One of our copywriters asked for a chat the other day.
He’s very talented. But quite inexperienced. And looked rather anxious.
“It just feels like I’m winging it. And, worse, that at any minute now I’m going to get found out.”
Not the most sensitive response to an earnestly expressed insecurity. But I couldn’t help it; perpetual moderate fear is the natural state of a creative.
For example, here’s a potted history of my own career thus far.
I started by worrying I should be better with words.
Then I worried I should be more imaginative with visual ideas.
Then I worried I should be smarter at strategy.
Then I worried I should be more into digital.
Then I worried I should be a more inspirational manager.
Then I worried I should be giving more insightful direction.
Then I worried I should be down with social media.
Then I worried I should really be keeping up with my writing.
And that’s just the macro layer of generalised disquiet.
Then add the day-to-day mild sense of panic every time you get a new brief.
Despite the fact you’ve never failed to come up with something viable before, at the end of that first day you’re convinced that this brief is utterly impossible.
Right up until the following morning when suddenly it isn’t.
Of course, I explained all this to our copywriter – both to reassure him existentially and to reassure him I’m not a sociopath.
And then I left him with this gnomic slice of advice: only worry when you stop feeling worried.