I Want to Offer You Paid Writing Work

My fifth Bootcamp was both my worst and best ever.

I was not in good form when I got there. I’d been on a family trip to middle-of-nowhere Texas just the week before where Internet service was slow to none and cell service was zilch, putting me behind on projects.

Then my plane to Florida got in five hours late, so I missed the grand “puts you in the mood” Bootcamp kickoff.

To top it all off, I arrived in Delray Beach with a fever of 101 and a horrible headache.

All my favorite people – peers, colleagues, marketers, and speakers – were gathered in this one magical place, and I didn’t want to see anybody. I wanted to go to bed and stay there.

If I hadn’t had my family in tow, I probably would have done exactly that. But as I watched them watch me sulk, I felt guilty and trudged out of our hotel room.

But even though I missed a few presentations due to being sick and had to leave early to catch a plane, the entire experience made for a MASSIVE adrenaline boost to my outlook on freelancing.

And winning $10,000 didn’t hurt.

At Bootcamp 2011, I was named AWAI’s $10K Challenge Winner. Remember that spec challenge I told you about yesterday? Well, that turned into a sales letter. And that sales letter turned out to be AWAI’s highest-converting control that year.

I’ll never forget how I felt walking up to the stage. I stifled my cough, resisted the urge to blow my nose, and looked out over the crowd of fellow writers. Friends. I remember feeling a swell of satisfaction.

But it wasn’t the promise of my award money that most pleased me.

Rather, it was the fact that I’d set a goal and stuck to it. You see, years ago – before my first Bootcamp in 2007 even – I made the goal to be a $10K Challenge Winner. I even used some graphics software to create a fake check made out to me for $10,000. I put Katie Yeakle’s signature at the bottom.

That check – which I printed and laminated – hung on the vision board in my office for five years. It reminded me every day I’d committed to a goal and that I had to keep pushing forward.

I supplied the determination. But Bootcamp was absolutely the vehicle that got me there.

You’ll notice it took me five years to achieve my big goal. It might take you three. Or even one. I mean, hey, I stopped to have two kids along the way.

But that’s another important point. Freelance writing is a career that bends to fit your life. You don’t bend to fit the career. That’s not how it works.

You don’t have to fit any specific mold to go to Bootcamp and get huge dividends from it. Whether you’re in the middle of building your family, or you’ve long since emptied your nest, it doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that you want to have control over your life and career, and you’d like the craft of writing to get you there.

On that note, you’re guaranteed to get a lot out of Bootcamp this year.

Bootcamp serves a different role for everybody. For you, it might be the chance to prove to yourself this opportunity is real. Or it might be a way to connect with kindred writers. Or meet paying clients. Maybe you’re looking for a launch point, or you want to build more momentum as a freelancer. Or add to your current skills.

Maybe you want to do all of the above. You absolutely can. You just have to show up.

I’ll be back for the sixth time this year. And this year marks another major turning point for me.

This year, instead of going to Job Fair to scope out clients, I’ll be the one behind the table. I’ll be offering paying projects to new writers for The Barefoot Writer magazine.

So I hope you’ll show up. I can’t offer you a project if you’re not there.

And that’s my Bootcamp story. From starry-eyed, wannabe writer to paying client. Bootcamp was absolutely the driving force that made it happen.

If I were you, I’d sign up right now.

Will I get to meet you at this year’s Bootcamp? Tell me here whether or not you’ll be there.

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Published: August 24, 2012

22 Responses to “I Want to Offer You Paid Writing Work”

  1. Hi Mindy,

    Great article! I didn't know you were so sick! You did a great job hiding it.

    Congratulations again on winning AWAI’s $10K Challenge!

    See you in a few months! :) I'll be sure to stop by your table!

    Christina Gillick

  2. Hi Mindy - Thanks for your series this week. Yes, I'll be at Bootcamp. It'll be my second, after being away for eight years! I tried twice before to get my copywriting career off the ground, but this time it's happening, no doubt about it. I'll look for your table at the Job Fair, come up and say hi!

    Janice S

  3. I'll be there Mindy! I admire your perseverance - thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to meeting you!

    Shauna Miller

  4. As much as I would love to attend, I am so new as to barely cover my car note each month. Next year, though.


  5. Will be there, Mindy! I booked my hotel yesterday so my adrenaline is off the chain right now.

    Will bring you luck as you see the view from behind that table for the first time. I promise!

    Best Bright Blessings to You and the rest of my AWAI family.

    Anthony Chavez

  6. I would love to attend Boot Camp but due to the fact that I am a school teacher I cannot get the time off to attend.
    Thank you for the advice and the invite.
    Best regards, Elizabeth Chouinard


  7. Mindy

    I watched your video, as a model/actor for 15 years and having done a number video shoots I can say you did a great job.

    My plan is to go to Bootcamp, specially now that my job is being outsourced in 2013.

    Steve Ramona, CA.


  8. I have the words and the desire, but I have to borrow to get through the month. Perhaps I'd best return after rebuilding an income stream. I saw this as a possible way out. You've shown me that it isn't for me.


    Guest (clefman)

  9. Hi Mindy!

    Great story! I am attending Bootcamp this year after missing it last year, due to traveling for my regular job.

    I will be there, and I am coming to YOUR table during the jobfair! I love the Barefoot Writer and all of the inspiring stories contained in it.

    Knowing that I may be able to contribute a similar story, article (or whatever copy you need) makes the anticipation of Bootcamp that much better!

    Thanks for all the great articles this week!

    Robin Rees

    Robin R

  10. Thanks for the invite but I will not be able to attend due to financial and family matters.

    Guest (Daniel Johnson)

  11. I really wish it were possible for me to make it to Boot camp. As at this moment, the prospect of attending is zilch. My only consolation is that this is not going to be the last one; I will be able to attend the next Boot camp and I'm going to maintain my membership. Hopefully, I will still have your encouragement in the future for other things. Thank you.

    Guest (Ukpong Ito)

  12. Hi.

    I would love to be there but unfortunately it is not possible as I live in Asia and quite frankly, I cannot afford to fly there for such events right now. Hopefully I will soon.


  13. Yep. I'll be there and I'm looking forward to meeting you Mindy. Happy trails to you.

    jt roberts

  14. Hi Mindy,

    Yes, I will be attending the (2012) bootcamp. I look forwarding to meeting you and everyone on the AWAI team. I also look forward to receiving paying assignements for the Barefoot Writer Magazine.

    Guest (Arnita)

  15. Hello Mindy, Love your stories. All are very motivating. I am looking forward to my first Boot Camp in October. Excited and nervous since my decision to go full time as a freelance copywriter with so much to learn but I'm ready for the challenge. Look forward to seeing you and all the AWAI team and writers.

    Bill Myrtle Beach

    Guest (Bill Ames)

  16. Hi Mindy, Thank you for being an inspiration! This is my first Bootcamp and I'm ready to get to work. Looking forward to meeting everyone to put a "face to the name". I'll drop by your table to introduce myself as well.
    Regards, Mike

    Guest (Mike)

  17. I cannot afford the fee of $1,800.00.


    Guest (Charles)

  18. Hi Mindy, Yes, I remember you walking up onto that stage and being handed that giant check. It was my first Bootcamp. I left a COS member! I can't wait to discover what inspiration I'll find this year. See you there (and on FB).

    Guest (Deborah)

  19. Mindy, Thanks again. I re-read your article this morning while finishing my second cup. Great stuff.

    Question: What did you do, specifically, to win the 10K challenge that year?

    And, is the 10K Challenge something a first-time "Camper" could aspire realistically to winning?

    If/when you have a moment to respond, I'd be grateful!

    Best, bright blessings!

    Anthony Chavez

    Anthony Chavez

  20. Hi Mindy, I am looking forward to meeting you in October.

    Guest (Debe Overhaug)

  21. Hi Mindy, I love your blog & The Barefoot Writer. I've had to miss several years, but will be at this year's Bootcamp. Hope to meet you there!

    Donna Kaluzniak

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