Where portfolio students talk.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What I learned from Sally Hogshead

800 headlines.

24 pages of handwritten 8.5 X 11 plain white paper, 3 different pens, one mechanical pencil, 2 hours spent just typing on a keyboard, a couple Jacks frozen pizza's and 8 days later, it was done. 800 headlines, written. Round 1...officially done.

Many of us have written headlines in the droves before. 100, 200...maybe even more. Cranking them out at 3 am. on a weekday night, knowing full well you had to be at some bill-paying job at 8 in the morning. Coffee, Red Bull, a fresh bag of crack-cocaine, pick your assistant. But you figure it out and, you write your 100. Or 200. Or 300.

But 800: How in the hell was I going to write 800 headlines in just over a week?

The answer: by learning. Fast. I once heard an analogy that writing headlines is like walking down a hall with doors down each side, and opening and exploring each door. Once you explore the door and whats behind it enough, you move on to the next door and explore the ideas behind that one.

What this experience taught me, is that I ought to be running down the hall and flinging these doors open. Take a quick peak around if need be--and then bolt to the next one. Speed = volume, and with more volume you explore more ideas, and more possible fruit for a killer headline. I once felt it was important to make everything you write, at least mildly crafted. And while I may sort have done that--I tried not to do it for very long. I simply couldn't afford to.

So that's my tiny molecule of wisdom I offer to anyone willing to listen. Run. Take your time when you feel you need to, but as Sally has said before: Mediocrity is relentless. Be the tortoise. But be the hare too. After all, this is just round 1.

Thanks for reading. As always, your thoughts are always appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree with that method. Instead of one ditch dig a bunch of small holes as Mr. Sullivan says. Wish I had participated.

americanmidwestsamurai said...

There's a thousand different ways to skin a cat, I'm sure.

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