I’ve talked before about my ‘working arrangements’ and the upshot of this style is that I’m often working when sensible folk are catching up on Sky+ / Facebook / Twitter / the pile of books on their bedside table (delete as…). Those who know me well will argue that I manage to put in a fair shift on FB/Twitter but that’s more to do with typing speed and availability of iPhone than commitment to the cause.
Working at night is a strange one, being freelance already places you in that vortex of self reliance, often paralysed by the absence of ‘water cooler’ moments to gain perspective. Someone much more talented than me put it perfectly this week (on Twitter) RT @susanorlean “Being a writer requires an awkward balance of utter confidence and abject insecurity. Both necessary, neither sufficient.” followed up with RT @susanorlean “You do need the nerve to think you have something to say, but also the humility to listen, and the neediness to want to be heard.” So, so true and somehow working antisocial hours makes you feel even more of a pariah in social / business commentary terms, which is why I have to work hard to develop skills that keep me current and relevant and useful on the 2009/10 marketing communications tour.
Ultimately for me, it comes down to two things:-
1. The ability to listen aggressively and accurately interpret a client’s vision and intention
2. The confidence to challenge a client’s thinking if all other factors are screaming its necessity
Obviously there’s a time and a place for ‘2’ and it relies on a solid and honest client relationship. But without that skill I’d be guilty of letting people waste their time and money on rubbish and misaligned campaigns that not only bombed but also had the potential to severely damage reputations.
The more cynical amongst you might point a digit and wonder how I know I’m right….. my answer, of course, would be “How do you know I’m not?”