Long copy is a very tricky thing.
Because it’s a horrible fact of life that the more words you write, the more there are for people to disagree with.
Before you know it, you can find yourself embroiled in rounds of amends so endless and dispiriting, they make the Hundred Years’ War look like a small spat with the in-laws.
The copy goes back and forth back and forth until you can no longer remember what you're writing about or why.
Then just when you've become really disillusioned with the whole thing and decide you can’t write a single word more, they ask you to do a complete rewrite.
The client asks for a rewrite not because you’ve lost the original energy and direction of the piece.
It’s because it’s been going on so long, all the people who first briefed you have died.
A whole new generation of people have since grown up and begun working on it. And they have no idea what their forefathers first intended when they began the project.
I have a job like this going on at the moment.
Records suggest that when my great-great-grandfather was first briefed, it was a letter to aristocrats and dandies launching the first ever brand of moustache wax.
But over the years, through endless drafts and redrafts, it’s slowly evolved into an email and microsite for a leading brand of anti-virus software.
What’s most galling about this particular job is that at several points we’ve been so close to seeing it run. Then, each time, something’s come up at the last moment. Apparently at one point we had sign-off from all the clients involved , but then World War II started and the whole thing got put on hold.
Some people could get depressed at the thought their work will still be going on long after they’ve ‘passed on’.
But I realise my project is in good company. Raphael's Transfiguration. Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Tupac’s R U Still Down?
I take great comfort in the thought that some small part of me will live on through these endless rewrites.
Or at least it will if they don’t change every single fricking word.
5 hours ago