A Hundred Monkeys can get you a name in about a month. Sometimes shorter. Sometimes longer. Project length depends on the client’s calendar, not ours.

Recently I’ve been on a few projects that have extended beyond our normal timeline and want to reflect—since I have a little extra time at home—on the pros and cons of a project that has overstayed its welcome.

Our normal naming process takes four weeks. We meet a client, learn what they’re up to, name, and present all within a month. It’s the perfect amount of time—anything longer and my enthusiasm starts to wane. This is a creative issue, not a client issue. For me, creativity requires urgency. I need a deadline in sight otherwise my attention wanders which means procrastination which means the work isn’t as good. There is a reason writers wait until the night before a deadline to start writing—it’s much easier to do nothing than something.

The intellect works the opposite way. This is a major upshot to a long project. As I mentioned, I have been on several long-ish projects recently and found that I can mentally dig deeper even though I have to occasionally jumpstart my enthusiasm. I have time to analyze the small details, create/scrap ideas, and strategize how to leap obstacles. I’m not confined by the clock—I have the “power of taking hold of experience, of turning it round, slowly, in the light” as Virgina Woolf said.

I’m not here to say long projects are good or bad—full stop. I just have found these longer projects are more complex than I originally thought. They provide me time to think about every step and force me to find new ways to reignite the embers of creativity. I will often go back over notes, do competitor research, or come up with names to get me going again. 

Plus, how can I complain about a project running too long right now. I have some time on my hands.

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