The Strategic Approach to Becoming a Successful Writer


Will Newman

It’s human nature to put things off for “just a little while.”

Amid the clatter of plates and glasses during lunch break at this year’s Bootcamp, Carol Parks told me she had put copywriting success on hold when she first got The Accelerated Program just like Les Worley had. But in Carol’s case, she devised an unusual strategy for getting herself back on track.

While this strategy has pushed her closer to her dream of being a successful copywriter, it’s a strategy you could use for accomplishing any of your important life goals.

But first, a little about Carol:

I’m a mom of five children – three sons and two daughters. I homeschooled my children. And for all those years until the end, I also ran a private piano school and taught anywhere from 45 to 60 students a week.

I did this in three different states as I followed my husband around for his corporate jobs. And frankly, I was burned out … especially with teaching my own children in their subjects, then turning around and teaching piano for six more hours.

I was looking for a change. Looking to find out what my next step should be. I tried selling real estate for a couple of years. I decided I’d never see my kids grow up if I kept that up. I was working 60 hours a week to make a pittance.

So I got the “Can you write a letter like this one” letter. I thought it looked good. My kids had started to fly the coop, so I was looking for something that would allow me to travel. So I ordered The Accelerated Program. I promptly put it on my bookshelf where it sat for three years.

[This is Will again. I’ve heard Carol’s story repeated many times. AWAI members who buy the program and let it sit. Potential members who plan on buying the program but put it off. As you learned from Les’s story yesterday, some members let it sit for a long, long time. But what Carol did next made a huge difference in her life.]

In 2006, I got an invitation to come to Bootcamp. The invitation was so compelling, I knew I had to go. But I had a hard time justifying spending money on Bootcamp when I had The Accelerated Program gathering dust on the bookshelf.

So I negotiated with myself. “I would sign up for Bootcamp,” I told myself. But I would go only if I finished The Accelerated Program. This was August, so I only had a couple of months to get it done. So I made time everyday to work on the program.

I finished the program before Bootcamp, and off I went. I’m so glad I did because by the time I got through Bootcamp, I was committed to “I can do this!”

I joined COS while I was at Bootcamp that year. I had the same discussion with myself about COS that I had about Bootcamp. About the expense. But I couldn’t see passing up all the benefits like access to all the AWAI programs, and the Targeted Learning Programs like Headlines and Leads.

So I joined Circle of Success on the payment plan. Joining made me feel like I’m in the loop. What I mean by that is having instructors, other COS members, and AWAI staff who can support me when I need it.

That support from COS – and the belief in myself that support gives me daily – helped my career immediately. I landed a client from Job Fair at that very same Bootcamp. And I’ve been working as a copywriter ever since.

I asked the Circle of Success friends I met with to tell me a lesson they’ve learned from COS, or Bootcamp, or being a copywriter … a lesson they wanted to pass on to you. Only I didn’t ask Carol since she’d woven her lesson into her conversation with me.

Carol’s lesson is a very effective strategy she used to propel her success … a strategy you can easily use.

Like other AWAI members, after getting The Accelerated Program, Carol put it aside to “pick it up soon.” But Carol put it someplace – on a prominent bookshelf – where, in her words, “it nagged me constantly.”

Keeping her goal of being a successful copywriter visible daily eventually worked its magic. Now, I’m not suggesting you deliberately put The Accelerated Program or any other aspect of your success plan on hold. Never! You can always find a time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, to invest in your success.

But I am suggesting this: If you’ve stuck The Accelerated Program on a back shelf, pull it out right now. Put it on your kitchen table or someplace you’ll see it clearly. As you go by, touch it and tell yourself, “Today at 7 o’clock.” (Or whenever you can give it at least 15 minutes.)

Then do it!

Maybe it’s not The Accelerated Program you’ve put on hold. Maybe you’ve been putting off joining AWAI in the first place.

When should you do that? There’s no better time than right now.

Whatever it is you’ve decided you need to be successful, make it visible. Then do it today. Don’t put it on hold for three years like Carol did. Or eight years like Les.

How long have you put off making those vital steps for success? What have you done – or what are you doing now – to get yourself moving? We’d all love to hear. Let us know in the comment section.

Tomorrow, you’re going to hear from another of my COS friends … this time a member who went from Air Force pilot to copywriter when we visit with Jim Panter.

Until then, keep writing!

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Published: October 28, 2015

27 Responses to “The Strategic Approach to Becoming a Successful Writer”

  1. Hi Will,

    I have some questions for you. The advertisements for the COS program mention that this program will help you become an A level copywriter. What is the difference between an A level copywriter and someone who has either recently completed the Accelerated Program or is still in the process of completing the Accelerated Program? What is a master copywriter? Are individuals just starting out as a copywriter called entry level copywriters? Thank you for your response.

    SheilaOctober 28, 2015 at 7:11 am

  2. I'm getting all this stuff about the "Circle" .. I'm only half way through chapter 2 and have just begun to figure things out .. frankly, I cannot justify the expense .. and .. it seems to be a "cart before the horse" type of issue .. seems most have taken the bootcamp, circle route here .. it is possible that I could lose interest by the time I finish chapter 3

    AnimalOctober 28, 2015 at 1:05 pm

  3. Wills topic today really sang to me!
    I have completed the Accelerated Copywriting Course,and for the first while I enthusiastically pursued clients,but haven't had any success so far. I am single and make barely enough at my full-time job to get by. I'm feeling discouraged and I'm now having trouble focusing on writing, and finding time to write. I'm not giving up,but I feel very lost right now...

    Jason BennettOctober 28, 2015 at 1:15 pm

  4. Thanks for sharing Carol's letter. I have been working the Accelerated Program, but recently had a break. Today is the day I will get back on it. I'm probably not the only person that was confused about the video companion series and the Accelerated Program. So, today is the day.
    Thanks Brenda D

    Guest (Brenda Drexler)October 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

  5. What did they get that could be put on a shelf. My program is on the computer. It's not a book or CD.

    Guest (Sue)October 28, 2015 at 3:01 pm

  6. Thanks for this article; I needed to read it today. I joined AWAI about a month ago and I have to say that I'm loving everything about it so far. There are times I feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of materials to read and study but I keep plugging along. I've been hearing about COS for a couple of weeks and would love to join but it's simply not in the budget right now. Some day soon though! Thanks so much!

    Guest (Alicia Denise)October 28, 2015 at 3:44 pm

  7. These stories are all well and good, we all have our own. I am very interested in succeeding at this, but at the moment I am just thankful to be alive. Like I told Rebecca I am starting my life over from scratch. I finally had the guts to walk out of a 30 year abusive marriage, but I had to leave with nothing. I managed to get a new car and I still have all that computer stuff, plus to buy. I do not need the stress of getting over extended at this point. I do not understand why that is so hard for you successful people to understand. So far, you all had way more than I did when you started. My car payment is my rent.

    Guest (Nancy J Frederick)October 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm

  8. I agree with the above comments. After already investing $200, and barely getting started, how do I know spending another $8,000 will earn me money? I'm sold on the dream, now stop trying to 'sell' me other stuff! Jason, your comment is my worry. I don't want to spend so much time copying letters about fishing if I'm not going to be able find clients. And how can we connect with other copywriters and get help and guidance, etc., without COS?

    MichellekOctober 28, 2015 at 5:49 pm

  9. Hello all! I am a member for 1&half years and I UNDERSTAND what each one of you is going through right now. I've seen several concerns over the cost of COS and Bootcamp and all the information overload. First I will say everyone has their own pace and in different situations in their life right now. Noone is going to match the next person on speed or budget. I missed the first Bootcamp and first COS sign up because I, too, was just trying to swallow the Accelerated program. There is a lot of---v

    Sarah SOctober 29, 2015 at 4:42 pm

  10. -->of Info to consume. I recommend you try to swallow the Accelerated program first and then decide if you are still serious enough to invest further or if this is not your thing. I'm proud to have met some very successful copywriters at this past Bootcamp. It confirmed for me that this is the real deal and you can be successful if you apply yourself. COS and Bootcamp are EXTREMELY VALUABLE steps to take-but only when you are ready. If the budget just isn't there right now then make it a ----v

    Sarah SOctober 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm

  11. -->a goal to work towards doing the next year. You can change your future when you are ready and able. But it does take perseverance. Nothing happens until you make it happen. With the concern about finding support without joining the costly things-I recommend AWAI's groupsite. It is there for you as a regular member just starting out. And it is still extremely valuable to me. The groupsite gives you the chance to ask questions, relate to others, and get your writing reviewed. Some people---v

    Sarah SOctober 29, 2015 at 4:50 pm

  12. -->Some people HAVE started their careers straight out of the Accelerated program. Then some others preferred more learning and preparation. This all depends on your how ready you feel you are. I hope this helps some of you! Sorry if this was long!

    Sarah SOctober 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm

  13. I really enjoyed reading this one Will...! It hit home and I have to admit, I am one of those people. Your letter is very encouraging, and really motivating. What has been on my mind, is this question: will I commit to this, or simply make an investment, that will loose its glitter as soon as I get the prize home. I am struck on the fence about this decision. That is my problem...!

    Guest (Writer1)October 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm

  14. I've saved all the articles from AWAI for "when I have more time". Now, after reading this one, I know I'm not alone in feeling stuck and overwhelmed. So now I'm scheduling time this afternoon to get started.

    Guest (Robin R)October 30, 2015 at 11:33 am


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