One Roadblock Stops More Aspiring Copywriters Than Any Other. See If You’re At Risk … And How You Can Get Past It

Imagine you’re speeding along a twisty two-lane mountain highway in northern California, desperate to reach your destination. You’ve dodged several rocks in the road, but suddenly, you zip around a corner and … look out! A giant redwood tree has crashed down across both lanes.

Obviously, you can’t shove this 1,600-ton obstacle out of your way. Because of its massive length, you’re not going around it either. And, unless you happen to be driving a flying car, you won’t be going over it.

Just like that, you’re stopped … and your hopes of reaching your destination are shattered.

Unfortunately, many aspiring copywriters experience the same fate when it comes time to launch their copywriting career. They’ve worked hard … learned to write persuasive copy … and overcome many obstacles. But, when they should be making the jump from student to working professional, their own “giant redwood” crashes down in front of them … and their hopes of becoming a six-figure copywriter are shattered.

What is this “giant redwood?”

Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with writing … it’s as simple as how you think.

Because I’ve had serious problems in this area, I’ve studied it a lot. And, I’ve found that many great achievers throughout the ages understood and taught one very profound principle.

In the first century B.C., the famous Roman poet Virgil taught, “They can because they think they can.”

So … can YOU? Are you convinced, down in the depths of your heart, that you can be a six-figure copywriter? Yes? Fantastic! Your thinking is great and you’re well on your way. But, if your heart is filled with doubts, fears, and anxieties, then you have bad thinking, which could well doom your copywriting career.

Second century Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius declared, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” In the Bible it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And, 19th Century philosopher William James wrote, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

Henry Ford noted, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” How powerful!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks all day long.” Famous writer William A. Ward declared, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”

Lou Tice teaches, “The barriers within us hinder us more than the barriers outside of us.” In other words, our bad thinking holds us back far more than our external circumstances.

From basketball superstar Michael Jordon, “You have to expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” Norman Vincent Peale cleverly remarked, “You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.”

Dale Carnegie wrote, “ … by far the most vital lesson I have ever learned is the importance of what we think … Our thoughts make us what we are. Our mental attitude is the X factor that determines our fate.”

In his classic book “As a Man Thinketh,” James Allen wrote, “Let a man radically alter his thoughts, and he will be astonished at the rapid transformation it will effect in the material conditions of his life.”

I experienced this truth when I ordered the AWAI six-figure program in 2007. I was successfully working through it until my bad thinking took over, and plopped me behind my own “giant redwood.” I knew it was time to set myself free from this prison that had held me captive for most of my life. I knew it would be hard, but my writing career was stalled until I defeated my biggest foe … ME … and my bad thinking.

After setting the copywriting program aside and taking the time to reprogram my thought-life, I realized I could, in fact, become a six-figure copywriter, no matter the obstacles. I began to see myself succeeding before I even started. Since then, my results have been dramatically better.

When I thought I couldn’t win an AWAI writing challenge, I didn’t. When I truly believed I could, I did.

When I thought nobody would ever pay me for my copywriting work, they didn’t. When I really believed they would, they did.

Don’t get me wrong. I still struggle with day-to-day doubts and fears, but down deep in my heart, I know I can be a successful copywriter. And, because I think I can … I can.

You want to build a successful copywriting career, right? Step one is to convince yourself that you can. Granted, life-long habits of bad thinking aren’t easily changed. However, you can change them, and to reach your goal, you MUST.

8 Ways to Change Your Thinking

  1. Examine your deeply-held beliefs: The first step is being honest with yourself. No more deception. What’s down deep in your heart? Total confidence … or fears and doubts? Until you face the truth, it won’t change. And, until you “see” yourself succeeding, you won’t.
  2. Build a new belief system: Reject those beliefs about yourself that you’ve accepted from others, and build a new belief system based on the “you” that you know you can become.
  3. Check all your thoughts: We bombard ourselves every day with self-talk. Either it’s good (“Wow, you did a great job!”), or it’s negative (“How could you be so stupid?”). You must reject every lie and embrace the truth each time you talk to yourself.
  4. Reprogram yourself: To help convince yourself that you can succeed, write positive inspirational notes on cards and tack them up wherever you’ll see them throughout the day.
  5. “See” the future as though it’s already happened: Create a detailed mental image of your life the way you want it to look. Frequently tell yourself out loud, with enthusiasm, “I am a talented, in-demand six-figure copywriter.”
  6. Write your goals as though they’ve already happened: Having goals is critical. Having written goals is even more critical. And, having written goals that are written as though they already exist is the ultimate. (“It’s December 31, 2011, and I am a full-time freelance copywriter with more work than I can get to.”)
  7. Read the testimonials on AWAI’s Wall of Fame. When your bad thinking is trying to convince you it can’t be done, it’s powerful to read the testimonials of people who are already doing it.
  8. Go to Bootcamp. Nothing made the reality of succeeding as a copywriter more clear for me than being at Bootcamp. Meeting the gurus is inspiring. And, talking face-to-face with other AWAI-trained copywriters who have gone full-time will instill in you the confidence that you can do it, too.

So, what does the writer’s life mean to me? Freedom … flexibility … great income … yes, they’re all important. But far above them all, living the writer’s life means I’ve finally replaced all those “I can’t” lies with the truth — “I can.”

After years of struggling under the curse of bad thinking, I have been set free and can now live life to the fullest. I can keep setting higher goals, and reach them all. And so can you, if you replace your bad thinking with genuine “I can” thinking.

To me, nothing is sweeter than seeing my own “giant redwood tree” through my rearview mirror as I drive away, knowing I finally made it past my biggest roadblock.

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:
Average: 4.0
Published: January 19, 2011

3 Responses to “One Roadblock Stops More Aspiring Copywriters Than Any Other. See If You’re At Risk … And How You Can Get Past It”

  1. Rick:
    What a terrific article. I have been exposed many different ways to the material you prsented but it is always great to review what another has to say about it all., like we can do with The Golden Thread npo?

    I would like to know if I could use this on my web site , of course, giving you the cresit for writing it just like we can do with The Golden Thread now.
    Peace and Blessings Roger Chappell

    rogerc84January 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  2. HI Rick

    Thanks for your great and timely article...about: my Road Block, my own thinking.

    Regards Larry

    WinfieldsbestFebruary 8, 2011 at 11:36 am


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)