Saturday, December 08, 2007

Occupational Hazard

It's going to be a very long day.

There aren't many occupational hazards in copywriting. Off hand, carpal tunnel syndrome and some other ergonomic injuries come to mind, but that's about it. I don't even leave the house most of the time; I've only had one face-to-face meeting with a client. But there is at least one other hazard.

My brother is coming over in less than three hours. We are going to watch a movie this afternoon (on VHS, how retro!), and then we're going to a concert at 7 PM (Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers). I'll probably be home by 10:00, but it will still be a long day. I've had one hour of sleep since 2 PM yesterday.

Last night I went out to dinner at Rockwell's down the block. I had a couple of bowls of chicken tortilla soup and about five glasses of Coke. I came home buzzed on caffeine and ready to work on a copywriting project that's due early next week. By the time I settled in at the computer, I figured I could work for a couple of hours and then get a solid seven or eight hours of sleep before my brother arrived.

There was just one "problem." I was on fire. I mean, I was kicking some serious rewriting and copyediting butt all over those brochures. Five productive hours later, I had to force myself to go downstairs to bed.

Still buzzed, I had trouble falling asleep. I finally did, but only an hour later, I awoke to use the bathroom. I couldn't fall asleep again. I'll probably crash around 3:00 this afternoon, but there's nothing I can do except have a few toothpicks handy to pry open my eyelids. Later, the excitement of the concert should keep me awake.

But given the chance, I wouldn't do anything differently. That's the nature of creative work -- when you're on a roll, you have to ride it out as far as it will take you. You never know when that inspiration will come again. It may not return until long after the project is due.

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