Write! Now!

Over at Copy Ideas, Robert Stover mentions the wonderful Douglas Adams quote about loving the whooshing sounds deadlines make as they go by. Adams was known for being so late with episode drafts that it was not unknown for actors to be recording the first half while the second half was still being written.

Fortunately for him, he was writing at a quaint time in modern broadcasting history where people were suitably fluffy-minded at the Beeb that they would accommodate this. That’s what happens when you fill a place with Oxbridge graduates. Nowadays, deadlines are immovable objects and you are a very resistible force. Fail the deadline and you’re, well, dead.

Robert also talks about the adrenaline rush of the blank page. I’m not convinced you produce good copy in the red haze of an adrenaline rush. The problem of the blank page – or screen – is one I’m asked about a lot. I can’t think of one single way in which I overcome it, but generally I seem to go through a process of stop/start which involves reading around a topic, making cups of tea, scratching my head and doing *anything* other than actually writing the piece. Then, somehow, I feel ready to write it and from the process of doing this a structure generally emerges. But I’m far from sure I do it ‘properly’. I wonder how many copywriters do?

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