I began working at Merrill Lynch when I was 19.
I was placed by a temp agency, and my first job there was to review all the incoming forms for accuracy: distribution forms, rollover forms, investment allocation forms, etc.
Not only did I have to check for accuracy, I had to verify the plan administrator's signature. I did this by looking it up in one of two thick binders that were packed with thousands of signatures.
Before long, I began to memorize signatures, and became fast at checking and approving the forms.
My first mentor at Merrill Lynch was Tim. He was a tall, lanky guy with an odd but likable personality.
In the beginning, I remember holding on to all kinds of "problem forms" that I couldn't easily address. I would ask Tim what to do with them. He patiently answered most of my questions.
Then, one day during my second week of training, he got frustrated. He said, "Ryan, just remember one thing:
"Keep the paper moving!"
He explained it's better to simply push the paper on through than to hold things up for a day or two trying to get answers.
I never forgot that advice. I've tried to live by it in every job I've ever had... even as a freelance copywriter. It has served me well.
You see, clients prefer more communication... and more frequent communication... than less communication. So better to "keep the paper moving" whenever you hit a speed bump during a copy project.
Put another way, whenever you encounter a "hang up" while you're writing, do whatever is necessary to keep the paper moving. Don't slow down. Don't blame it on "writer's block." Don't try to figure it out for yourself if you need your client's input (call your client!).
Just keep the paper moving, okay?