Saturday, January 31, 2009

Strong will & relentless struggle…melts even GOD

We can’t measure the power of our will which has roots in our belief of God. Call him a superpower, or someone who rewards our sincere karma (work), if you please. Often help comes at the least expected time: towards the most exhaustive moment of a situation of our life. It’s really, really tough to believe that help comes at all. But it will; if we believe sooner or later.

I was disillusioned with my earlier job and quit it with the hope that I would make it big in big private schools in the cities. But to my utter surprise I was slowly but steadily drawn into writing through various events that were a kind of surprise to me even today. Here is how…

After groping for a while, I remembered what the university reader I met on the train suggested. I tried to get into Medical Transcription unsuccessfully; but somehow luckily got into a publication. I met a copywriter who had an NGO (Aids rehabilitation) whom I was interviewing in the magazine, he told me to try out in advertising. I sincerely tried without any mentor in my entire career. Thus my dream of becoming a copywriter is at last fulfilled.

In the Secret Door to success there is a quote from Exodus 5:18 in the second chapter:
"There shall no straw be given you, yet ye shall make bricks without straw."
The people of Israel were under great oppression under the cruel taskmaster, ruler of Egypt. When Moses and Aaron requested pharaoh to release the children of God, he even made their life much harsher by asking them to make bricks without providing them straw.

Under those trying circumstances the people were horrified with this new rule and prayed to God, and God the father assured them that they make bricks even without the supply of straw (HE will wait and watch if they face the situation and work hard, and he would sure supply the straw) and they would survive the hardship.

How is it possible? For God everything is possible. The author puts it that it is actually our thoughts that make them. The fear, doubt, the self criticism of our own and others make us a failure even before we start. So be positive and visualize as if it’s happening, for sure.

Here the author narrates few real life instances where it was proved beyond doubt that belief in oneself and God makes them more confident and eventually wins. The author explains about how Clara, Lettie have witnessed the miracles happen in their lives. Read on… the second chapter of Secret Door to Success

Saturday, January 24, 2009

If I were to interview a candidate for a copywriter’s job!

Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for and you’ll succeed ---- Sydney Smith

I recently attended an interview with a big agency’s creative director. I agreed to it with lot of trepidation having tasted a quite bitter experience long time back.

My biggest problem is to carry those odd old print-outs of the only good campaign I did to a reasonably good real estate client. Show these pieces time and again and tell the same answer that I didn’t work on the big brands, ‘cause I couldn’t get a break in the big agencies to lay my hands on one. The scorn on their faces and the careless shrug that says it all about my portfolio scares me most.

The creative director asked me to show some work and I nervously fished out (by mistake) an old file where I stacked my old ads which I did ten years ago. Luckily when he chanced upon one ad which I feel was a good one, and told him that I liked the headline very much (which says “Men of will chase the fate” for an automobile). I told him that I wrote the headline under terrible depression, because I’ve been chasing the good old dream of becoming a good copywriter. He got little shocked if that phenomenon is a regular one. I assured him it won’t be so now, as I’m more matured in confidence.

Before I show my big campaign which I held in my hand, he blurted ‘okay, we’ll call you soon’. I helplessly tucked it back into the cover in which I brought them. And, began thinking of the ordeal of driving back to my home on my trusted two-wheeler back. This one is the lone witness to my frustrations, depressions after each interview and bears with me each time I kick start it very hard to vent my anger.

My question to all interviewers is: how do you interview a writer, copywriter per se, at least an aspiring one?

How do you make a person who trots to your office in search of a job comfortable?
Do you care to ask him if a glass of water to quench the thirst?

If I were in their shoes: I would make the person feel at home before asking anything. If possible treat him or her to a cup of tea or coffee. Or else if the office is too rigid, I’d take him or her to the nearest cafĂ© to get little breathing space and make things bit informal.

I would like to know why and how one is into copywriting. What makes him or her copywriter and the specific reason to be in, and ask why not in other genres; and get to elicit much more information about the candidate’s aspirations and dreams?

While looking at the work, ask him why and how he chose that headline or visual.

In all my discussion with the candidate my only aim is to see the real person beneath the veneer of obvious appearance and the profile showcased before me. That I can gauge by allowing him to talk more by asking many questions about advertising, copywriting and the person’s calling into it.
(Unfortunately, advertising in India has been made out a profession for rich guys and gals (creative department) who can flaunt branded clothes and who can throw tantrums at the drop of the hat for no reason and, who show least respect to anyone except themselves in the vicinity)

I know for sure every struggling writer has a lot to say. I have so much to say about my encounters in my journey through copywriting, though. Allow the candidate to speak more. The whole discussion should be tuned with an informal air and lively chat with a genuine interest to listen with attention.

If I see any passion in the person and if I feel the candidate needs a genuine support to realize his or her passion I would consider him or her.

David Ogilvy entered advertising at the ripe age of 30+, and went on to become one of the greatest copywriters of the world. In contemporary world, he wouldn’t have had a chance to find a job in advertising - given his dabbling in other fields as a salesman and stuff like that.

Everyone makes such a fuss about the dummy profile to be showcased at the interview. How does one get to make a good profile when one doesn’t have the luxury to work with a good art guy, let alone know one? All those who can’t make one great dummy profile can’t be good copywriters, or are you sure that the one who cooks up a profile is a great material for a hot shot copywriter? Even to make a dummy profile also we need the help of a good art guy to help us with the same fire in the belly to make big.

Let’s not lose out any more talented people who knock on the doors of advertising - without maybe formal training, without adequate experience, but with a real passion for advertising. Maybe this is an utopian dream to be real - of making big by sheer passion without being politically correct in the contemporary scenario –having a dummy profile and nodding one’s head with a servile smile… et al.

But maybe, if the people at the helm become more flexible (human) and come down from the high pedestals and talk to ordinary mortals with aspirations. See if the person is thrilled about life around and never stops learning from it.

In writing, it is far easier to write some article you’re interested in and get it published. That builds your profile, a couple of articles, I mean. But in adverting you ought to have a published work of ad campaigns, or a dummy work of big brands. If you take a print out of the copy you dish out and show and you know where it goes.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Secret Door to Success - Book Review

My journey through Life
Friends I wanted to share few of my thoughts with you as I was reading a good book gifted by my friend. I felt so happy that these books are of immense use to look inside and take immense courage and spirit to do the impossible. I can’t but share my own experiences of life as I journeyed through, while reading. I feel each ones (yours and mine) experiences are invaluable to know about and take inspiration from each other.

Currently I’m reading a great book –The Secret Door to Success by Florence Scovel Shinn , which is a real life illustration of embracing success through our day to day life activities and beliefs. How each tenet of us builds the tempo for success and happiness.

Our Words resonate… can you hear the echo?

Life takes a beautiful turn in myriad ways. Wonder how? It is in ways unexpected and unimaginable. But the catch is to open our eyes to look around, and the child-like enthusiasm and curiosity to follow our heart.
I was traveling back home in a train with my wife along with my son who was at that time 6-7 months old. I saw a young man who was reading a book in hand and I asked him what that book was and asked him what he does for a living. He politely said he was a reader at CIEFL, Hyderabad, and he was traveling to Vizag to meet his wife who was a consultant with corporates teaching them English language and soft skills. (We suppress our instincts when we feel like talking to someone but keep quiet; we might miss great personal anecdotes or a good useful advice)

He said another thing that his wife’s earning more than him with two to three sessions of seminars a month. That gave me an idea of how different careers can be. I only know about govt. jobs and private jobs of 9am-5pm kinds.

Excited I asked him if there are there any opportunities for a science post-graduate like me who was so interested and passionate about English. He replied ‘you can try Medical Transcription which is going well in the current scenario’. I asked him what it was and he explained that it was all about the dictates of the doctors in US which needs to be carefully typed. Determined I would give it a try, I thanked him.
The first chapter of the book –Secret Door has a quote from the book of Joshua:
"So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets; and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city." -Joshua 6:20
When the people shouted with great force the walls of Jericho were broken. This quote from the bible must have been heard many times; but did it make any difference to us earlier? If laced with a real life story where a life has been transformed by acting on this principal makes us more convinced and inspired.
Here the author illustrated with beautiful real life incidences where and how one’s words have impacted life. The author particularly made effort to tell the person whom she encounters and tells him/her how significant it is to change our attitude towards what we speak.

In the first chapter where the walls of Jericho were broken, they symbolically represent to the walls we built around us through our bad experiences and unpleasant circumstances; or the way we sucked up through our natural human viles like greed, envy in a very clear way with practical examples how taking the right action, one is transformed and the walls broken. She literally changed lives through some kind words of encouragement and actions –by giving few good books to them to take inspiration.

This proactive spirit to come to the rescue of people is very important. Mere knowledge unfortunately isn’t enough to thwart the dogged notions - the Jericho walls we built around us (I’m overwhelmed to know the impossible things happened in lives!). But acts of love and concern through kind gestures and words change the person, indeed, as we witness in the book.

Here Joshua too exhorted the people who’re tormented of oppression and helplessness; God took pity on them and sent Joshua to resurrect them. Similarly, we too should be ready to act on a good advice through a good book, a good human beings’ sharing, and sometimes through a good drubbing (baring the facts before him/her alone with them) by our parents and friends, on the wrongs we commit. Thinking that as a message from God himself.

The words what we speak does matter. Even if the world is harsh to us, we shouldn’t talk about it bad. I mean keep brooding about it. As we speak ill about others we are drawing a sense of negativity into us. Rather we concentrate on the good in the world and choose to speak about it a lot and we sure attract the good from the world around. This fact is slowly seeping into my being and started taking little, little roots…

As I write this post, I feel it’s a message to me to break the walls of Jericho within me which were formidable hindrances to my happiness in life and the cynical feelings I harboured about some bad experiences in life. Yes, true it works and I’m seeing a positive change in me: I smile more, more at problems; and the sulks getting lesser.

Go... see how many lives are transformed and how they embraced success in their life through change of attitude in the book which is world famous since the early 20th until now. You can find this book in library and bookstore .Pls. check it up for yourself.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A jolly treat to the low spirit

– Happy New Year!
The New Year 2009 shouldn’t appear any different like all the years passed by, if we didn’t really notice it and took time to ponder what is in it for me and how should it matter to my day to day living. Maybe we (all the mortals like me) are so afraid that being organized calls for greater sacrifices or the seemingly impossible trying circumstances and the feelings that hold us back. So, why try and add another one to the exhaustive list.

I’s and is an unorganized person, all my life. Howmuchever I try to fix it up I couldn’t and there’re n number of excuses to throw at for not doing this or that. And the impossible way out in the vicinity (perceived) made me an eternal procrastinator and eventually an under-achiever, given my talents.

As I’m reading through several blogs of newbies who’ve seen tremendous success in the past year and heard many a testimonials achieving the targets and goals they had committed to, in much debilitating circumstances than I was in, goaded me to try it out. After all, I felt there is nothing wrong trying an instinct and find out, like all leaders do.

How should I do it? How should I start shaking off this lethargy and this feeling of gloom of not reaching anywhere in copywriting – the dream of working with big ad agencies is not happening, as I realized it needs more than sheer talent to survive in the big mysterious world of advertising? And the depression that pains a lot? Read it as another excuse!

At last, I felt I must put an end to this mess and start taking up the opportunities that come along. When we take first few steps help would come from heaven through a Samaritan. I felt it is time to rekindle my confidence and energies and look positively at things. Thanks to some kind words from a friend
–Vivienne Queck who said… “you can be a good copywriter and I want to make you a copywriter-blogger if you so choose”. These words came as a blessing in the New Year. And those words made me write this post in my blog which was languishing since Sept last year. I felt if, only if, I realize what great things happened in my life in the past year despite my low efforts and plain laziness…

Here I count my blessings
If at all we care to count our blessings which we received through family and friends and from others, this sense of time and the beauty of life will dawn on us.

Yes, in order to appreciate the year we entered we need to recall the wonderful things we received, and we never cared how precious they were, and how important they’re to us, last year. And again, how awful our lives could be without them!

For this to happen a questionnaire does help us. My good frined Vivienne Queck,, who has been a source of strength for me morally. At First, when I read her post I thought who would go through and who has time to answer these lengthy questions.

Now, as I wanted to write this post and want to commit myself to some planning through this to my friends, I realized how important they’re to have a proper perspective to understand the value of time and life.

It is immensely useful, and I recommend this questionnaire to give it a ten minute thought. Possibly be kept in front of us to see them each day and record some of the life’s feelings and observations so that we can have a different perspective about life each day.

Answering the first question: What was the biggest triumph in 2008, hmm…as I remember it is the realization of the blogosphere’s existence and its immense benefits.

Vivienne Queck opened my eyes to the great world of blogosphere; and in return I came to know and read about such great people who immensely impacted my career: to be specific, to hone my skills in writing and how to write better by carefully reading their blogs.

I thank all the people who painstakingly write great posts (which I think humanly impossible to my imagination unless driven by a strong force – The Almighty) each day and make our lives much more meaningful and happy!

The greatest gift I received is the Bible from another great author –Kristen King of which we keep it close to our heart. Not very often we receive gifts from people from abroad!

Besides the greatest gift I received from a stark stranger Mr. Bokjae who blogs at designing this blog for me with love. He still looks after it at an elderly age with a wife who is a heart stroke survivor. He is so nice and so helpful and I need to be like him in my life. Now I proudly own a blog and get to know all of you!

And the most important thing is the love of my wife and son who are constant source of help for me, and the gift I received from my wife – the laptop which I like very much and it works so well.

I want thank Mr. George Lenard, USA, who gave me a small overseas job to be written and paid me dollars for the first time in my life. Thanks George!

Last but no the least I want to thank the Almighty who’s protected me, my family and every dear one from all dangers and kept me alive and without whom I would’ve perished long ago.

I want to thank those who hurt me not intentionally (hope there’ll be many more this year!), though; without whose dressing I wouldn’t have had the courage to take some very hard but decisive decisions in my life.

Living to the full

Often I grumbled away so much time with petty matters. I fretted so much about certain things that’re not happening as I wished. I should’ve had taken the alternative step rather than being depressed and waste away precious time.

I blissfully squandered so much time talking ill of my colleagues who was indifferent to me without realizing he/she would be normal if I kept quiet at that time without thinking deep into the incident.

Now I want to smile no matter what the problem I face. I want to be a different person altogether rubbishing all the bad vibes of others as just a passing phenomenon and will be different if I buy some time by smiling at them.

I want to wake up and thank God for keeping me alive. Plan my day in advance to make the most of it. I wish to read Bible a lot and take strength from it more often.

I wish to write regularly sharing my thoughts here: about my life, my calling and about every beautiful aspect of life and blessings I receive each day.

Thanks to the great authors, writers who own phenomenal blogs whose inspiration is monumental to my writing and my intellectual wellbeing every day.

I wish to make lots of money through freelancing and make sincere efforts to achieve this goal to be rich by the end of the year.

How do you want to spend the year ahead? What are your goals and ambitions? Pls. check the questionnaire in for your inspiration and share your dreams!