Two Words Cost Me Dearly
First: I wrote the words 40-some hours into a 51 hour project spread across a week and a half.
Second: I was desperate to capture the zeitgeist bouncing between client and agency principals.
As I wrote these two words I immediately moved to delete them. But something stopped me. Was it reckless whim? Had I given up? Why oh why did I pause over “Delete”? My self-editor should have been there, sitting beside me. He was still locked in the self-editor-dungeon where he has a cot and a Folgers can to pee in. He doesn’t get out much when I’m creating.
Oh, sure. They seem innocuous—even forgettable. But as a subhead for a component of this project, they were the stalled car on the track that derailed the train pulling boxcars of produce that needed to get through right now. Or: These words distracted the creative team and hurried them down a path and off a cliff.
So, my bad. Personal penalty: pulling my invoice and attacking it with scissors and fresh resolutions. It’s a matter of integrity. It’s also a matter of retaining relationships.
Floated or Finished?
It’s never just the words, of course. It’s the trust built between creatives as a project moves forward. With some team members you are free to say the really stupid stuff and let it sit for a moment between you, even as you all know some better idea is moving up an esophagus about to be uttered. But with other teams, and especially in hurry-up mode, words appearing on paper carry more weight: not of an idea floated but an idea finished. At this point in the project, my self-editor needed to be there with his “HIT DELETE” stamp poised. Because time was flying and next steps need to step up solidly.
My point? Conversations are never formulas that work in every case. And: while creating, the self-editor needs to dwell in the dungeon, but words making their way out in public need to meet his approval. Let him out sometimes.