Inside Hue: Jake Johnson - Where is My Mind? (Part One)

Inside Hue: Jake Johnson - Where is My Mind? (Part One)

This article first appeared in our pilot issue of Hue Magazine: Outset. To purchase a copy of Hue, click here

Author: Jake is a writer and the Brand Experience Director for Phinney Bischoff in Seattle, Washington. Previously, he was a founding partner at the creative agency, BAJI, and worked as an in-house creative with various non-profit organisations.

'There’s nothing more boring than a writing project. No shame if you’d rather stop reading now and move on to one of the other pieces in this issue that undoubtedly has amazing pictures, beautiful finished work, and insightful commentary about society or the self.

This, unfortunately, will mostly be a bunch of words and neurosis. 

Here’s how it happens. I spend months slogging away for clients, writing (what I hope to be) witty copy for websites, ads, and internal documents. Occasionally, I write a book with someone. I’ve done seventeen of those. During this time I’ll also write hundreds of emails, a few blog posts, and a letter (okay, never a letter). 

At some point my soul will tell me to stop pimping out my writing and do something for myself. To which I reply, ‘Hey, I’ve got a family to feed.’

‘Just quit, and write,’ my soul will say. ‘You know you want to. You know you have something beautiful and moving sitting inside you just waiting to come out and be shared with the world.’

And while all this is tempting, I strike a compromise with my soul.

‘Soul,’ I say. ‘I’m not going to quit work. That’s insane. But I’ll get up early to write, like 5am, and write a page or two a day. If I do that, I’ll have something to work with in a few months.’ ‘Yeah, sure. Great idea,’ my soul says.

Even though I really want this to happen, I think we both know it’s bull. But, for a while, I commit. I hit the sack early and set the alarm for 4:45am (because I know I’ll hit snooze).'

In a fog, I’ll rise. If I’m lucky, my sinuses aren’t packed like sausages, and if I’m really lucky, I’ll have remembered to grind the coffee the night before and set the kettle. Otherwise, I have to go without because the grinder will wake the kids, and then I’ll never get anything done.

Let’s assume this is one of those days where the kettle is set and the coffee is ground. While the water heats, I’ll check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (sigh) even LinkedIn. Nothing much going on. Maybe I’ll answer some emails. Oh good, the water is boiling.

I get up and scoop the coffee into the French press, six or seven ground and compact scoops. Pour a small amount of water and let the grounds bloom. Stare at the stove light and think about how I should be writing. Grab the kettle and finish the job, pouring hot water in a circular fashion to make sure the grounds are soaked evenly. Put the lid on, push down half way, pull up, set timer for four minutes, and go back to the computer.

At this point, I’ll open my word processor in a vain attempt to feel productive. It’s probably 5:15am, I hope one of the kids doesn’t have to pee. If so, it’s all over, and I’m stuck answering questions that can wait but won’t, because, you know, Dad’s up.

The timer goes off and the coffee is ready. Push down the filter and queue the self-doubt. Pour a cup of coffee, black, always. I sit down at the computer again and check Facebook one more time. Nothing. Let’s see, what music should I listen to? It’s now 5:30am, and the cat wants out.

I was supposed to start at 5am. Maybe I should go back to bed and try again tomorrow. I probably need the sleep. I rarely get enough.

No. I’m up. Might as well write.


Part Two cont.

  • Illustration: Bethany Baker
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