Yo Ho, Yo Ho, The Writer’s Life for Me

If you followed AWAI’s contest on who can best articulate what The Writer’s Life means to them, you’ll understand just how individual this concept really is. Hey, I submitted an entry. I think it was pretty good. But it was abstract, very involved with ‘great ideas’ and ‘history.’ Others identified ‘creative expression’ and ‘human connection.’

At the other end of the spectrum were those who wrote in with more practical takes on the concept: canceling the commute, saying bye to the boss, or even spending the workday in pajamas. Or, more time with the kids. Or, sailing the seas, writing for money as you go. (Okay — I admit that one’s mine … see below for details.)

Overwhelmingly, the most common response was ‘freedom’ — in all its guises. The freedom to create, to work at home, to be one’s own boss, to work where one pleases. We all get it, and we all want it, or we wouldn’t be here. Freedom. Independence.

So, some of us will write annual reports for Fortune 500 companies. Others may write white papers, autoresponders, landing pages, even brochures touting the latest advances in waste water evacuation pumps. It all must be written by someone — by us.

But, more important than what we write, is what we write for.

For me, this freedom takes the form of being able to build my own sailboat with my wife and sons, a boat to become our mobile home for however long seems right. Not a yacht, by any stretch of the imagination. A homebuilt wooden catamaran, modeled on traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes. My wife and I are both ex-Peace Corps Volunteers who value being able to travel with the boys, have them experience other cultures and languages, other ways of being in the world.

But, we’re also adamant that they learn self-reliance, a set of skills that’ll prove useful in their lives. Skills like carpentry, celestial navigation, team work, problem solving, and a lifelong thirst for learning. We want them to accept the possibility of failure as the price of achievement. Who knows what the world will look like when these boys become men? We want them to be confident they can handle it.

We also want to go sailing and have a lot of fun.

A wacky idea like building your own boat and sailing off is perfect for instilling these values. There are a lot of unknowns.

Will we have enough money to complete the build? How long will it take? Will the kids even want to spend that much time with us? What will we do for money when we run out of it in the middle of nowhere?

This lofty dream requires solid grounding in practical considerations. Financing the boat-building and finding the time to build between home schooling, soccer games, piano lessons, Scouts — I mean, the list is endless. Furthermore, what about an income while off sailing?

Ocean cruising lends itself to writing; both are big, imaginative endeavors with significant obstacles to success. They both also require the mastery of very practical skills. If writing well or sailing offshore were easy, they’d lose their intrinsic value, their ability to test our mettle. I’d love nothing more than to collect big, fat checks writing travel articles or novels as we float through the Gulf of Thailand, and that may, in fact, be my fate (dare I dream?) but I want to weight the dice in my favor a little more. I’m leaving enough to chance as it is.

This is where AWAI comes in.

I first took the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting in order to understand the basics of sales copy. But, because I plan on establishing a business focused on fundraising copy for nonprofits, I also knew I’d purchase that program. Writing for the Web? You bet I’m studying it. Money-Making Websites? Passive income streams are the Holy Grail for the occasionally-employed ocean cruiser. Of course, I’m focusing on one program at a time.

I’m now a Circle of Success member with free access to most of AWAI’s offerings, including webinars and Master Classes. It’s not cheap, but it’s an investment in myself and in this imagined future life on the boat — a writer’s life, you could say.

The successful implementation of this plan calls for me to establish credibility and a devoted client list that sends me as much work as I want or need by the time we sail off. Considering we’ve budgeted about four years to complete the boat, I think my strategy is realistic. If not, we’ll make adjustments.

But, getting back to The Writer’s Life. Sure, sailing off will be fun and hard and exciting and boring and, well, who knows? That’s why they call it the future. And these days, the future seems most promising for Wall Street bankers or those who’ve prepared themselves to honestly attract money with their own native intelligence and hard work.

Well, I’m no banker. But, I can build a boat and a business and I can sail. And, I can do it all with the application of a little elbow grease and gumption. We all can. We’ll learn and refine the skills we’ll need, find the clients, exceed their expectations, and create The Writer’s Life we envision for ourselves.

If the response to AWAI’s Writer’s Life contest is any indication, there are a lot of us with something passionate to say about this.

What does your version of The Writer’s Life look like?

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Published: November 9, 2010

2 Responses to “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, The Writer’s Life for Me”

  1. It's really simple. Simple, yet not always easy. Write about what you know. All of us are experts at something, whether we realize it or not. Like everything else in life, "prepare, the execute." Happy Writing!


    Tom McNally

  2. I have always enjoyed writing - mostly letters, sometimes articles that had no particular destination. When I discovered AWAI, I was ecstatic to learn that with some training and diligent work I could actually earn money doing what I love, I was sold. And I bought! I am doing the lessons and hoping to be getting some checks very soon. I really can use the money. Can't everyone?

    Guest (Marilyn Seach)

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