Last night was tough. I had a writing assignment that was due, was almost finished, yet needed a few finishing touches. Getting it right is important, not only so the client is happy, but also because the material could be used as a boiler plate for other needs I would have in the future, saving me a lot of time and making my tasks more efficient.
The assignment was complicated a tad by the fact that I had been out fishing for a good portion of the day. The weather was perfect with a low pressure system and a steady drizzle. However, we didn’t catch any fish, as it seems the salmon were more interested in getting upstream to prepare for spawning than they were for the laughable baits we dangled in front of them. We knew their priorities ahead of time, yet the prospect of one of our hooks finding its way into the mouth of a 30-pound Chinook kept us in the water for seven hours. Walking upstream in a swift current is a good workout, yet it is also exhausting (as is the swimming, to be sure). Add to that, anticipating a following day of fishing, I didn’t sleep so well the night before. By the time we trudged up the bank and to the rig, I was exhausted.
There was an email from the client waiting for me when I got home, asking to talk in the morning about my progress. I wanted to have it all ready to go before I spoke with him, so I had no other option. The writing needed to get done now.
Writing for clients and their audience is considerably different than writing for myself., or for the readers of this blog (bless your hearts). Both require a strategy of sorts, yet it is one thing to motivate with a following call-to-action, and quite another to inform and entertain to keep the reader engaged. Therefore, I go over the assignments with a fine-tooth comb, making sure that each word is exactly what is needed and the flow is “pitch” perfect. We’re talking about 3 or 4 rewrites, at least. My blog entries get one quick rewrite and they’re done. Writing for clients can be a bit stressful, and although it pays the bills, it is not nearly as enjoyable as communing with my readership.
To alleviate this stress, I take frequent breaks. I’ll get my mind, or at least my eyes off the subject matter, and then come back refreshed. I can then usually spot a few more things to tweak. Last night my distraction was a few hands of poker.
I didn’t stay at Stars long. I found a good table and got it in good. Drawn out on.
Back to writing copy.
After another couple hours of writing, it was time for another break, I thought it might be a better idea to see my pals at Poker Academy and play a few hands there. It’s always a pleasure playing and chatting up friends. It’s not always fun to lose half a buy-in while doing so.
Back to writing.
My last break came during those magical hours at Stars when the dupes come out to play. A $5 stack sits down to my right and immediately raises his first hand. I have AKo and position at the table and re-raise. Flop come AKQ rainbow. He checks, I bet, he goes all-in. Of course I call and he has J 10h. A few hands later my trips get flushed out on the river.
Back to writing.
Eventually, the caffeine wore off and I made my way to bed. It was late. Very late. As I drifted off, I listened to the rain, which had increased from a drizzle to a good soaker and began to focus on a steady drip, drip, drip off of a portico. I thought about the draining off of all of that I had accumulated in the last couple days at Stars. And I thought about the paycheck I would receive for my writing. My Stars account is a pittance in comparison to what I will make with this client. I cannot let a little variance bother me.
When I woke up this morning, it was still raining. I had some breakfast, poured a cup of coffee and readied myself for my client’s call. Even though slightly sleep deprived, the call went well. I received a little more direction and was confident on how to proceed. I celebrated with a nap before it was time to put the ducks and guinea out to pasture for the day. (There was no hurry as it was still a little on the cool side and the guinea didn’t particularly need to get rained on all day.)
My dear wife woke me an hour and a half later. I had slept more than I planned, yet I was refreshed. And the sun was shining! I got dressed and immediately went outside.
We live on the eastern slope of a large valley. We have mountain ranges to our west and east. On a clear day we can see the western range, but because of an ever-increasing elevation to our east, we only see the weather in that range. Today, the western range was hidden by big, low-lying cumulus clouds. The same type of clouds were to the east. In fact, we were completely surrounded by clouds, and in the middle of this circle the sun warmed my back.
“Good morning duckies!”