It was a seemingly innocuous exercise, drafting content for a social contest on behalf of a big client. Tweet by Tweet, brick by brick, the calendar was filling up. I started a new line when I realized that 12 of the 140 characters came out far too easily – vote to win! It hit me like a tidal wave, a sledgehammer of self awareness. Vote to win? Who writes drivel like that? It’s the kind of mediocre, tired, staid language that makes me gag when I see it coming from a brand (or anyone else, for that matter). And here I was, typing the same mediocre, tired, staid language. I had excuses, sure. It was late. I was exhausted. The one tweet I had written represented 2 dozen more left to do. But those are all flimsy reasons. Luckily, I caught it. I had a minor temper tantrum, a little fit of rage that comes from knowing I was settling, knowing I wasn’t doing my best work (that it didn’t phase my trusty colleague Claudio might also represent an issue).
And then I calmed down.
I pressed delete.
I tried it again, and it sucked.
Then I tried it again, and it was better.
And then, in that flash of inspiration I tried once more. All of a sudden a modestly clever phrase appeared on the screen. I gazed upon it like a proud papa bear. Those 140 characters sang, they kinda did.
All of this, from start to finish, lasted about a minute. But it represents an important truth for me, and maybe for other creatives. It’s important to be self aware. To know when we are sucking. To never settle. And to know that bland, boring, horrible copy that gets the job done is just 2 or 3 revisions away from being inspired, fun, ambitious copy that deserves to be seen.
Content calendars will need to be filled, site copy and CTA’s will need to be drafted. But here’s to the chance we get every day to turn the ordinary upside down.