was plenty busy without it. But work begets work and work is a force that gives me meaning.
Besides, a Fortune 50 company.
So I jammed.
I used all my faculties to get it done.
To do it well and get it done.
I can't say it was fun.
Or that the money was particularly good.
Or that I enjoyed the experience.
But ninety-nine times in a hundred work isn't a tiptoe through the tulips. It's a flamenco through a minefield.
As the old joke goes, a man sees someone repeatedly banging his head against the wall and he asks, "Why are you banging your head against the wall?"
The man replies, "Because it feels so good when it stops."
Sometimes work is like that.
It feels so good when it stops.