The world’s professions are littered with fascinating examples of habits, quirks and superstitions. The sporting world alone is packed with them, and copywriting is no different. As writers, the creative process can bring out some odd facets of our personalities as we strive to craft just the right words for the job at hand. In this post our team opens up about the habits and quirks that plague (or facilitate) their everyday working lives.
My odd habits tend to rear their head when I’m working on the same project for an extended period of time. For example, if things are going well and the words are flowing, I swear by not changing the music I listen to for the entire duration of a project. Checking my Google Play Music stats tells me that last week alone I listened to the same record – the B52s debut album if you’re interested – 17 times in a row. I guess this is similar to sportsmen who refuse to shave during a winning streak, except with more jogging pants and even more questionable personal hygiene.
As for writer’s block, my quirks extend to my tea-making habits too. If I’m totally stuck for where to go next with a piece, I will only drink water until I make a breakthrough. After I get a few lines down I reward myself with a steaming mug of tea. Go figure.
I don’t have any unusual habits. Frankly, everything I do is completely normal and it’s everyone else that’s weird. Like starting at the end of a difficult document when editing. Everyone does that, right? It tricks me into getting started when the piece as a whole is looking too daunting – next thing I know I’m halfway through, and then suddenly I’m finished. Phew.
I also can’t bear an empty page when I’m writing. I’ll copy and paste background material into a doc if I have to, just to have something down to work with. It also helps with keeping my focus – if I’m clicking between tabs on my browser, product PPTs, briefing documents and back to my writing I suddenly find I’ve spent half an hour reading about 17th century swearwords (I love an obscure word or three) or something equally irrelevant to what I’m working on. Gadzooks, I say, Gadzooks! Or Zooterkins… or possibly Gadsbudlikins. Love them all.
Oops! Back to work.
I don’t get to write too much these days, at least not from scratch. My main writing-related task is peer reviewing the copy that other team members have sweated and procrastinated over. Speaking of procrastination, that’s what most of my habits are related to. Like writing this short piece about my quirks.
If – and only if, because it hardly ever happens – I can’t get started, the first thing I’ll do is get up and make a nice cup of tea. Five minutes later I’ll sit down again for another attempt. Next thing is to choose the right music, so I’ll browse Spotify for a while, only to plump for my go-to trance playlist. I know I’m too old to dance to it but there is something about the pounding monotony of it all that gets me in the zone. However, when I remember that I still have to write something – usually well within twenty minutes or so – I’m quite ready. Only to realise that my tea has gone cold. And so the cycle begins again.
- Avoid the office.
- Also, multitask.
For instance, right now I’m sipping on a cup of coffee and listening to 80s rock in the local art café while I work on four projects simultaneously. And I think we can all agree looking at the quality of this post, it’s paying off.