Thursday, August 6, 2009

Because I Can

Poster by Hugh Macleod

I’m trying something new today: more words, less pictures. In the last 24 hours I have stumbled upon two things that have really got me thinking about how delicate and complex creativity can be. I should probably be more specific. As is briefly mentioned in that side bar over there, I’m a copywriter. I get paid to write advertising. At times it has been glamorous, and other times not at all. But what has remained true throughout my career is that whatever I write, (unlike this blog), will be read by millions of people. If I think about that too long it still can be paralyzing.

Do people need the things I am selling? Not always. Do any of the millions of people reading my stuff know who I am, even a little? Definitely not. But I keep doing it because I love the process. Well, I love the beginning of the process where it’s all ideas and possibilities. I love the scribbling, and the yelps of excitement when we’re on to something great. That’s why I do it. But does any of it really matter?

I’m toying with the idea that it isn’t necessarily the job that matters, it’s that you’re good at it, really good at it. And that’s why I love the This American Life interview with legendary copywriter Julian Koenig, he’s 88 years old and probably one of the most influential copywriters in the history of advertising whom, as he says it, just wrote “really short sentences.” Now there’s some humbling perspective.

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