Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April 22nd, 2008

inspiration

There are times I find myself impatiently, even nervously, Waiting for It. The inspiration, that is. I stare at my notes, at the client’s materials, at this pile of stuff, just waiting for the spark. And sometimes it’s slow in coming.

This can happen on my very first assignment with a new client, when that first impression is so crucial. For me, though, it’s more likely to be the seventh or eighth assignment, when I have said absolutely everything I can about their amazing product or service or patented process. When they change one detail, and expect a whole new animal.

So I have picked up a few tricks, fillers and time killers to occupy my brain and hopefully kick-start the creativity.

  • Change of scenery: Packing up and heading to the coffee shop, for a whole different set of distractions.
  • Shutting off the damn internet: sort of self-explanatory
  • Reading the job ticket: Sometimes I find a hidden morsel of previously overlooked info. “Oh, they want to SELL their product! That makes more sense!”
  • Thesaurus.com: I use this one all the time, on practically every job. “Ah, to garrote is to strangle! Good to know!”
  • Etymology: Studying the origins of words. In high school (Blackboard Jungle High ’82) I took two years of Latin, as well as Latin and Greek etymology. I’m like the dad in Big Fat Greek Wedding: “You give me word, I tell you Greek root.”
  • Reading the materials yet again: the client’s collateral stuff like their website, brochures, news clippings, or PR materials.
  • Imprinting: I don’t know a better word for it but, in severe cases, I will prop up their collateral stuff and start re-typing it word for word. The idea is to get their words in my head. I read that author Alexandra Ripley, having won the dubious honor of penning the sequel to Gone With the Wind, first copied the original novel in its entirety…by hand. The result, “Scarlett,” blew chunks, but I still like the idea.

When all else fails, just write. This is something I had to learn when I first started writing professionally. I used to think that if it wasn’t perfect on the first draft…I don’t know…that they would see what a FRAUD I was! I have since learned that you just need to give them something to react to. It’s just a first draft! It’s not meant to be perfect.

Besides, in the act of critiquing the first draft they just might actually, finally, tell you what they want.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »