It Only Takes a Spark

It's a myth that writers spend all their time alone. While quiet writing time is great for finishing projects, connections are what truly power your career.

This week, I'll show you five kinds of people you need in your life as a writer so that you can get what you want from your writer's life. You may be surprised at who they are – and how easy it is to meet them.

So let's get started …

The first people you need are your inspirations.

Inspirations show you what's possible to achieve as a copywriter. They give you something to aspire to by giving you a living picture of your options.

My first writing inspiration was Bill Bonner. His newsletter, The Daily Reckoning, wasn't specifically about the writing life, but he used to put little personal notes into his daily commentary on the financial markets. He talked about having the freedom to read in the afternoons, spending time with his family, and buying a home overseas. I wanted a life like that, so I did more research on him.

He came from a modest background in Baltimore. But a winning series of sales letters – including a nearly unbeatable letter for International Living – transformed his life. He bought a chateau in France, wrote several books, and built his company, Agora Publishing, into a publishing powerhouse.

And it all started by writing copy …

So Bill was my first inspiration. In studying him, I discovered others, including Mark Ford, Don Mahoney, Paul Hollingshead, John Forde, and Jennifer Stevens. They led me to Bob Bly, Richard Armstrong, Dan Kennedy, Nick Usborne, Mindy Tyson McHorse, and Mike Palmer.

Each one of them inspires me in different ways. And whenever I'm stuck on a project, I pull out one of their books or read some of their old sales copy from my swipe file. It never fails to get me going again.

How can you find your own writing inspirations?

Start reading other copywriters' work and get to know their style. Many have their own websites you can visit or newsletters they offer to subscribers. And you can even follow some of your favorite writers in real time on Facebook or Twitter.

And, of course, watch carefully for opportunities to meet your inspirations in person. For example, I'll be seeing Bill Bonner speak this fall at Bootcamp, and after years of learning from his work, I'm thrilled to finally be able to meet him – especially now that I'm a full-time copywriter! Plus, the day after I meet him, I'll get to hear some of my other inspirations, John Forde and Nick Usborne, give special hands-on training sessions.

Now that I've shared a few of my inspirations, I'd love to hear yours. Who inspires you as a writer? How did you find them, and what do they inspire you to do in your own career? Tell me in the comments here.

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Published: June 17, 2013

6 Responses to “It Only Takes a Spark”

  1. I have two inspirations:

    Mark Ford and Jon Morrow.

    Everyone knows Mark Ford from Early to Rise. He makes the difficult look easy, and I've never come across a writer who willingly gives so much of himself. I ravenously consume everything he writes.

    Jon Morrow is a master blogger, an editor for Copyblogger and a total invalid. He "writes" using speech software and earns $500,000/year living on the beach in Mexico. He's forgotten more about blogging than most writers will ever learn. Awesome!


  2. Gary Scott inspired me to pursue the writer's life all-out when I heard him speak at AWAI's Bootcamp a number of years ago. He's been writing for decades and has built a huge business with a relatively small list, all while splitting his time among three homes throughout the year.

    Steve Roller

  3. Jen: Bill Bonner is one of my inspirations as well; I'm a big fan of his Diary of a Rogue Economist which I read religiously. I'm going to Bootcamp, too, so I'm thrilled to learn he'll be there speaking.

    My first inspiration was Mark Ford and he was the one who encouraged me to look into copywriting as an additional income through his Palm Beach Wealth Builders newsletter. So glad I did; I'm not full-time yet but I will be!!

    Diane Aksten

  4. Thanks for contributing this article. It really was a pleasure to read and added value to my work-life.

    On a personal note, "Early To Rise" has always been an inspiration and feels great when it is deliverd to my in-box.

    I feel inspired by the life stories of people like Bob Bly and Michael Masterson and a few others.

    Some of them have been rags to riches stories and have made a name for themselves through sheer determination and hard work. And oodles of talent too.

    The thought does enter you mind: maybe if they could do it, I can do it too.

    Have a good one.

    Archan Mehta

  5. Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions led me to WmCampbellDouglassII and Dr Al Sears, which led to Porter Stansberry and Kathleen Peddicord, which led to AWAI years ago. Finally I read ReadyFireAim by Michael Masterson which (!) connected alotta dots & got me looking at AWAI again. I read Bill Bonner & Mark Ford frequently via Stansberry&Associates. This is only a small sample of this-leading-to-that. The tip of it. Focussing on AWAI APFSFC - The greatest! My deepest thanx & appreciation.JHS


  6. All great inspirations! Mentioning Jon Morrow made me think of Johnny B Truant - he's really taken a leap from copywriter and marketer to Amazon Kindle author and it's been interesting to watch.

    Mark Ford has a new book in the works ... will be interesting to grab it when it comes out!

    Jennifer Adams

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