The snick of the penpoint across the page is proverbial. Familiar, like a casual friend. It’s been awhile. But he’s back. And it feels good to hear him. See him. Sense him. Be wary of him. (The pen can get a guy into trouble. And that may be happening right now…)
This morning in The Extra Hour that comes with the first dawn of Daylight Time’s death, I’ve been making coffee.
Preparing to make coffee.
Readying the little pot for when my little wife shuffles up the stairs of our little home and into the little hours of the new morning.
This Extra Hour brings bonus time for focus. But…on what?
The diminutive details.
Like the spoon in the espresso-grind bag of dark-roast Hispanic-heritage coffee that folks routinely mistake for Cuban but was founded by an entrepreneur Spaniard and is as American as the Brooklyn Bridge and born in the Bronx.
In this silvery spoon, the dark, powder-fine grains of deep-brown black heap to a precarious peak and hold before dropping into the filter.
Why is it I never noticed that except here in The Extra Hour?
And speaking of The Extra Hour, the kitchen clock has been losing time. Like, maybe it’s trying to get that hour back.
I go and grab a double-A battery from the place where I keep the recording gear. I take that battery to the clock and replace the old one that’s there.
The old one has an unusual, unidentifiable label. It’s some imported battery brand not available to the general public and is sold only to the manufacturers of a giant-faced clock that is operated by a tiny electric motor fueled by the second littlest of the standard-size single-cell cylindrical dry batteries known to man.
It is also double-A trash. “Thunk” into the can.
It sounds as if it struck soft into yesterday’s damp coffee grounds.
And the snick of the penpoint across the paper in The Extra Hour brings a question: What now?
And what does this have to do with advertising anything?
Do you find yourself challenged by trying to create copy that’s surprising, engaging or is candy to the ear?
Try paying big attention to little details.
For a moment, forget the sell and focus.
Drill down into the sounds and the sensations.
Just take a breath and…
This is not a meditation. This is a moment.
A moment is a brief period of time.
It is also a force in physics. For example, the force it takes for an object to resist inclination and return to position is called a righting moment.
But here, let's call this our writing moment.
Take that moment to hear what happens.
Feel the space.
It is rich with the subtle force of soft sensations and quiet things going on--even in a crowded room.
(Why do so many writers like working in cafés and bars? It’s not because they’re quiet…)
There is a copy culprit to whom we all fall victim.
We don’t take the time. We’re losing minutes. We rush into the creation of busy words that fill the space instead of filling the ear and on into the heart.
It happens in so many ways. A lack of care. A lack of question. A lack of sight and sound.
We ask ourselves, How hard can we push this motivational boulder over the top so it comes crashing down on our customer, smashing into the crazy conviction that there has never been a better time to rush in and buy now.
That is, after all, the common question.
But it yields an answer that nobody needs.
It’s not the question the customer is asking.
Right now, our culture is awash in noise.
Everyone is shouting.
Nobody is listening.
So shut down your computer. Take a pen. Grab some paper. And…
Scribble the words--the ones that come when you start to feel the room and see the shapes and feel in your gut the whims being whispered at you.
Grasp the gold that’s just lying there for the taking and see how it suddenly informs your mission--which may not even be yet defined.
That is, after all, how we ended up here in The Extra Hour...
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.