David Ogilvy Is A ‘Lousy’ Copywriter

Letters Of Note is such a great blog you should be reading it even when the letters are not about media people. But yesterday’s letter is from advertising great David Ogilvy and in it, Ogilvy explains how he works.

It begins:

Dear Mr. Calt:

On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

Ogilvy describes being completely ruined by distractions at the office and instead, going home to write with research material, an outline, and other background material. He talks about growling at his wife (“worse since I gave up smoking,” he adds), being terrified of failure, and his if-all-else-fails solution of drinking half a bottle of rum and listening to Handel records. He then calls himself “a lousy copywriter, but a good editor.”

In other words, just your usual creative genius. Though with an exceptionally good alcohol tolerance.