How to Make Forward Progress Today

Ever feel stuck?

Like you’re working and working and working but not getting anywhere?

If you’re taking course after course, studying and practicing, but you’re not making any money as a writer, you definitely know what I’m talking about.

And I can empathize with you. Because that used to be me.

Rebecca Matter here – a previous self-proclaimed multi-tasker who was the first one in the door each morning, last one out, and then worked well into the evening at home. I was always super busy and felt very proud to be “that girl” – the one who was always working her butt off …

I could easily “brag” at happy hour on Friday about how I had managed to pull off another 60-hour+ week.

Then I took a job at AWAI and was introduced to a whole new world. And after continuing my work habits for a few years, I decided that I, too, wanted to live the writer’s life.

It was then that I quickly realized it just wasn’t possible. At least not the way I was trying to achieve it.

Today, I’m more effective most days than I was in a full week back then. And that’s what I want to help you with this week.

I’ve learned the key to making forward progress in my professional life. I work a lot less, have more freedom, and have managed to set up multiple revenue streams for myself.

And when I look back on how I used to be, it seems like another lifetime. The way I work now is so ingrained in me that I couldn’t be that same girl even if I tried.

Thank goodness!

Working a lot more hours, always stressed, and being less productive?

No, thank you! I’ll choose this life over that one any day of the week.

Which leads me back to my initial question …

Are you working hard … and experiencing the reward of forward progress? Or are you working hard and still feeling stuck?

In the past weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of working a lot with AWAI members through live events like the B2B event I held here in Austin, online training programs like the Six-Figure Companion Series, and the mastermind group that formed out of the 2011 Web Intensive called Web Writer Elite.

And one common thread I found between all the groups is that quite a few people were feeling frustrated with their forward progress.

And this week, I’d like to help you work on that too. That’s why I’m taking over The Writer’s Life for the next five days …

By the end of this week, I want you to feel like you’ve made significant forward progress towards your dream of living the writer’s life.

So every day, I’m going to give you an action item I’d like for you to complete.

Stick with me all week, perform all 5 actions, and when you hit the weekend, you’ll know what forward progress feels like.

Today, I’m going to tackle the first step: choosing a path. And by choosing a path, I’m talking about how you’ll get to the writer’s life. Will you become a copywriter, self-publisher, travel writer … ? You get the idea.

Because without a path and the end goal in mind, you’ll never reach the writer’s life. It’s the first roadblock you need to overcome and the first step you have to take in order to move forward.

Earlier this year, I wrote an essay on how to choose the right path for you – taking into consideration why you’re doing this in the first place and what your version of the writer’s life looks like.

Are you looking to make six figures? Are you looking to make some extra cash on the side? Are you looking to develop a passive income stream for yourself?

Figuring that out is key, and you can access that essay here if you need help choosing a path.

But know that whatever path you choose, you can be successful.

AWAI has been helping people live the writer’s life since 1997. We know how to create programs that give people everything they need to succeed. All you have to do is choose the path, and then let us guide you the rest of the way.

Don’t put a ton of pressure on yourself to choosing the “right” path. You’re not stuck with just one for life.

The idea is to just choose a path that appeals to you, begin making forward progress, and testing it out.

THEN you can add other paths in, and additional revenue streams, once you get started. (But we’ll get to that in a future series of The Writer’s Life. This week is about making forward progress with your first path.)

Your action item for today: Choose a path once and for all.

Even if you’ve considered a few paths, I want you to focus on one for the rest of the week. So your action item is to choose the one you want to work first.

You’ve got lots of options to choose from. And I’m confident you can make this decision quickly if you sit down with the intention of choosing one before you stand back up.

Some of the most popular paths to the writer’s life include:

If you want my recommendation, I’m going to tell you to start with copywriting.

Why?

Because with huge growing opportunities like the business-to-business market (B2B), the internet, and social media, you have the potential to make as much money as you want and truly live the lifestyle you desire.

It’s definitely the most adaptable path you can choose.

And even if you start with copywriting and decide you don’t want to be a copywriter, you’ll be more effective at any other writing career you move into next.

If down the line you decide to move into travel writing, resume writing, grant writing, you name it … there’s definitely no better investment than learning how to write persuasively, which is really what copywriting is all about.

Remember, I’m going to give you an action every day this week to move you forward towards the writer’s life. If you take each step, you’ll feel the forward progress by Friday you need to keep moving forward.

Right now, I want you to choose your path. And if you’d like to share it with me or need any help deciding between two paths, add a comment below.

And then I’ll see you tomorrow with your next step!

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Published: July 25, 2011

57 Responses to “How to Make Forward Progress Today”

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    I'm stuck and I wonder if you can help. I get disillusioned so easily lately.

    Copywriting calls me because I love to write. Grant writing calls me because I love to help others and I'm really a softie. But I get stuck on marketing (how to identify my core value to clients is like pulling out my own teeth)

    I was thinking this morning that this whole copywriting thing is just a pipe dream and what I really need is a j o b.

    So many roads I could follow. Too many, actually!

    My nemesis could be an asset if I could pin down a concrete path. Can you help? Nancu

    Guest (Nancy)July 25, 2011 at 10:05 am

  2. I just purchased the copywriting course and I'm waiting to receive it. I look forward to reading your posts this week!

    Guest (Stacie)July 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

  3. "Taking course after course, studying and practicing." Boy is that me! Last week I went back and re-focused on the copywriting program. I've never finished my supplement letter. While I am slowly making my transition to the writer's life, not having finished my last AWAI assignment was really bugging me. This essay was the focus I needed. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and the focus it presents.

    Shawn MausJuly 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

  4. I'll say I'm stuck! Rebecca, I finished the 6-figure course in 2007 (I think, maybe it was 09) and have been putting it off and putting it off. Did get a couple of other programs which were a big help (and also helped me procrastinate, know the feeling?), but finally, this year 2011 (and I told myself this at the beginning of the year) I have to get moving. I've chosen my niche - copywriting, specifically auto-responders (for right now), so am anxious and determined to actually work on this for at least 1 hour every night.

    Stephanie MorseJuly 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

  5. Yes, I'm guilty. I must have every course from the past and just purchased the autoresponder course. However, now B2B looks to be a fabulous fit. Where to start? Looks like you need a website no matter what, so which course is best that includes the website building background as well as the content for B2B, autoresponders, etc. Do you agree, build website first aimed at target market?

    Bgydrvr in TexasJuly 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  6. This is going to be my week. Am I stuck? Sure am. Keep buying more programs as each one sounds like exactly what I need.

    What I really need is to follow my current niche idea and not go down rabbit trails. Focus is what I need to learn.

    I will be eager for each post this week. Thanks Rebecca. You read my muddled mind.

    barbarjoJuly 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm

  7. This is embarrassing to admit. I purchased Accelerated Copywriting YEARS ago when AWAI was still sending out lesson pages via U.S. mail to place in the binder! I worked three quarters of the material but got cold feet realizing I'd have to self-promote at some point. Even so, over the years I've managed to acquire the Masters Program, Graphic Design, Money Making Websites and Self Publishing!! It's time to commit. I believe in building solid basics, so it's Accelerated Copywriting for me.

    karlapepJuly 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm

  8. Hi, Rebecca I would like to have help with
    .Auto Responder
    .Online email marketing
    .Product sales letter Thank You,

    Elea7July 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

  9. I agree Copywriting is a good choice, it does seem to have the basics to lead into the other niches.
    I look forward to this week. My focus is all over the place and I'm not getting anything completed. Thank you

    CoraJuly 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

  10. Well, this is timely and it looks like I'm not the only one who could use some help channeling my energy and getting this show on the road. I bought the accelerated program in hard copy also (6 years ago), worked through around 2/3 of it, then trailed off. Then I took a new office job and didn't go back to this idea of the writer's life until I got laid off this spring.

    Copywriting, and probably B2B and PR are where I want to start, and nobody is ever going to call me into his office again to say that he's taking my position in another direction! Looking forward to these exercises!

    Guest (Evan)July 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

  11. Hi! I will be working on graphic design/copywriting/for Christian markets. I can do illustration,so I can create unique work. However, I have some extreme limitations regarding funds and equipment I need to begin. I tried to illustrate a book,but the author (who loved my work on his behalf) backed out for his own reasons. Now, I am trying to find out what specific things to be sure and include in an art portfolio, to try to get started with some book publishing houses. Any ideas?

    Guest (Peggy)July 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  12. I can't believe I forgot to say, "Thank you!"

    Thank you! You have all been helping me for a long time. I always learn something valuable, every time.

    Guest (Peggy)July 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  13. Looking forward to your "Writer's Life" this week Rebecca!
    Took me forever to REALLY choose B2B copywriting as my Mastery Path - herewith some thoughts that helped me finally overcome inertia:
    "It is MORE IMPORTANT to select something Reasonable and F.O.C.U.S.* on it than to make the Perfect Selection." - me
    * - F.O.C.U.S. = Follow One Course Until Successful
    "Do not expect the self-improvement tool to do the job for you." - me
    "Words are the source of our most powerful magic." - Dumbledore

    Charles Walker WriterJuly 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm

  14. I ordered the money making website course and then the internet research course. I have decided to finish the researcher course first, and have decdided on Personal Development as my niche. I have been studying and reading about this subject for over 20 years and I qualified as a psychotherapist in '99. Is this niche too broad and should I try to narrow it down a bit?

    MaryMcLeanJuly 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm

  15. I haven't purchased the program yet, money has been tight. I have doing some reading and trying to decide what avenue would be better for me to start. It sounds as though copywriting would be a good place to start. Resume writing appealed to me. Any suggestions?
    Thanks

    Guest (ticosusie)July 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm

  16. Hi Rebecca...it's copywriting for me. I am two weeks behind in the Accelerated Live Companion Series, but enjoying it immensely. I figure, as you said, that learning persuasive writing is a good foundation for everything else. I want to write where I can make a positive contribution, possibly for non-profits. Maybe something to do with children. I am somewhat of an expert in that area (Early Childhood Specialist).

    By the way, your life is about to change...if I can be of assistance to you...

    PaullyJuly 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm

  17. I have gotten side-tracked too many times. I have purchased many of the programs from AWAI with the hope that I could find one that "scratched the itch".
    I really want to write B2B with a focus on white papers. But I also want that passive income that can carry my loved ones should something happen to me.
    I like what I see and hear, but my attention span is shorter that a 3 year old placed in a room full of shiny things! Focus is near to impossible... What do I do?

    SamJuly 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm

  18. Great post, Rebecca. Thanks....I was a B2B journalist for years, and I've done plenty of white papers and case studies along the way, so the quick and easy commitment for me is B2B.

    However, I'd like to transition from B2B to sales letters and auto-responders in the near future...Nothing against B2B - it's just time for me to shake things up a bit.

    I began writing display ad copy (in addition to my B2B work) about 19 months ago - so, I know I love the challenge of selling through the written word...

    Here's what I'm not sure about: I have a promising niche in mind. Is it better to leverage my industry experience to line up clients quickly for B2B projects, and then try to cross-sell my way into sales letters and auto-responders...or, knowing that my goal is to write sales letters and auto-responders, should I downplay my B2B experience and focus exclusively on marketing my skills as a writer of sales letters and auto-responders. My concern is that cross-selling makes it look li

    Guest (John)July 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm

  19. Oh Rebecca, Thank you, for this series this wk! I don't feel so silly now! I ordered my Copywriting course in 2007. Got nowhere w/ it. Then life happened all over me & it got buried. I recently discovered Nick's Making Money Building Websites & got excited again. My ADHD brain needs a little payoff to boost the ability to get through the longer copywriting course. I've decided to FOCUS on Website course 1st, get 1 site running, then tackle the copywriting course & build from there!
    Thx!!

    Paula High-Young July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  20. Rebecca, My problem is that I'm looking for a side-career, an additional stream of income to supplement my main goal, which is to become a full-time novelist.
    I've got two published ebooks to my credit, but royalties are small and building a readership is an uphill battle taking lots of time and energy. Time spent on copywriting (what I'd like to do as a sideline) is time away from novel-writing. It's a dilemma!

    Guest (Saralee)July 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

  21. Hi Rebecca:

    I would like to choose copywriting as my starting point this week.

    Thanks.

    Guest (Karlene Haughton)July 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

  22. Hi Rebecca, I've chosen my path to start with and that is Internet Research Specialist,because it will I think afford me to start earning asap in order to stick to my plan of earning enough $ in order to take the copywriting course. I agree it is a good foundation. Then I can branch out from there. Thanks

    Marcellus GreeneJuly 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm

  23. Thank you for all the good information. My priority is self-publishing and information publishing relating to an existing e-commerce site. Have self-published one document and I'm working on 3 new publications. Right now, I rely on the public library and free business seminars for publishing and marketing suggestions. Because the primary business is online, contact with other business owners is essential but plan to purchase one of AWAI programs in the future. Thanks for everything

    Guest (Natalie)July 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  24. I'm a disabled vet on a very low income trying to make enough income flow to travel and see the world, with a mobile income I can pursue anywhere in the world.

    Guest (TomE)July 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

  25. Thanks Rebecca for your valuable guidance. I have chosen my path as copy writer. I want to develop my writing skills please guide me on that.

    Guest (Preethi)July 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm

  26. I´m already in Internet Research. From there I want to build web sites. Since I started with AWAI I´ve been thinking in my niche and how to use this tools to understand the market. I have researched a lot and found a world in Internet I didn´t know existed.

    MarisabelJuly 27, 2011 at 2:38 am

  27. Thank you, Rebecca...I so appreciate your feedback. The problem is that I don't have the first idea of how to explore the niche of early childhood advocacy (which I've done a fair amount of for the organizations I belonged to). But since I'm behind in the lessons I think this is probably coming up so will stay tuned.

    PaullyJuly 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

  28. Hi Rebecca! YEP, sure sounds like me STILL in a state of paralysis!!!! My niche? I'm guessing copywriting for NOW and I am reading ALOT, signing in for all Webex's, etc. and I am still stuck! I wake up each day like a kid in jr. high cuz I KNOW how far behind I am and that my peer group had pretty much evaporated. These "notes" in my INBOX are a credit to ALL of you, cuz you've all been there! It is NOT an option for me to NOT complete this course as it's my personal ticket to not only reinvent myself and NOT depend on SS for income (!) and to be able to write from anywhere in the world.
    I am "flagging" your emails and will report back. At least I don't feel quite so alone!

    Guest (Gypsy Woman)July 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

  29. Hi Rebecca,

    I'm leaving comments in random order because I began reading your series a little late this week. With that said, and with your help and motivation, I have finally selected my path: copywriting. I've been toying with this for a number of years, but never really could move forward, until now. I'll have to share all of the gritty details on a more appropriate forum. But for now, Copywriting it is! Thanks again!

    swertzbaugherJuly 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

  30. Thank you so much, Rebecca! That really helps. Sorry to not join you on the live webinar but too many children here to do that...and lunch time since I'm three hours earlier than where you are. Sure you wouldn't want to do this at 10:00 pm? Just kidding.

    PaullyJuly 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm

  31. Hi Rebecca, I'm a new member of AWAI & the PWA & I've also purchased the Six Figure Accelerated Copywriting course.

    Sorry for my late comment, work runs me ragged.

    My path up to this point feels like a lonely one.

    I've purchased Mike Koenigs' Main Street Marketing Machine 2.0 Fusion. So many choices eg. autoresponders, video marketing, social media..

    I want a lucrative career that allows me the freedom to travel & spend time with family & friends (my own websites also wouldn't hurt)..HELP!!

    MalcolmJuly 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  32. Rebecca, thanks for taking the time to send feedback. After last year's Bootcamp I got bogged down. Now I definitely need FOCUS help. I have a skeleton of a website where I want to provide a daily audio news feed, promote myself as a copywriter and sell the book I'm currently writing on free IT help (per Bob Bly's suggestion at Bootcamp.) I'm plugging away at all of it, but not getting to the money making part of it. I joined PWA. How should I proceed from there?

    Thanks so much.

    Carl GitchelAugust 1, 2011 at 2:49 pm

  33. Although the recommendation to start with the accelerated copywriting course (which I have) makes sense, I have both experience, a track record of success, convincing references, and special skills for grant writing, so I'll start there.

    BUT ... key to success in that field is to market myself, to network, and to develop SEO savvy to make my website into a must-read for grant seekers.

    Lots of work ahead! And I'm going to need feedback and suggestions from AWAI!!!!

    Richard LaceySeptember 11, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  34. Thank you for all of the great free content. I am like a lot of people, that purchased the AWAI (copywriting) program. In fact I bought the original and then the online version. I am about 98% completed the program. I need to fine tune my letter and then submit for review. The one thing that has really helped me to get this far in achieving some of the goals, in my life is: I have a personal coach that really helps to keep my accountable. Between emails and weekly phone calls on Skype. I recently sold my house in Saskatchewan Canada and I am on my way to Punta Cana Dominican Republic, to pursue my dream of being a copywriter.
    Once again Thank you. I believe if other people have become copywriters, then so can I. :):)

    GTEXJanuary 8, 2014 at 10:00 am

  35. Dear Ms Rebecca, I am in India. I am an internationally known mathematical scientist honoured in many ways by my nation and other nations too. You may see my website: www.imsc.res.in/~rao for details till my superannuation (Nov.2002 at age 60). I have excellent communication skills - I retired as a Senior Professor from a reputed Research Institute in India. I will be in the USA for 2 months in 2014 (at Portalnd, Oregon and Boston, MA).Help me to join you for a rewarding collaboration.THANK YOU.

    Guest (Srinivasa Rao)January 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm

  36. I am just starting the Six Figure Income Copywriting course and have chosen copywriting specifically for the health industry as there are many baby boomers out there waiting to retire or are already retired and wanting products to make their life easier and better. Has anyone written for this industry? Thanks!

    CindyMJanuary 8, 2014 at 7:09 pm

  37. Thank you! I'll definitely be following along with your posts. I have a lot of momentum as a beginner and I'm giving up my Master's degree courses to have a go at copywriting to ease the financial stress that my family is under. I'm determined to make this work! Any tips I can get along the way are a huge help.

    So far I LOVE how supportive AWAI has been. I had NO IDEA all of this came with the program or I might have signed up sooner. Totally impressed and feeling grateful. :-)

    Stephani RobertsJanuary 8, 2014 at 9:37 pm

  38. Copywriting is my path

    Guest (Rosita)January 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

  39. I have been with Awai for less than a year. I am not even through my courses, but I had an opportunity through a local business to edit some documents for them. I did the job for 50% off since I was a junior copywriter and it was my 1st job. They were pleased with my work and want to use my services in the future. So yes, I completed my 1st copywriting job! Thank - you for helping me see the B2B path to pursue. I will be at the B2B intensive workshop in June. My goal is more clients.

    Terri SmudaJanuary 10, 2014 at 3:59 pm

  40. Thank you, Rebecca, for the heavy dose of focus. The AWAI courses aren't cheap and they add up. I'll be focusing on B2B copywriting. I'll probably narrow it down more, as I have over 20 years of experience in the Insurance industry (health and life).

    Thanks again.

    WayneJanuary 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm

  41. Hello Rebecca. I am about nine-tenths the way through Jay's autoresponder course. I have the copywriting course also, but didn't finish it. I just ordered the money making website course, but I need a kick in the confidence. And I've made too many choices of courses. I think I need to start with the website course, then go from there. And I need to talk to people who have been there. I will start following this series, as you sound very helpful to us noobies! Thanks.

    ChetJanuary 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  42. Hi Rebecca, I noticed this article first came out in July 2011. It's proof than when the message is good, it's timeless.
    As a six month member with one Boot Camp experience, I have also felt the "deer in the headlights" syndrome.
    I have decided to re-do the Six Month program and am trying to do a better job of absorbing all the information.
    As for my FOCUS; I am aspiring to think like a copywriter first. My secondary goal is to write an e-book for travelers.
    Thanks for re-issuing this essay.

    Nancy TossellJanuary 14, 2014 at 4:09 pm

  43. I am brand new to "Barefoot Writing" and am eager to learn more about copywriting. Today is my first day in your program and I am confused by so many "beginnings". Will someone please tell me which lesson to choose and begin with first? Thank you.

    Sebastian the GreatJune 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm


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