Don’t Get Discouraged

I recently experienced severe rejection. Well, it wasn’t really rejection. And, frankly, it wasn’t that severe. I submitted my very first spec assignment … and it wasn’t chosen. Disappointment … then discouragement set in.

That got me thinking about the AWAI Rising Stars we read about in TGT. Those writers who get their first spec assignments accepted and are off and running toward six figures. They make it seem so easy. You can’t help but wonder … do they have some “secret” we don’t know about?

They do … but it’s not what you’d call a “secret.”

It’s something we all already know.

It’s the simple reality that we have to work consistently and diligently at being copywriters in order to achieve our personal goals.

Michael Masterson, in his book “Automatic Wealth,” reminds us that in 1,000 hours you can become proficient at just about any skill. Getting discouraged can stop you from progressing. Babe Ruth was #1 for homeruns, but he had more than his share of strikeouts. He struck out 1,330 times. His lesson is to keep swinging.

So here are some ideas to get you off the bench and back into the game if you’ve had a spec assignment turned down.

  1. Type up a letter from the “Hall of Fame.”
  2. Read other copywriters’ Web pages. Let these inspire you to build your own website.
  3. Write for local community organizations that need your skills.
  4. Do another spec assignment. Spec assignments give you an opportunity to go through the complete copywriting process, getting you even closer to that 1,000-hour mark. PLUS, you get another shot at having one accepted. Remember, you can use all spec assignments for your portfolio, even if they weren’t accepted.
  5. Read Monthly Copywriting Genius (MCG) to get your creative juices flowing.
  6. Go to www.DirectResponseJobs.com or another job-posting board and apply for something that strikes your fancy.

All of the above ideas are about Practice. Practice. Practice. It doesn’t have to be perfect practice – just practice, and you will get closer to perfection over time.

I’ve adapted the Nike “Just Do It” slogan to “Just Write It.” Just Write It, and your practice will turn into submissions … and then into real money.

In addition, use the phone book or the Web to look up advertising agencies, graphic designers, Web designers, and business-to-business consultants in your area. Call them and let them know what you do.

By taking the AWAI program, you KNOW MORE THAN THEY DO. You may not be Clayton Makepeace or Bob Bly … yet. But you have skills those people don’t have – and THEY NEED YOU! Since you’ve already done a spec assignment, you now have experience. You may not have gotten paid for that first try, but you’re in the biz – being active and making contacts.

My personal good news? The same day that my spec assignment wasn’t chosen, I got a contract to do two home pages … for $1,125. (Those 6 steps I just shared with you really work!) Three days later, the work was done and I was on to my next gig!

So hang in there and spread the word that you are a REAL LIVE PROFESSIONAL copywriter. BELIEVE IT!

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
No ratings yet
Published: January 23, 2006

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)