I just read The Curse of the Cliché from Harriet Cummings, in the blog post it says, “The wandering mind is, perhaps, one of the most powerful enemies of online copy.
When I first read this I mistakenly read it as “The wandering mind is the most powerful… of online copy”, and thought yes, absolutely, The mind that wanders is able to go to places the other writers, chained to their formulaic, rigid thinking, rules is rules copywriting brain.
Of course both is true, you need to focus, you need to implement, you need to ship product. And writing is a craft, you hone your blade by constantly creating, testing, sharpening.
It was Faulkner who said “kill your darlings”, perhaps emotion and ego get in the way of the words. Sometimes you have to kill off whole projects.
And that is part of the craft.
But here’s the thing, most of the writers in this industry lack a certain something. They are bereft of any spark, any sharpness of wit. Mostly because the dreadful client doesn’t understand what really works, what really grabs the moist strings of the souls and pulls them in, and so they grind out grey, regurgitated putrescence of dust.
At that point, the writer must wander, must refresh, go read comics, poetry, song lyrics, must dip their cup into the well that is purely of the human experience. Rather than a commercial goal.
Don’t get me wrong, writing needs a process, it needs discipline, it needs you sometimes to do that which you hate. Writing is not a joyous vocation. But those who hear its call must come or suffer the thousand paper cuts of the office chained wage slave.