What to do when you reach Cat Butt Level

Cat Butt Writing LevelEver work on a mind-numbing copywriting project that just won’t end?

New feedback conflicts with previous feedback. Nit-picky edits stemming from random opinion. Rounds and rounds of review are followed by more rounds of review.

It laughs in the face of all processes and procedures as it robs you of your sanity.

Not every project turns out like this. Some go on forever and when they’re done, you miss them (you were having that much fun). But once in a while, there’s that odd project that inspires you to do practically anything to just end the pain.

That moment you reach that point of no return?

I call it the Cat Butt Level.

As in “I’ll stick a picture of a cat’s butt on this thing if you will just approve it.”

Everyone has a different pain tolerance, but I usually reach Cat Butt Level around version 13 of a copy draft. But the question remains…what can you do when you’ve reached Cat Butt Level?

1. Go ahead and vent.

“They dare question my comma usage? MY COMMA USAGE?!”

Keeping it bottled up will only make you crazier. Because the answer is yes, they are questioning your comma usage. Or changing their minds. Or figuring out what they want. Or whatever…just whatever.

It may or may not be anyone’s direct fault, but it’s still crazy making and you are entitled to feel frustrated. Talk to a trusted colleague. Walk it off.

Better yet, blog about it. 😉

2. Consider your audience.

I’m a cube dwelling copywriter. My saying “I’m not working on it anymore” is more of a career-limiting move than if I were freelance. I won’t give anyone a direct “no,” but I will push back as to what makes sense. Especially if the feedback comes from executive leadership (read: People Who Can Impact My Employment Status.

If you’re a freelancer, you have more power to take a stand, especially if you have a contract. (You do have a contract, right?)

3. Bring it back to the facts.

Whether you’re a cube-bound or free range copywriter, there’s a matter of opinion and a matter of facts. When opinions are getting out of hand, focus on facts:

Is there a business reason for the change?

Is there a legal or regulatory reason for the change?

Is the deadline for this project in jeopardy?

Is the constant churn on this project impacting other projects?

Give the people who’ve condemned you to this debacle of a project a reason to step back and think about how important their changes actually are. Tell them the impact that it’s having on other projects and deadlines.

4. Ask the burning question.

Put the issue front and center and puts whoever owns the project on the hook for making actual decisions. Ask the burning question.

What needs to happen to get this approved?

If they don’t know, at least you know to brace yourself for more.

5. Embrace the butt.

My creative team has a large board that shows what each of us is working on and where it’s at (with Copywriting, with Design, in QA, etc.). Each member of this team uses a distinct set of magnet as an avatar so that by looking at the project, we can easily see what’s going on.

My avatars are cat butt magnets.

And I’ve made the phrase “Cat Butt Level” a standard on my team. Once in a while, a pitiful “meow” can be heard through the noisy cubicle farm. We all sympathize.

Seriously, it’s become a thing.

Find the humor. Because it can get so ludicrous, it’s hysterically funny. Enjoy it.

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