Watch This Embarrassing Video

If you’re ready for a turning point in your career, you have to do something big, bold, and unique.

But if your self-motivation tends to get stuck in neutral – like mine – then you’re best served with some kind of jumpstart … where the hard work is done for you.

That’s one way of looking at AWAI’s annual Bootcamp. I mean, if you don’t feel like your writing skills are up to par, a couple of Bootcamp sessions will teach you more in a few hours than you could learn in months on your own.

Let’s say you’re having trouble finding clients. At Bootcamp, they’re all lined up in a room for you – it’s called Job Fair. Even better, you’re prequalified in the eyes of every marketer in attendance just because you’re an AWAI-trained writer.

Now, what if you’re okay on clients, but you don’t know which direction to take your career next? At Bootcamp, you get access to dozens of experts who’ll advise you – for free.

Say you just want to meet some other writers who will cheer you on and support you in your dream like nobody else. You get that at Bootcamp, too. Or you realize your writing skills are worth investing in (which is absolutely true – read more about it in this article). You guessed it – Bootcamp is the answer.

2010 – my fourth Bootcamp – was a big year for me. I’d gotten jumpstarts in all the areas of my career described above at the previous Bootcamps. Then Bootcamp 2010 hit, and it got even better.

For one, I was a Roving Reporter for AWAI, probably one of the most satisfying assignments I’ve ever had. Everywhere I poked my nose, I found some kind of success story about a new writer finding his or her way.

That was also the year I had an hour-long, off-the-cuff interview with Ted Nicholas (of the million-dollar copywriter club). I also had a private breakfast with Don Hauptman, one of the legendary direct mail copywriters, which was pretty darn cool.

Want to know how I got those perks? It’s because I was there. Ted Nicholas was hanging out in the Marriott lobby. I asked him to answer a few questions, and he graciously agreed. Don Hauptman was standing next to me in the buffet line. We struck up a conversation and carried it over to our own private table.

Speaking of food, I remember getting a lot of it that year – on the house. I’d shown up pregnant again, and the Marriott staff packaged up surprise snacks on more than one occasion. (Let’s be honest here. You can’t have a great conference without great food and service!).

But best of all, that was the year I won at the big AWAI spec challenges (these are exclusive writing assignments for Bootcamp attendees – a quick and easy way to showcase your writing to potential clients).

That spec assignment put a $2,000 bonus in my pocket. Even more than that, it meant I could check another goal off my list. Because although I’d been writing successfully for three years by that point, I’d never written a full promotion or had a control.

The cool thing was, to write the headline and lead that won that spec challenge, I pulled out all my notebooks from previous Bootcamps. I even watched presentations from past presenters. (You get access to all the presentations after the event, so you can keep going back to the best points).

Winning that spec challenge was the culmination of the previous three Bootcamps I attended. It validated every step of my career up till that point.

But that was nothing compared to what happened the next year … I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

On a different note, I want you to watch this video. It’s a little embarrassing. After all, I’m a writer, not a speaker. But it’s heartfelt. Watch and see.

When you go to Bootcamp, what big goal do you want to check off your list? Share it here.

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:
No ratings yet
Published: August 23, 2012

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)