The perfect spot …

The other day Michelle (The Green Study), a blogger I follow, wrote about her quest to find the perfect place to write; and then park benchasked us, her fellow bloggers, to share how we “create space and time to work.”

When I reviewed my rather long-winded (sorry, Michelle) comment I thought, to myself, “This isn’t a comment, it’s a blog post.” So I decided to keep Michelle’s idea going by sharing what works best for me; and hopefully you’ll be inspired to do the same.  Here goes:

I am one of the lucky ones. A career as an ad agency writer/creative director has

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Blog tour: The writing process

Pete Armetta is a writer whose work I love. I love his thoughts and I love how he expresses them, whether it’s through poetry, short stories, essays or writingquillfiction. Yes, he is that versatile, that able, that talented. I ‘met’ him here, on WordPress; and from the very first moment I read one of his posts I became a fan. And a follower.

Here’s your chance to do the same.

A couple of nights ago he invited me to participate in The Writing Process blog tour. He’d been invited by a friend and fellow blogger. Read what he shared, with just one click.

Some info I knew, some I didn’t. But none of it surprised me. Because along with being a terrific writer, he is committed and passionate and determined.

The Writing Process:

1. What are you working on?

A bit of background, first. My mother used to tell me as far back as when I was 11 or 12 years old, I routinely re-wrote (and re-thought) ads I saw in magazines. So I suppose it wasn’t ‘news’ when I told my parents, at age 15, I wanted to work in advertising.

And it is what I ended up doing. First as a copywriter, then as a creative director — for the Montreal and Toronto offices of some of the world’s biggest

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Don’t take it personally …

I’ve been surrounded by creative people all my life, and I am one, myself.  And I’ve never known one, including me, who isn’t sensitive and easily hurt.  Guess it comes with slapthe territory.  We do lay our souls bare for everyone to see, after all.  And stomp all over.  Who wouldn’t be insecure?  So needless to say, today’s Daily Post resonated with me:

“Tell us about the harshest, most difficult to hear — but accurate — criticism you’ve ever gotten.  Does it still apply?”

Of course this could be taken any one of a number of ways.  The way you dress, the colour of your hair, your weight, your cooking skills, your breath, your driving, whatever.  But seeing as how we’re all here to share our creativity — be it writing or photography or art or baking or crafting — I thought I’d talk about how it feels when people criticize our work.

Having worked in the advertising industry as a writer/creative director for more years than I care to think about, I am VERY familiar with criticism.  While it sometimes feels like you’ve been slapped in the face, I have Continue reading

Day 276. Gimme Five!!

Yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt really caught my eye.  The theme?  “Success”.  “Tell us about a time where everything you’d hoped would happen actually did.” hifiveWell, I thought to myself.  This one has my name on it.  

One of my earliest memories of myself is when I was about four years old.  I’d been a flower girl at my great uncle’s wedding.  My dress was ankle-length, pale pink tulle and it had tiny pink silk roses randomly tacked on the skirt every here and there.  A true fairy princess gown.  Needless to say I wanted to wear it every day.  I even wanted to sleep in it.

I loved looking at the wedding photos.  My favourite, obviously, was one of me, walking down the aisle.  It was in black and white.  I am probably the originator of  the hand-tinted photo craze.  Because much to my mother’s dismay she walked in on me one morning, colouring over the photograph.

“What are you doing, Fransi?” she yelled.  “My dress is pink”, was my answer.  Really, could you argue with that logic?

From that day, I always had crayons or pencils or pastels or a paint brush in my hand.  I went through reams and reams of paper.  My mother used to tell me, even as I got older and went to school, every text book and every note pad and work book Continue reading

Day 226. A Mystery

Yesterday I spent some time talking about advertising.  It made me think a lot about the industry.  And the people who are attracted to it.  As I said, it’s very stressful, painand not just occasionally.  It’s pretty much the norm.

The hours are long.  There’s no such thing as overtime pay.  Budgets are tight, and getting tighter all the time.  There’s never enough people.  There’s never enough time.  The pressure is always on.   The days of 2-or-3-hour, 4-martini lunches are long, long gone.  Never to return.  If they ever really existed at all.

So what’s the draw?

Why do we want to work in the business, to begin with?  Why do we knowingly walk right into the fire?  Eyes wide open.  What keeps us there?

Are we masochists?  Martyrs?  Gluttons for punishment?  Into pain?  Stress junkies.  Out of our minds?

What’s with us, anyway?  What’s the common thread?  Do we all have a gene no one else has?  Or are we missing one, most Continue reading

Day 114. A Misconception

I’ve been talking a lot about writing and ideas lately. It’s not surprising. They’re my stock in trade. But I’ve just realized that there’s a myth out there, that needs to be dispelled. So I’ve appointed myself the bearer of the news:

Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, ‘Creativity‘ is not the exclusive province of writers and artists and actors and directors and fashion designers and make up artists and hairdressers and lighting directors and singers and composers and interior designers and photographers and musicians and the like. Every human being has the ability and, as far as I’m concerned the responsibility, to think creatively. Without holding a paintbrush or a pen or a microphone or a camera or any other ‘tool’ those of us who are creative, use.

Here’s a good example of what I mean: One of the ad agencies I worked for, is BBDO. It is one of those huge, international (289 offices in 80 countries, 15,000 employees), full-service agencies that’s been around for eons. Since 1891, to be precise. I have worked for more than my fair share of the top agencies in the world, so I speak

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Day 99. Been There

Sometimes I’m surprised by the success of Mad Men.  In case it’s not broadcast where you live, or you’ve just never watched it, Mad Men is an award-winning, American dramatic television series.  About the advertising industry.

Anyway.  No disrespect intended.  It’s a great concept, very well written and brilliantly cast, directed and acted.  It’s just that I lived it.  Been there.  Done that.  McConnell Eastman, a fairly large Canadian ad agency (gone now), where I was hired for the first time, could have been Sterling Cooper (later to become Sterling Cooper Draper Price), the setting for Mad Men.

So I watched it for the first two seasons, and then packed it in.  It was just too deja vu for me. Continue reading