Is It Supposed to Feel This Way?

If you’re a parent, you probably had expectations of how parenthood would feel. I know I did!

I pictured myself as a serene and centered Madonna (the saint, not the pop star). This new little person would fill my heart with joy and gladness, and I would cherish every step of the journey — poopy diapers, middle-of-the-night feedings, and all.

The reality wasn’t exactly like that!

Serene and centered? I was often an emotional, exhausted wreck … especially at first.

But I eventually adjusted and embraced ALL the aspects of motherhood. My mental picture changed to better reflect reality, and I think I’ve been a pretty good parent.

Launching my copywriting business required a similar mental adjustment.

I had a romantic vision of what the writer’s life would look like: leisurely days working on exciting — or at least interesting — projects … getting paid to do something I love … being my own boss, and setting my own hours …

OK, who’s laughing at me and my naïveté?

Because the reality is not quite that, right? Or at least it’s not just that.

My copywriting reality check

The reality is that a copywriting business is a business, and there’s more to running a business than just providing the service you’re getting paid for. There’s accounting, banking, prospecting, marketing, and strategic planning (more on this tomorrow; be sure to check back in!).

For a copywriter, running a business also means meeting deadlines – whether you feel like writing on a particular day or not. No excuses, no distractions, no goofing off.

It requires the same tough love that a parent has to show for a child’s positive development. Here are some examples:

No, you can’t have dessert before dinner.

I never (or at least not very often) allow my son to have dessert before he eats a good dinner. The business equivalent is no goofing off on Facebook or Pinterest before the business writing of the day is done.

No, you can’t stay up past your bedtime.

Kids seem to thrive with a consistent schedule, and so does my business. I write in blocks of time, generally two to three hours at a stretch. In between, I’ll check my email and social networks … as they relate to business!

I love you!

How many times a day do you say, “I love you!” to your child? In our family, we say it often. Remembering what you love about the writer’s life is important, too.

Specifically, I love:

  • Working from anywhere: In addition to my home office, sometimes I write in a lounge chair on the deck in my backyard. Other times, at a coffee shop. Occasionally, in a recliner.
  • Having a flexible schedule: I adjust my work hours to accommodate special events – a school assembly, a long lunch with a friend, even an afternoon baseball game every once in a while.
  • Being my own boss: I’m able to do things on my own terms. If I need a vacation, I take one. If I want to push myself and stretch my own limits, that’s my choice. I go after and accept the projects I want to do and turn down the ones I don’t.

Like parenthood, full-time copywriting has required me making some mental adjustments. Both actually take more mental toughness than I anticipated. But I wouldn’t trade either of these roles for anything in the world.

How about you? What adjustments have you made in living your writer’s life? I’d like to hear your story … please leave a comment below.

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Published: November 13, 2012

5 Responses to “Is It Supposed to Feel This Way?”

  1. Great article Michele!

    The biggest adjustment for me has been mental. When I came home from Bootcamp 2012, I didn't want to go back to my job. Being immersed in The Writer's Life for 4 days and 3 nights spoiled me rotten. But I still have bills to pay, so reality sunk in very quickly. When I'm on the job, I'm on the job. But when I'm writing, I write. I still feel like I'm serving two masters. But once I've got a few assignments under my belt and a suitable cash cushion, it's goodbye J-O-B!!!

    RNin2013

  2. Thank you for telling it like it is! People think a copywriting career is glamorous. Heck no! It's hard work. Constantly going from one deadline to another is no picnic - and neither is prospecting for work and chasing down late payments. Don't get me wrong, there are rewards to this career. I do love working from home and being able to work around appointments and other obligations. But it is a business - and that means it's WORK!

    Guest (Deanna)

  3. I enjoyed your comments so far. However, i have had the copy-writing course for some time and have studied it and much more, but just not sure how to get the business up and running and some actual cash coming in. Any thoughts or suggestions? how did you do it?

    Guest (Howard Stender)

  4. Hi, Michele!
    I need a mommy like you!
    I signed up, and NOW you tell me! I didn't know I'd have to work again! As the kids say, "What's up with that?" I want to laugh and play instead of writing that Job Fair spec. I gaze at my AWAI mouse pad with the barefoot writer under the umbrella on the beach and wonder -- when and how do I get there? I'm not living the writer's life -- I'm living the re-writer's life! My boss (me) is a tyrant!
    I need a mommy like you!

    Richard Lacey

  5. Thanks for the article and advice, Michelle.

    You're absolutely correct that this must be treated as a business. Once I created a scheduling calendar and (here's the rub) actually followed it, I saw a difference in my productivity.

    As with every course here, you can read and study and learn all you want. But until you actually start doing, it's worth nothing.

    Again, thanks for your article. I've put it in my archives to read whenever I start a pity party and get lazy.
    Steve

    Steve Maurer


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