Can someone like me really live The Writer’s Life?
The writer’s life can mean many different things to many people… but what does it look like to you?
Is it about Having more control over your financial future … Spending more time with your family … Having more time to travel … Having a flexible schedule … Working at home … Living where you want … Working when you want …
Maybe all of the above?
Whatever your answer is, I am committed to helping you achieve it.
Hi, I’m Katie Yeakle, and I serve as the American Writers & Artists, Inc.’s (AWAI) Executive Director. Over the past 14 years, I have heard that question and many like it time and again. And since I’m taking the helm of Make a Living Writing today, I thought this would be a great opportunity to answer it publically.
Now that you have read this far, you might have thought of another question…
How do I go about succeeding at my dream of living a life of freedom and independence as a well-paid, in-demand writer?
Become a copywriter.
When you check your mail today keep an eye out. Did you get a renewal letter for any magazines you subscribe to, perhaps offering a discount or free gift for signing up?
How about an offer from a bank to sign up for a new credit card – you’re prequalified and eligible for super-low interest rates?
Maybe your local car dealer is having a sale this weekend and invited you to come by. All of these words were written by copywriters.
Same goes for the ads in your favorite magazine or newspaper. The words on radio ads or TV commercials. The emails you receive from your favorite retailer. And the text on websites that sell products and services.
Unlike news or editorial writing, or creative writing, copywriting is all about getting the reader to take action.
That’s the job of a copywriter. To use words to get a reader to take a specific action.
So now that we’ve covered what it is, please allow me to expand on the most basic question of all:
Why, of all the opportunities for writers to make money, should I consider copywriting?
Simply, it’s a liberating way to make a living – or supplement your regular income – or transition from your present job to a new career or early, financially secure semi-retirement.
Your time is your own. No time clock, no set hours.
Your office can be anywhere you like -the porch of a beach house or mountain cabin, in your RV, even the corner table at your favorite Starbucks.
Your income can be good from the start, and keep getting better. Imagine being paid $500, $750, $1,000 and more for writing simple, short friendly letters about products, services or subjects that interest you. That is as real as the ground beneath you.
Imagine earning more part-time in a month or two than your present job pays all year. That, too, is very real, as you’ll soon see. There are other financial benefits and perks too. For example, the government rewards you with tax breaks – even government-subsidized vacations.
You’ll be engaged in fun, fascinating, creative activity all about ideas … telling interesting stories … helping businesses communicate and put their ideas across. If you find your present way of putting food on the table dull or uninteresting, that can change right now. I’ve never heard a freelance writer complain of being bored!
You can create real financial security – the only real security, your personal ability to produce work that there is always an endless, expanding demand for. Never worry about looming layoffs again. Escape dependence on one employer, diversify your income with a number of clients, own skills in demand by many (both here and abroad). If you have a computer connected to the internet, there are no boundaries and you can write for clients anywhere in the world. The demand for what American Writers & Artists members do is global and local, strong in good or bad times; a reliable profession.
You’ll be part of an elite, unusual society. Most successful writers are made not born, yet we are a special breed, mysterious to and admired by civilians, and embraced by each other. The bond that writers have with each other is like nothing that occurs in any other field. (One of the many benefits of membership with AWAI is this unique community. We connect you with other AWAI members and support the ongoing community online and at conferences.)
If you choose, you can use the skills you develop to help your favorite causes, charities, even individuals in need, and do good for the world. Non-profit organizations of every size and nature hire and pay freelance writers and copywriters. You can also donate your professional services as in kind contributions for tax deductions. Every group from the local animal rescue shelter to Greenpeace needs help raising funds and communicating with donors, and communicating their message to the world at large.
You will have proven pathways to follow when you begin, with AWAI as your mentor. If living The Writer’s Life appeals to you, know that as you seek this exciting life as your own, we will be by your side every step of the way! And AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is where it all begins.
You’ll be in good company
Many creative people spend time early in their careers working as copywriters.
Here’s a list of people you’ll recognize who worked as copywriters before achieving fame outside the DM world.
One name that’s missing … Ben Franklin. Old Ben started the first mail order catalog in 1770.
- James Patterson, author
- Sherwood Anderson, author
- Augusten Burroughs, author
- Helen Gurley Brown, former publisher and editor (Cosmopolitan)
- Peter Carey, author
- Gary Comer, founder of Lands’ End
- Bryce Courtenay, Australian author
- Don DeLillo, author
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, author
- Terry Gilliam, director and animator
- Alec Guinness, actor
- Dashiell Hammett, author
- Hugh Hefner, publisher (Playboy)
- Joseph Heller, author
- Russell Hoban, author
- Tim Kazurinsky, comedian
- Rick Moranis, actor
- Ogden Nash, poet
- Bob Newhart, comedian and actor
- Alan Parker, director
- Steven Pressfield, author
- Franc Roddam, director
- Indra Sinha, translator and novelist
- Salman Rushdie, author
- Dorothy L. Sayers, author
- Fay Weldon, author
- Thom Jones, author
That’s great for them … but can someone like me REALLY do this?
It’s important to know that successful AWAI members have had many different starting points. Unemployed for eight months and terrified. Stuck in depressing, dead-end jobs. In jobs they like, but can’t earn enough money from to meet their needs. 20 years old, 75 years old. Already confident of writing talent – others, doubtful they can write anything worthy of payment. Silver-tongued salesmen, small town school teachers, shy homemakers suddenly having to re-enter the work world after traumatic divorces.
You name a beginning, any beginning, and I can introduce you to an AWAI member with a similar starting place, now earning excellent income, feeling secure, doing work that is interesting to them, leading a fulfilling life … and thanking copywriting for it all!
You will instantly be part of and embraced by this entire community, too. You’ll be assisted not just by our Board of Advisors but by successful members who generously share their experience, who appreciate having had a helping hand extended to them and now extend theirs in turn. You will be mentored, coached, encouraged and supported day by day, as you first explore, then find your way to The Writer’s Life that’s just right for you.
So if you’ve been thinking about testing the waters and taking a step toward learning how to write copy, check out AWAI’s popular Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.
You have all the qualifications you need to become a successful freelance copywriter. So if it’s something you want to try, there’s never been a better time.
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Writer’s Life, a free newsletter that gives you opportunities that enable you to live life on your own terms. Whether you’re looking for a new career, looking to make some extra money on the side, or looking for an easy work-at-home career, there is an opportunity at AWAI that’s right for you. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/the-writers-life/.