I am constantly surprised by the pressure that is sometimes exerted in order to extract a piece of copy in time. Who is the better copywriter? The person who writes without pressure, knowing that a deadline is days, perhaps weeks away, or the person who submits a piece with minutes to spare having spent the hour beforehand frantically slaving over their keyboard?
Logic dictates that the person with more time will write a better piece. After all they will be calmer, more able to collect their thoughts and under much less pressure. They also have plenty of time to proofread and edit a piece before publication. But what about the moments of genius that can occur when a writer is under pressure? Although forsaking the luxuries that time can bring, being under pressure can be incredibly liberating for a person’s creativity. A tight deadline forces the person to engage all their energy at a very rapid pace into whatever they are writing.
There is a key difference between copywriting and authorship to consider. Copy written by a copywriter has to be fast, snappy, engaged, instant and disposable, so a rapid style of writing is a must, whereas an author can take a more thoughtful and considered approach.
When considering the virtues of a pressured writing environment, there is a clear difference between being fast and being late. Writing a piece at speed does not necessarily mean that it is late.
Inspiration plays a key role here. It can strike at the most inopportune moments, but can be actively encouraged when a writer in under pressure.
Of course both approaches also have their pitfalls. If the writer takes the longer approach, they can end up writing lengthy pieces that are not concise or sharp enough. These pieces can be dull to read and ultimately unsatisfying for both writer and reader. In this case, as well, you can also fall into the trap of thinking that they have so much time that they keep putting the task off until they are forced into taking the quick approach anyway. On the other hand, if you leave writing a piece too late it can end up being either incomplete or feeling rushed. Or worse, you could miss the deadline… Ultimately it all depends on the author’s personal writing style and preferences, I fall into the latter, one-mad-hour-before-deadline kind of writing. The virtues of writing this way work for me.
Writing under pressure produces better results – the writing seems to be more gutsy, instinctive, concise, and often a more entertaining read; which is after all what our clients are paying us for.