Confession to a question nobody asked.

Despite the impression this blog might give off, I don't spend all day thinking about advertising. Sure, I probably think about them more than the average person but the same could be said about people in insurance thinking about insurance. (Shit. Note to self: schedule payment for AAA Auto Issuance.) 

Even when I'm working on an assignment or brief I can't seem to stay stuck in the grove of it unless I'm sitting in front of a piece of paper, actively thinking about that problem.

This is something I used to be embarrassed by. Because the people I looked up to always seemed to be thinking about advertising. Always. They got ideas in the shower. Or came in to the office with a bushelful of concepts. Or wrote headlines in their sleep. 

I have enough trouble dreaming at all to even entertain the thought of a coherent line developing in my sleep. The closest you'd get is "Fleegzip! Grab the nozzle before the…BANG." (Second confession: when I sleep it's usually complete blackness or nightmares. Read into that however you want.)

But back to the original confession. As soon as I walk away from a sheet of paper my mind wants leap to other things. It's like a little bird collecting shiny objects. Ooo, look at this! And that! Isn't that video interesting? Does that gum on the ground look like Shaft? Yes. Yes it does. Let's just take a picture of that. 

The world, and by extension the internet, is just one big ball of distractions that I'm more than willing to be distracted by.

These kinds of diversions also happen when I'm sitting in front of a piece of paper but not nearly as often. There are times I'll find little concepts for short stories nestled in between headlines. Or, admittedly childish, doodles of horrible monsters. Or maybe just the word 'pie' written with no context at all. Not that this affects the quality of my work. At least I don't think it does. You'd have to ask my pervious employers to know for sure. These diversions probably happen to everyone but it's not a sexy thing to talk about and probably makes an employer feel like they're overpaying you because you're just off daydreaming and hours need to be billed, goddamnit! 

But I'm not currently employed by anyone so I'm living in the moment! Plus, with Twitter and everything else on the internet employers can already see how unemployable I am so I don't think one blog post is going to hurt anything.

Now, a little bit of walking back. 

There are times things just magically come to me. Not in a conscious way. In a way that scares me because I don't know where these things come from. They certainly didn't come from my brain. They were beamed into my skull as a reward for not thinking about it. (Some poet I read during college, can't remember who, said that ideas came barreling over a hill at a quick gallop and unless she jumped on it the idea would keep going on to the next person. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.) And because those are unaccountable I can't claim any responsibility for those except for having the sense to hang on and use them as though they were mine.

But I know those aren't the result of obsessing about advertising. 

I did that for a while and everything I came up with turned to ash. I was too into it to make anything good because I wasn't living in the world. I was living in the ad world. And that's not a good place because it's all but disappeared up…er, down, its own navel. (That's something be sorted out by directionologists.) So something that used to make me feel really really bad (because even back then I couldn't help but get distracted by more interesting things) makes me feel good now. It makes me feel closer to other people and further away from advertising which is where I think I want to be. Not because I hate advertising or anything, but advertising to other advertisers just sounds like a sick circle of hell to me.

Another note before I wrap things up. All of this relates to the coming up with ideas phase. When you have to be open and come up with unexpected combinations and the next silver bullet that's going to solve everything for X Corp. But when something is actually getting made I can obsess like nobody's business. I'll revise and rewrite and rethink and rework until my eyes are bloodshot and hands are shaky from ingesting enough caffeine to kill a small mammal. (Marmoset, if you want to get specific.). But revision is a completely different and we don't have to get into that now.

We can if you want. Oh? No. You're cool. This is enough for right now? Your brain hurts. Sorry. Put some booze into it and think about something, anything other than advertising.

2 responses
Its nice to see someone else has struggled with accepting time away from "work". When I know that something needs to be done I find it very hard to make myself take time out even though I know it usually produces better results.
@Dave I suppose you've summed up my point in a much more succinct response! For me it's as much as getting away from "work" as it is getting away from the mindset that everyone knows everything about the product or cares about advertising at all. Which are assumptions a lot of clients and creatives make because it's hard to get outside our own heads. Even all the empathy in the world doesn't make a difference if we think everyone is exactly like we are. (Which we know isn't true because if that was the case there wouldn't be taboo subjects or interesting conversations to be had.)