Figure representing a hand-written paper on how to write a newspaper ad by Luke Sullivan, where the author describes strategy he used in writing an ad. Also on the paper is depicted a man lying down and writing something on a paper having an anvil on his chest.

Figure 2.1 I was glad to be asked to contribute my creative process to a series of ads on behalf of the National Newspaper Association.

2The Creative ProcessOr, Why It's Impossible to Explain What We do to Our Parents

Is this a great job or what? As an employee in an agency creative department, you will spend most of your time with your feet up on a desk working on an idea. Across the desk, also with his feet up, will be your partner—in my case, an art director. And he will want to talk about movies.

In fact, if the truth be known, you will spend a large part of your career with your feet up talking about movies.

The brief is approved, the work is due in two days, the pressure's building, and your muse is sleeping off a drunk behind a dumpster somewhere and your pen lies useless. So you talk about movies.

That's when the project manager comes by. Project managers stay on top of a job as it moves through the agency. This means they also stay on top of you. They'll come by to remind you of the horrid things that happen to snail-assed creative people who don't come through with the goods on time.

So you try to get your pen moving. And you begin to work. And working, in this business, means staring at your partner's shoes.

That's what I've been doing from 9:00 to 5:00 for more than 30 years—staring at the bottom of the disgusting tennis shoes on the feet of my partner, parked on ...

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