To write or not to write?

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I got this. 

Nothing will stand in my way of becoming a freelance copywriter. I had a calling and I answered. End of story.

Over the last week, I have been looking over things to find mistakes. One stands above all others. 

My goals. 

I have not really set down a specific set of goals. Well, I have, just not obtainable. 

Correct that, they are obtainable, the path to them though, is cluttered. O.K., its beyond cluttered, its a trip hazard waiting to happen. If I don’t get it corrected soon, I am going to fall flat on my face. 

I’m just glad its still daylight out and I can see the obstacles in my way. 

I have to turn in an assignment for class, work on a project for Audio Out, and my About page for my website, but tonight, I am going to start the first step of getting my goals in order. 

1) Whats in it for me?

This one is pretty self explanatory. What am I going to get out of it? What am I passionate about? Why do I want this? 

2) WRITE THEM DOWN!!!!

There are many goals in my head. Most have swirled through my head for so long, I didn’t think I needed to write them down. Wrong. Writing them down, helps the chances I will stick to them.

3) Make them manageable.

Make enough money to work for myself is just too broad of a goal. Breaking them down into smaller more achievable goals will help obtain the main goal.

After I have thought about and written down my goals, the next hurdle to overcome is the execution. I will have to stay on track to keep to my goals. 

4) Daily reminders

Put a chart or mind map of your goals up so you can see them daily. Add a comment to each goal on why you want to achieve it. 

5) Commit

Like my commitment to being fit, I need to commit myself to being a writer. No more complaining about how hard something is. No more using “I don’t know how” as an excuse. 

I am in several very helpful, knowledgeable groups on Facebook. They keep me sane and on track most of the time. I will admit, some days are just harder than others. But such is life. 

I would like to see the light at the end of my goal tunnel, but I know I will be reassessing and reevaluating my goals on a daily basis. I think this will be a great motivator also. As I achieve one goal after the other, I know some goals will change. 

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

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So this website is being a royal pain in my ass. I’m pretty tech savvy, but the scope of this project is pretty daunting.

The layout, the design, the theme. The only thing I am really sure about is the content for my pages. Doh, I’m a writer. 

Widgets, plugins, and customization are enough to drive anyone to drink. 

I’m pretty sure I would have it completed by now, but I live in Illinois. My friends who are all union workers are now laid off. There is probably 14 inches of snow on the ground, and as I type this up, it is again snowing.

Most of my time has been spent shoveling and riding on my snowmobile. Finally a year I can use it more than 7 times. 

The only downfall to all of this, I have not spent much time on the computer or prospecting for clients. 

The time away from the computer does not bother me in the slightest. Not prospecting is killing me though. I am not far enough along in my career to be able to take the time off I have. 

However, I am a firm believer in taking sanity over money any day. Yes, it is nice to have money, but if you are constantly working and not enjoying it, are you really living?

NO!!!!

My days seem so much different from where they were a week ago. I still do my exercise routine, write in my journal, and do my school work, but it seems so much richer now.

Thank you friends.

I am not saying we don’t deserve time off, but I have a nagging sense I am not accomplishing anything. 

I know this in not true, as my journal is filled with ideas I want to try to gather clients. Maybe I have been looking at the situation to long, and this time off is actually recharging my batteries. 

I have mentioned before, since my block, I haven’t felt like writing much. I have, I just don’t put the kind of energy in it I once did. Now its more to refine my craft. 

I know it is working, because classmates have mentioned it in our discussion threads. They are also enjoying the ideas and tips I give. I am in an English class, and being a writer, I have a keener eye than most.

Even the teacher enjoys my suggestions. She will elaborate on something I mentioned to a classmate. Always pointing me out. 

This time around, I don’t think my classmates are upset with me, like in previous classes. I have always encouraged and given tips in my class discussions, but some people in prior terms did not appreciate the help. 

Personally, I love being ripped apart about my writing. If its all praise, I can never expect to improve. But when the red is there, its time to learn. 

I have decided to take a Marketing class. I have gotten advice from A LOT of different people. Now its time to take a class and see where it leads. 

I hope there is some internet marketing involved. The class had better be up to date. Computers and freelance work is the way of the future. 

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

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Wow, its been awhile since I’ve blogged. I have been really busy lately.

My research papers for school, getting the portfolio ready for the website, and working on the website. http://www.taowriting.com. It is FAR from being ready yet.

I have also had to shovel yet again, and again, and again. We have had some cold windy weather in my area. Just like the rest of the U.S.

I have to laugh at people. A lot of people I know are complaining about winter. They are all complaining they want spring and summer. They are saying how over winter they are. Well guess what? We’re only about half way thru it. Time to strap on the snowsuit and deal with it.

Even with the subzero weather, it still hasn’t stopped me from going about my daily routine. Well not all of it. I haven’t been able to walk or run.

I like the cold, but I am not stupid. -5 with wind chills of -20. Yeah, I’m gonna stay in the house.

There are benefits of being inside more. I get to write more. Get ahead on my homework. And I actually turned on the T.V. and got caught up on some shows in my DVR.

Lately, I have been working on my bait pieces. I never realized how hard it is to lure people in. When I go out, I usually just have to say hello to someone, and a conversation will start.

Now, I have to take in to consideration, I am asking people to hire me.

No one said this was going to be easy. Actually everyone has told me quite the opposite.

Spend hours doing everything. Research, writing, reading, marketing, updating, conversing, and promoting myself.

I am up for the challenge though. I thrive in a chaotic scenario. It gets my blood and creativity flowing. More so than my running.

I have been thinking about my blog lately, even though I have kind of avoided it.

I am using Word Press for my website, as well as my blog. For this blog, I think I am still going to focus on free writing. For the website blog, I think it will be more work focused. I will actually write it up a few days in advance and edit it.

I am still getting resistance from family and friends about my decision to become a writer. It is because lately, I have had to tell them no to extra activities. I am still an apprentice with my career. I am not a professional yet. It still does not stop me from trying though.

I have to watch the amount of money I spend. I have my bills paid until July, but I like to have some reserve just incase something happens. Everyone acts as if its the end of the world.

I shouldn’t be too bad off come the beginning of June. I will receive the first of my payments for the grants I have written which have been approved.

Well, I have 2 research papers, a website, and bait pieces to work on.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

It has been a few days since I have posted a blog. Monday, I received a phone call about one of my bulk mailers. It was from an organization called AudioOut, at http://www.audioout.org.

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The owner Jeff Grubich contacted me about updating his website. I have know Jeff for about 7 years. We worked together at a warehouse, before we both left to pursue separate dreams of working for ourselves. Him as a music producer, me as a writer.

My mailers went out to some local business, and I must admit, Jeff’s was not one of them. I hadn’t even realized he was as far along with his business as he was.

I asked him how he had heard about what I was doing. He told me he was at his gym, speaking with the owner and asked him about his marketing. The owner told him he had just received something in the mail and asked Jeff if he wanted to see it.

(Gotta love word of mouth marketing.)

Jeff thanked the owner and informed him, he knew how to contact me. A few hours later, he called.

We spoke for a couple of hours. I asked the usually questions to a possible prospect and Jeff asking for the mailer.

My mailer consists of 3 things, an 8 GB zip drive, a pen, and a list of 12 marketing ideas for any company. I put in 12, because there is one for each month. Most have something to do with needing a writer. Me.

Since then, I have looked at his website.

A year ago, I would not have noticed the things I did. Not so much about the layout, but about the content. I have spent hours looking at other copywriter’s websites, and eventually, I will roll out my own.

After looking at the website, I realized, I hadn’t ask Jeff enough questions. This is what happens when you are ill prepared. So I called him and asked a few follow up questions. I am now ready to tackle his problems.

It is still early in the day, so I do not know how many people will respond to my mailers. I do know, not having my website is hurting me. I have been told, just get your website out there. It does not matter if its finished or not.

I have to disagree. To me a half finished website reflects your work. If your site is sloppy and incomplete, potential clients are going to think it reflects the work you will do for them.

I have a contact on Facebook and G+ who is helping me with my branding and logo. She is an acquaintance from the Copywriter Cafe, http://www.copywritercafe.com, Katherine Tattersfield. We’ve only had conversations over social media, but it seems like we have known each other for years. She has a good read on people.

We have a phone conversation tomorrow, where she will interview me to finish up my queries. I hope to have my website up by next month. I have my about, home, pricing, and portfolio pages ready to go.

The about and home pages are the pages from AudioOut I am going to work on. I have already rewritten one of his ads, and he has already seen an increase in responses from it.

My biggest fear is, I will create incredible pieces for my clients and fail to do so for myself. Helping my clients is my biggest priority, because I will fail if I do not help them first. Word of mouth advertising is more powerful than a website.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

I haven’t been blogging much of late. Because lately, I have not been in the mood to write. Awhile back I got block, lately its been lack of motivation. I read write. If you have nothing to say, write. If you think you’ve written enough, write some more. 

Yeah, well fuck you. 

Since I got my block and took a few days off, my mind has kind of been on a downward spiral. I know a lot of it has to do with not acquiring clients as fast as I would like. This means I have to watch my pennies, or maybe even get a part time job. 

The part time job doesn’t bother me. Paying your bills and eating are a part of life. Plus I rather enjoy eating. Makes me feel good. 

Hell, even the lack of clients doesn’t bother me. Its the inactivity I am going through that’s killing me. Yes, I am writing to find my voice, improve my portfolio, and just to get some issues off my chest, but I am not as active as I once was. 

I run every other day, and on the off days I walk. I have to do ROM (range of motion) exercises everyday for my shoulders. I keep my house clean. But all of this does not compare to the 8 to 10 hours a day I use to spend working for someone else. 

I spend many hours doing research, homework, and working on the portfolio, which I use to spend working. Now, I am either sitting, or laying down during those times. Luckily, after a year of this, I have not started to gain any unwanted weight. 

I did have a mandatory writing assignment I had to complete today, my IceBreaker for my English class this semester.

Here it is:

My name is Troy. I am not on a dating site, so I don’t see the point in these things. I won’t read any of your profiles. 

Here is the response from my professor: 

Dear Troy,

Please do introduce yourself to me and your classmates, just as you would if we met in person.  It is helpful to building a community of learners!

I would also like to know how this course can best serve you, personally and professionally.

Cheers,

Dr. Manning

Here was my response:

I am an introvert, so our initial contact would go about how my first post sounds. Since I am being asked to elaborate, here you go.

I live in Illinois, I am 35 years old. I am a copywriter.

I have many hobbies, as do all of you. I like and dislike many things, as do all of you. I want to better myself, as do all of you. I want to do something that will have an impact on the community as a whole, as do all of you.

Do you see a pattern here?

We all complain, love, and think we are different or unique and we’re not. We were all made from the same mold. Some people just show more of a different aspect of something we all have.

Personally or professionally, I want to learn how to BREAK the rules of writing. I am sick and tired of hearing you have to write like this, you have to write like that. I am calling BS. If I want to write, no one should tell me how I should structure it.

I do know one thing. Writing like any other work of Art is all about getting a reaction. Whether good or bad, Art is about reactions.

The personally or professionally comment about “breaking” the rules has been on my mind a lot lately. I think I have mentioned it in a previous blog, but I am not sure. I believe we all need to break free from the restraints that weigh on us, and find our own way. Whether in writing, running, golf, or gardening. 

Happy writing everyone. 

To write or not to write?

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Musicians have the 12 Days of Christmas, we writers have the 21 Days of Christmas. 

How come writers get to have 21 days?

When a musician achieve rockstar status, they have people to help promote them. Writers are a different breed. We have to continually promote ourselves. Unlike musicians, bad PR for a writer could spell a death sentence.

Steve Roller, founder of The Copywriter Cafe, at http://www.copywritercafe.com, decided to share some advise he has learned over the years to help increase our business. On Dec. 6th, Steve started to give 1 activity a day to help build marketing skills. He keeps the cost low, helps improve our writing skills, and teaches how to make an impression on your prospective clients. He will give his last tip on Dec. 26.

Steve’s plans are to write an ebook, outlining everything he’s covered so far. He will include sample scripts, letter templates, questions to ask, positioning tips, and pricing guidelines. 

He has asked us to try one or two ideas to generate some quick copywriting business and cash flow. Some of these tips are as simple as writing a letter or how many times to make contact to ensure a hot lead. Others require some thought and ingenuity. Most of the tips are designed to push the threshold of our comfort zones. 

I have worked on almost everyone of his tips so far. 

And I am here to tell you, they work. For the potential clients I have reached out to, almost 1/3 have responded. That is a 138% increase in my normal response rate. 

I cannot tell you how many times I have implemented advise from Steve and seen my bottom line go up. 

With as much I have read, listened, and watched of other great copywriters, Steve is my go to man. Not only is Steve my mentor, he is a all around good guy. 

Happy writing everyone and Merry Christmas.

To write or not to write?

It seems a long time since I have written on writing. I think its because I have started to use this site for more than just writing about writing. I have decided to start writing within the niches I hope to write copy for. I even created a schedule for which days I will be blogging about which topics. 

Sunday — school
Monday — golf
Tuesday — writing
Wednesday — gardening
Thursday — misc
Friday — running/fitness
Saturday — holiday decorating

The writing group I am in approved of my decision to branch out from my mundane rituals. Its nice to know I have the support of so many people. They assured me I will find my voice faster if I put my work out there on a daily basis.

I have many reasons for writing this blog. To find my voice is just one. Conquering my fear of people reading my work, the fear of talking about myself, and getting my work recognized are a few more. The list is long. 

I have mentioned my voice over the last few posts. It is the sole purpose most of us write in the first place. We get tired of hearing that nagging repetitious drone in our head. Writing is one way to silence it. To relieve it of its concern. To give life to it. 

The hardest critic anyone has is themselves. Nothing we ever do is good enough. At least according to ourselves. I feel this way about my writing. It has always been a source of pride and disappointment to me. I feel pride in my work, because I know how to follow the rules. And disappointment, because no one has really taught me how to break them to improve. 

I would say my biggest fear is writing about myself. Having to put personal feelings in there. I believe this is closely linked with having people read it. Even when I am in a relationship, I find it hard to discuss some things. To write about and let people read them, well, that’s enough to make me piss myself. 

Not that I am anyway ashamed of who I am, I just find the thought of talking about myself counterintuitive and a little self righteous. Most people have their own concerns to worry about, why bother with someone else’s. Then it dawned on me, maybe to get some perspective in our own lives. 

I have my blog site attached to all of my sites, professional and personal. If I refer a potential client to a site, I know at least they will be able to find my blog page. When I write in my blog, it is nothing like what I do for work. There are some aspects of writing that cross over, but there are others that are completely different. 

Recognition is a key element in the kind of writing I would like to do to get paid. Well, all writing is about recognition. For copy, it would be nice to know that my writing speaks for itself. A client is talking with someone at a convention and the other person has heard that their company has increased revenue by 110%. They ask my client how, and he says, its my copywriter. Here, let me give you his email address. Boom, another client. 

They joys of the niches I want to write for, it that there are so many companies, I won’t have to worry about crossover or interfering with any business. Most of the companies that I want to write for are geological separate, so it won’t hinder anyone’s business. 

These are my concerns and hopes.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

This post is earlier than what I am use to, but I had the urge to write more today. I have read a lot lately on what copywriting is about. It seems everyone has a different opinion about it. I read a really good article about it tonight. The woman compared copywriting to journalistic writing. It was very informative and eye opening. Most of what she said I already knew, but I did increase my knowledge a little bit. I have to admit, that is the one thing I really like about copywriting. You get to research any topic you want. I mean ANY topic. The joys of copywriting is you get to use the same format for everything you write. My one true copy was for an accounting firm and to my knowledge they are still using my control. I have done some guest blog posts and have written a few successful grants for the town I live in. 

I really want to write for professional holiday decorating companies. The companies that decorate the city streets or homes, not the inside decorating. I enjoy decorating my own home for the holidays, so I figured it would be nice to help those companies out. In my opinion, that is the true purpose of a copywriter. To help a company grow. If you help them grow, they give you repeat business. If you help them grow, they’ll give you a testimonial and you can use that to get new clients. Then the cycle just continues until you have enough business to keep you in work and money for awhile. 

I am in midst of trying to find these companies. Well, I have already found them, now I need to get them to hire me. I have sent out emails promoting my services, the next step will be to call them. I know for the companies that I am prospecting, it might not be a convenient time for them, but it could also be the perfect time for them. The holidays are among us, and now would be a good time to push their services. I’ll just keep plugging away and calling and emailing them. Everyone in the Cafe tells me, it may be a while before I do get an interested lead, but that I should just keep moving forward. Don’t let the “no” discourage me. Which it doesn’t. If it did, I would have stopped dating a long time ago.

Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

To write or not to write?

Yesterday I had lunch with Steve Roller. If you have been following this blog, I mentioned Steve in a few posts. He is the creator of http://www.copywritercafe.com. I have also mentioned I have had some problems with find a client base. We sat down and discussed quiet a few things to help me overcome these obstacles.
The hardest part that I am having with finding new clients is getting a response from my emails and calls. Steve mentioned cold calls were not a reliable way to obtain clients. I had read this earlier while I was doing research of my own on this very subject. In the Cafe’s Facebook page, we have been discussing cold calls A LOT lately. It seems I am not the only person who is having this problem. Cold calling is a fine art.
I do the research, make a list, and than I incorporate it into my elevator speech. As we were talking, Steve told me maybe I shouldn’t be doing as many cold calls. I pulled out my list and went over some of the topics on it. Steve told me, with a list like that, keep doing the cold calls. You have everything you need to make sure you set up another call.
It was very reassuring to know that all the hard work I have done is on track. The one thing that would make all this better, is if the clients I want would take a chance on me.
We also discussed other aspects of our career I should be focusing on. I have a cold email template written up. Steve told me he would like to see some testimonials, a post script, and a little more of my personality in it.
With all that being said, the main point of what I learned yesterday was that it is ME that I have to pitch. This philosophy doesn’t just pertain to my work, it has to do with life.
Happy writing everyone.

To write or not to write?

When last I posted, I spoke of the wonders of writing, and titled this series “To write or not to write”. As you can tell, I chose To Write. When I first started out in this new lifestyle, I received a lot of resistance from my family and friends. “It’s not guaranteed work.” “Who is going to want to read YOUR writing?” “Whats so wrong with the job you have? You make decent money.”

They never understood my fascination with the written word, even when I was a child. I remember the day my older brother brought home his ABC book and I got my first look at it. I knew than and there I was hooked. Somehow the letters and pictures cast a spell on me and I couldn’t get enough. I pleaded, begged, and offer to do his chores just to get a few minutes with the book. The following year when I started school, the teacher was amazed that I was “reading” and not just learning the letters.

The snowball that started rolling down the mountain that day created quite an avalanche. In my eyes, it is like the Himalayan’s no longer have snow on them. I have completely embraced this aspect of myself. I do not even know who I would be if I could not write. I have kept a journal since I was 8. During my school days, I could not wait for an assignment to showcase my storytelling capabilities, or to write a research paper. I am a very meticulous writer and I feel that nothing I write is ever good enough, but when the papers were returned to me, there was never enough red ink on them for my liking. I found this discouraging as it did not help me develop my writing capabilities. To me it just meant I did better than my other classmates, and my punctuation, sentence structure and flow were acceptable.

On to the decision I made to take my passion for writing to the future. The best part I can see about being a copywriter is, you do not need to be an author or even published in this line of work to get paid, and paid handsomely. You just need to follow a few basic skills and express yourself clearly, precisely, and make it enjoyable.

I should probably go into detail about the program I purchased, but I feel a little background on AWAI is in order first. American Writers and Artists Inc (AWAI) was founded in 1997, by a group of talented individuals who knew the work they did was so abundant they could train others to do the same. Their signature program, AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, is a detailed manual on a very lucrative business called Direct Response Copywriting. This is not the only program that AWAI offers. If you would like to see a more detailed list, please visit, awaionline.com. The best part about all of AWAI’s courses are that you do not need any experience. THEY WILL TEACH YOU STEP BY STEP. And most programs do have a 30 day money back guarantee.

Lets not confuse the type of copywriting you will learn from AWAI from the T.V. show Mad MenMad Men’s copy is for T.V. ads, where AWAI’s is for the written ads. Many of you have undoubtedly received something in the mail for a magazine subscription. Well thats the type of copywriting that AWAI teaches. It doesn’t stop there. As I stated previously, there are many avenues that you can take your writing down. You just have to have knowledge that will help whomever you chose to write for make some money, and in return, they can pay you substantially.

I cannot express enough awaionline.com. I log into the website 4 to 5 times a day. Plus I am also a member on their Facebook page, where valuable information is passed along. Every year AWAI hosts a event called Bootcamp in DelRay Florida, in October, where AWAI members get together and attend seminars on certain aspects of their chosen writing careers. They also get to meet with potential clients to help launch their careers. AWAI also holds seminars over the phone where you can listen to some A-list copywriters, to get information to help increase any aspect of your business. Because let’s face it, when you are a freelance writer, it is your business and the more you know, the more productive and profitable you will be.

Well happy writing everyone and have a great day.