About 200 years ago I worked as a copywriter at the in-house advertising agency of the Bloomingdale's department store.
I was just knee-high to a cockroach at the time, and didn't realize what a great job it was.
First, I worked with some amazing people--including Chris Rockmore, my first mentor. And John Jay, who went onto great fame at Weiden & Kennedy.
Second, I got used to writing on demand. We had literally dozens of ads to write a week. There was no time to be precious, or not in the mood. You took the brief, you wrote the ad, you moved to the next.
Finally, I got to know a guy called Sol Leibowitz. Sol was the mismatched guy who ran the place. He made sure that the scores of ads in a variety of different sizes intended for scores of different newspapers all got to where they needed to go on time.
It was probably the most highly-pressured job in the place. But Sol was so understated about it, so calm, so experienced in making it happen, that at the time, I didn't appreciate his efficiency and acumen.
About once a month there was a crisis. For whatever reason an ad would fall through the cracks and wouldn't be ready on time. Everyone would be running around like madmen, scrambling and trying to find a solution.
You'd find Sol in those situations sitting in his rickety office chair, rocking slowly back and forth. "We've never run a blank page," he would say with the wisdom of the ages.
Today, nearly everything seems to be a panic. How are we going to get x y and z done by such-and-such a time? I'd be lying if I claimed at times I myself don't get caught up in the vortex of panic.
But then I think of Sol.
It'll be ok.
"We've never run a blank page."