If you are like many modern writers today, you probably find yourself switching between several client projects a day. This might be a simple task for the less dedicated, underdeveloped writer, but not you. Your painstaking attention to detail and commitment to cohesive voice forbid you from blindly bouncing about projects like some hyperactive kangaroo. Nonetheless, you are a professional and the keys must type on.
Fair is foul and foul is fair” -Macbeth, Act I scene i
This famous quote from Shakespeare’s play reminds me of the practice of writing for different clients. One minute you’re writing for “foul”, the next minute for “fair”. But unlike the play, we don’t have witches casting spells on us to switch our mindsets. So what can we do to rinse out the “damn spot” of the projects we’ve been working on and come back fresh and in tune with the current assignment?
Much like actors rehearsing a play, take a five or ten minute break after completing an assignment and before switching to the next. During this time, don’t stay in the same spot. Stretch your legs, walk around, step outside for some fresh air. Let yourself literally leave your work behind. Consider it “done” – even if you have more work coming for that project.
Get into Character
You’ve probably heard of the crazy lengths that some of today’s actors go to in order to “become” the character they are portraying. Consider this your time to soak up everything about the business or project for which you are writing. Just absorb the company voice by reading over its existing copy. While you’re reading, keep in mind the overall goals of the company and its audience.
Start tying it all together and just write out your thoughts. Consider creating an outline to help direct your thoughts into a simpler form, then expand from there. Remember, it’s just your rehearsal, the rough draft. Revision comes next.
Break a Leg
Make your final revisions and send it off to the client. If you don’t get a standing ovation, don’t worry. Plays are performed more than once, and each night is a new chance to make it the best.
What do you do to refocus when you switch between projects? Share your thoughts in the comments!