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Creative copywriting with a stinking cold or worse

When you’re a freelance creative copywriter, you’re not really allowed to be ill – well not up in Leeds anyway. When you commit to a client and a deadline, that’s it, you do the work in full, on time and of course to the best of your ability. Miss the deadline and you kiss your client goodbye. But what if you are genuinely ill?

Right now, I’ve just finished a lovely creative job for a large brewery. It’s a great brief with lots of creative freedom, so I had some real fun with it. However, before I started the job, I had to convert the bedroom into an office, snort three lines of Vick’s First Defence (brilliant stuff btw) and then proceed to dribble all over my keyboard and sneeze my way from one inspired idea to the next.

Tissues, tea and a troublesome toe

Half a box of Kleenex Shades and three mugs of Yorkshire Gold later – job’s a good ‘un. I’ve just emailed it off and slumped.

It made me think of all the other times I’d been ill and had to work. To be honest, there aren’t that many as I’m not too prone to lurgies or accidents. I did, however, once hobble into hospital to the walk-in doctor’s surgery with a dodgy toe. I just happened to have my laptop with me. It was a good job I had because after a three hour wait and an unexpected X-ray, I was told I was to have an operation and to put a cheeky backless hospital gown on. Ooh, matron. This came totally out of the blue.

They found me a bed and left me to my own devices. Then it dawned on me that the creative copywriting job I was in the middle of had a tight deadline that I’d sworn I’d deliver to. So out came the MacBook, in went the plug and off I tapped furiously against the clock of an impending general anesthetic and surgery.

Jean Claude Van Damme, morphine and hospital food

I somehow managed to get 90% of the job put to bed before the porter wheeled my bed to the operating theatre. General was administered and I counted down from ten, drifting off at six.

Next thing I know it’s night time, deadly quiet (except the odd machine that goes ping) and I’ve a huge comedic bandage on my right foot. Yes, the surgeon got the right foot. I felt great though. Like I could take on the world. Where’s that laptop of mine? I’m gonna nail this creative and it’ll be the best thing I’ve ever done. So, I fire up the Mac and tap intently into the night.

Sheer unadulterated pain woke me. Now, I’m no Jean Claude Van Damme when it comes to taking pain and I had absolutely no hesitation in hollering out for drugs. The staff at Harrogate hospital didn’t disappoint and when the morphine kicked in, the world was a much nicer and fluffier place. It also felt like the perfect time to finish off and review the creative copy I’d been writing, which I did over a hospital breakfast – much more edible than I had feared.

Everything read well and I pinged the creative off to client. The client had no idea what I’d been through to complete the copy and get it to him on time. He didn’t need to know. All he needed to know was that I delivered quality, creative copy both on time and on budget.

Damn, I’ve run out of tissues.

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