"Let's Write a Swimming Pool"
The Beatles were already wealthy in 1964 when Paul McCartney and John Lennon sat down one day to hammer out a new song.
At the time, Paul says, "John would be getting an extension on his house or something, and the joke used to be, 'Okay! Today let's write a swimming pool.' It was great motivation."
Paul continues, "Then in the next three hours, 'Help!' appears from nowhere, you'd suddenly get the idea, this'll be a hit, this is a good one. You become aware what you were doing was making money. Making good money."
Good money indeed.
What motivates you? What drew you to the writer's life in the first place? What keeps you going when you don't necessarily feel inspired?
I always had this idea that John and Paul were constantly "on," that they could crank out a hit song whenever they wanted.
But they were human, too. They were already established by 1964 and didn't need the money per se, but they were still motivated by what the money could buy.
I'll admit it: I'm motivated in the same way.
I'm motivated by trips I want to take, the new car I want to buy my wife, and the home I want to build in a few years.
I'm also inspired by my fellow copywriters and what they’ve been able to do thanks to the income they’re generating.
I love it when I see a picture of Christina Gillick sitting in a brand-new Camaro she's considering buying. I get fired up when I see pictures of Sean McCool's house in the process of being remodeled. And I love hearing about Cindy Cyr's trip to Los Angeles for her son's music career.
These things confirm for me that I'm in the right profession at the right time.
It's not all about the material things either, just like it isn't for Christina, Sean, Cindy, and other copywriters I know.
It's more about the freedom of being able to do the things we want, enriching our personal relationships, and making life a little more fun.
I know that the trips I'm taking are creating lasting memories for my kids more than stuff I could buy for them. That's what fires me up about the freedom and the income of having a successful freelance business.
We're already seven weeks into the new year. If you haven't already done this exercise for 2012, write down three things before Monday:
- How much you are going to earn from your freelance business this year.
- What you plan to do with the money you earn.
- Why that's important to you.
Then post these three things where you can see them every day while you write.
For me, seeing my goals on a daily basis inspires me. When I'm in the middle of a 12-hour day of writing, it reminds me of the bigger picture and why I'm a writer.
And one last quote from Sir Paul before I sign off for the week: "I think people who create and write, it actually does flow – just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down. It's simple."
Sure, maybe it was simple for the greatest songwriter of all time.
For the rest of us? Writing can be hard slogging.
I do know this: if you stick with this copywriting thing, it gets easier. It gets more lucrative.
It's different for everyone, but all of a sudden, it clicks. You develop a second nature for the cadence and flow of good copy. It starts to flow from your head to your hand.
And when you put it all together – your copywriting skills, your marketing efforts, your networking – big things start to happen, and it becomes downright fun!
I hope you've learned a thing or two this week about building a profitable freelance business. I hope you've found a bit of inspiration as well.
I'm curious to know what one of your big goals is for 2012 and what's motivating you to achieve it. If you would, share it with your fellow AWAI members below. You might unknowingly inspire someone else.
Now, go and write yourself a swimming pool.
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