Over the past week my workload has kept me up until midnight. I refuse to miss deadlines and will do whatever it takes to complete projects on time. But is working so many hours really a good idea?
A Misspent Youth
I am reminded of my university days when I would regularly write essays at 4 am. I had to come to realise that I was producing my best work in the middle of the night. I have no idea why. Perhaps it was because there were no distractions. Even the loudest and most obnoxious students had fallen into bed by then.
Maybe my body clock was tuned to get creative in the dead of night. But that was a long time ago and I couldn’t do it now. These days I don’t recover so quickly from my excesses!
I don’t mind working late, especially if the project is interesting, I just wonder if it is a wise move. I don’t believe that I can write as effectively when I am tired. I am absolutely certain that regular breaks boost the creative juices. If I take my mind off my work for a few minutes I always seem to have a light bulb moment.
What Has Writing Got to do With the Price of Fish?
Some of my best headlines have occurred to me without warning when I have been skiing. I can also recall an occasion when I had been festering over an angle for an article for what seemed like hours only to draw a blank. I walked away from my desk to visit the supermarket and was struck by a stellar idea whilst standing at the fish counter. It was the price of cod loin that prompted the moment of inspiration but that is another story.
My problem is this. I want to complete every project on time but I also want to produce great work. Sometimes those two goals are incompatible. Actually, I have worked so hard this week that I think my schedule is incompatible with life! What’s worse? Being a little tardy or not producing your finest work?
Personally I would prefer to write the best possible copy, even if it takes longer. The difficulty with this approach is explaining it to a client who needs their copy urgently. Sometimes I feel like I am trying to be all things to all people. If I succeed I am a hero but is the punishing schedule mitigating the quality of my work or my life more to the point?
Thus far I have never received any complaints. Except from my cat when I am too engrossed to feed him. What do cats know? They never have to do a day’s work in their life and some mug keeps feeding them.
Who’d be a writer?
I should have been a cat.