19 November 2008


It's been a really busy time at the nine to five and I feel like I'm running out of words. Today however, there was a small reprieve... a 700 to 800 word article has morphed into a table with just a headline and an intro, saving me anything up to 600 words.

It was tempting, I must admit, to blow it all in a phone call to Bear (my best friend who uses at least three times as many words as me); or waste it on random lyric generation as Georgie and I made dinner. But I think I'll get better mileage out of writing rather than speaking. At least here I can monitor the number of words I use (120 to here) and maybe save just enough so I don't go to bed speechless.

When I first started out as a copywriter, I found myself at odds with the writer's need to have thing 'just so'. If I wasn't working with a black Artline 210 on an A3 pad of bond paper, all I could think about was not having a black Artline and a pad of the starchy bond. If it was too noisy I grumbled, if it was too quiet I turned my music up. The writer in me was a wanker and I have very, very little time for wankers.

But then one day I read about a legendary copywriter named David Abbott. He was the man behind the award-winning print campaign for The Economist (which I think inspired the brilliant bush-shelter campaign for the Financial Review) and he said that to write these ads he needed to draw up a page of perfectly ruled 10 x 3 boxes with (if I recall correctly) a particular red pen before he could begin. (293 words)

Now when it comes to copywriting, I am not a hair on David Abbott's little finger; but he changed the relationship between me and the writer forever. In just a few words he made it OK for me to have a ritual around my work, and that needing one didn't make me a precious little tosser.

I don't need bond paper anymore and I could write in a thunderstorm (like the one happening outside right now), but still I can't think straight without an Artline in my hand. (381 words)

Now if I finish now, I'll have just enough words for two minutes of pointless chatter with George before turning out the light. Nigh night. (413)

No comments:

Post a Comment