Copywriting is the Ultimate Way to Live the Writer’s Life


Katie Yeakle

“Can someone like me really live the writer’s life?”

“I know others are doing it. But how long is it going to take me?”

“And how does AWAI help us succeed?”

Katie Yeakle here. As AWAI’s Executive Director, these are questions I’ve heard a lot over the last 19 years.

Since this is the start of the New Year, I thought this would be a great time to publically answer all your most pressing questions in this weeks The Writer’s Life.

In today’s issue, I’m going to start with the most basic question of all:

Why, of all the opportunities for writers to make money, should I consider copywriting?

The answer is simple: Copywriting is the single most liberating way to make a living — or supplement your regular income — or transition from your present job to a new career or early, financially-secure semi-retirement. There are so many benefits to becoming a copywriter. Just look …

  • Copywriting Benefit #1: Your time is your own. No time clock, no set hours.
  • Copywriting Benefit #2: Your office can be anywhere you like — the porch of a beach house or mountain cabin, in your RV, even the corner table at your favorite Starbucks.
  • Copywriting Benefit #3: Your income can be good from the start, and keep getting better. Imagine being paid $500, $750, $1,000 and more for writing simple, short, “friendly” letters about products, services, or subjects that interest you. That is as real as the ground beneath you.

    Imagine earning more part-time in a month or two than your present job pays all year. That, too, is very real, as you’ll soon see. There are other financial benefits and “perks” too. For example, the government rewards you with tax breaks — even government-subsidized vacations.

  • Copywriting Benefit #4: You’ll be engaged in fun, fascinating, creative activity all about ideas … telling interesting stories … helping businesses communicate and put their ideas across. If you find your present way of “putting food on the table” dull or uninteresting, that can change right now. I’ve never heard a freelance writer complain of being bored!
  • Copywriting Benefit #5: You can create real financial security – the only real security, your personal ability to produce “work” that there is always an endless, expanding demand for. Never worry about looming layoffs again. Escape dependence on one employer, diversify your income with a number of clients, own skills in demand by many (both here and abroad). If you have a computer connected to the Internet, there are no boundaries and you can write for clients anywhere in the world. The demand for what American Writers & Artists members do is global and local, strong in “good” or “bad” times; a reliable profession.
  • Copywriting Benefit #6: You’ll be part of an elite, unusual society. Most successful writers are made not born, yet we are a special breed, mysterious to and admired by “civilians,” and embraced by each other. The bond that writers have with each other is like nothing that occurs in any other field. (One of the many benefits of membership with AWAI is this unique community. We connect you with other AWAI members and support the ongoing community online and at conferences.)
  • Copywriting Benefit #7: If you choose, you can use the skills you develop to help your favorite causes, charities, even individuals in need, and do good for the world. Non-profit organizations of every size and nature hire and pay freelance writers and copywriters. You can also donate your professional services as “in kind contributions” for tax deductions. Every group from the local animal rescue shelter to Greenpeace needs help raising funds and communicating with donors, and communicating their message to the world at large.
  • Copywriting Benefit #8: You will have proven pathways to follow when you begin, with AWAI as your “mentor.” If living the writer’s life appeals to you, know that as you seek this exciting life as your own, we will be by your side every step of the way! And AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is where it all begins.

And last but not least, you’ll be in good company.

Here’s a partial list of people you’ll recognize who worked as copywriters before achieving fame outside the DM world. One name that’s missing … Ben Franklin. Old Ben started the first mail order catalog in 1770.

  • James Patterson, author
  • Sherwood Anderson, author
  • Augusten Burroughs, author
  • Helen Gurley Brown, former publisher and editor (Cosmopolitan)
  • Peter Carey, author
  • Gary Comer, founder of Lands' End
  • Bryce Courtenay, Australian author
  • Don DeLillo, author
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, author
  • Terry Gilliam, director and animator
  • Alec Guinness, actor
  • Dashiell Hammett, author
  • Hugh Hefner, publisher (Playboy)
  • Joseph Heller, author
  • Russell Hoban, author
  • Tim Kazurinsky, comedian
  • Rick Moranis, actor
  • Ogden Nash, poet
  • Bob Newhart, comedian and actor
  • Alan Parker, director
  • Steven Pressfield, author
  • Franc Roddam, director
  • Indra Sinha, translator and novelist
  • Salman Rushdie, author
  • Dorothy L. Sayers, author
  • Fay Weldon, author
  • Thom Jones, author

That’s great for them … but I know what you are thinking, can someone like me REALLY do this?

It’s important to know that successful AWAI members have had many different starting points. Unemployed for eight months and terrified. Stuck in depressing, dead-end jobs. In jobs they like, but can’t earn enough money from to meet their needs. 20 years old, 75 years old. Already confident of writing talent — others, doubtful they can write anything worthy of payment. Silver-tongued salesmen, small town schoolteachers, shy homemakers suddenly having to re-enter the work world after traumatic divorces.

You name a beginning, any beginning, and I can introduce you to an AWAI member with a similar starting place, now earning excellent income, feeling secure, doing work that is interesting to them, leading a fulfilling life … and thanking copywriting for it all!

By choosing copywriting as your writing career, you’ll instantly be part of and embraced by this entire community, too. You see, copywriters like to share information and help each other succeed. That’s one of the nicest things of all about choosing to be a copywriter … you’ll have plenty of help along the way.

You’ll be assisted not just by our Board of Advisors but by successful members who generously share their experience, who appreciate having had a helping hand extended to them and now extend theirs in turn. You’ll be mentored, coached, encouraged, and supported day by day, as you first explore, then find your way to the writer’s life just right for you.

I’d love to hear what the writer’s life means to you. Let me know in the comment section below.

More questions answered tomorrow!

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 »


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Published: January 4, 2016

30 Responses to “Copywriting is the Ultimate Way to Live the Writer’s Life”

  1. This is my "Step One"to the unknown.I believe I'm going to be a great writer so I aspire to be one.My mind and heart are both ready and I'm more than eager to learn. I'm positive that with the right kind of attitude and commitment , the program will lead me to the right path.So today, I start Decisipline 101.Thank you for this little corner that is quite unheard of but once explored ; unleash that power that can change lives and make dreams come true.Kudos!

    SamHilarioJanuary 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm

  2. Copywriting Benefit #9: Personal Validation and Recognition that your writing moved someone, persuaded someone, enriched someone's life and you aren't just a faceless, nameless cog in a corporate copy mill.

    Bob HardyJanuary 4, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  3. Hello Katie,

    What the Writer's life means to me is that now I have a profession that I can own up to and truly call my very own. It's been a long road since the 2008 downturn in our economy. I decided that I would find my "dream job" of others telling me to settle for "a job." I've pressed on and in the month of June 2015, AWAI found me! Never did I think that the dream job would include working with who I want, when I want, and what I wanted to work on. It's unbelievable but I am putting forth the effort towards becoming a copywriter. I actually, like to think of myself as a blossoming Wordsmith. I thank you and all the members at AWAI. You all have been wonderful and caring. I hope to meet you all at Bootcamp 2016!

    Guest (Regine Baptiste)January 4, 2016 at 2:16 pm

  4. I take a lot of nature photography on my country farmland in North Carolina. Do you know of any potential jobs where I could incorporate my photography into my articles? Thx - Looking forward to your reply!

    Guest (Lisa Lavallee)January 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm

  5. My late wife and I were together 24/7/365 for 24 years. She passed away in October. We'd worked together in my practice the entire time. Now I don't have the heart to do chiropractic without her.
    Copywriting thrills me with new opportunities to re-define my life. That's important at age 69. Life's always about becoming. This is freeing me in ways I've never known.
    I can't thank you enough for all you do!

    Guest (Doc Boatright)January 4, 2016 at 2:38 pm

  6. I am very interested in becoming a copywriter, but I cannot invest in a program at this time. I have had some financial difficulties recently unfortunately. They are resolving but I will not be able to join until perhaps June 2016. Will that be possible?

    Guest (Deborah)January 4, 2016 at 3:04 pm

  7. I have really reading the information I have received so far. Can't wait to start the accelerated course.

    CheriJanuary 4, 2016 at 3:22 pm

  8. I am very excited with the thought of becoming a copywriter. I have been a court-reporter, plumber, restaurant manager, a rehabilitation counselor. I have done a great number of things. I have enjoyed the trip. I truly love writing. I have a story to share with the world. I am a Retired Soldier. I have dealt among other things death and survival.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    Sincerely,

    Thomas A. Applebee M.S.
    U.S. Army, Retired

    Guest (Thomas )January 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm

  9. It is great if you're one of those who reach the jackpot, but you can't just sit down for 20 minutes a day, have fun writing, and then get big bucks for it. I have serious doubts about it being "fun, fascinating, creative." It's not really "the writer's life," it's the SALES BUSINESS. If you want to make money writing, you need to learn how to write junk mail (or the equivalent), study sales statistics, etc. AWAI will help, for hundreds or thousands of $. Hey, it's less than college tuition!

    TrueBlaveJanuary 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

  10. Katie, I have dreamed of a writing career for years. In fact , my son and I have written a children's book together (non-published as of now). I am currently unemployed and would love to dedicate my time to writing. please share with me, the way to begin.

    Guest (Michele )January 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

  11. Hi Katie,

    The Writer's Life through AWAI wasn't something that I just happened to stumble upon.

    I believe in "destiny" and this family of writers/artists will bring the best out of me.

    You see, I've always been interested in writing and I am writing a book of short stories, however, I have been alone over 35 years. Without a steady income writers/artists could "starve" to death waiting to get published.

    Therefore, joining AWAI with such a vast variety of opportunities to earn an "immediate" flow of income is a dream come true.

    Especially, since I have a three-year old grandson whom I've had since he was 11 days old to raise alone on a fixed income.

    I know with AWAI variety of high-paying opportunities,I will be successful.Thanks!

    Wanda Simpson MillerJanuary 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

  12. Is there anyone I can actually speak to before I make the commitment of taking a course. All the written material is great but I am still a bit hesitant and money is super tight right now. Thanks.

    Guest (Fruma Esther Frost)January 4, 2016 at 8:47 pm

  13. Hi Katie Yeakle, I am turning 70 next month. I've written ad copy for radio and tv for over 20 years. I am retired, yet work part-time at Walmart. I would love to quit that job and do copywriting from my home. After studying some of your courses and other courses from the internet, plus reading books, it has solidified those desires. However, I am still hesitant about marketing my hopefully, soon to be copywriting business. I plan to do more studying and when that moment comes that I feel confident about my copywriting, I'll make that big plunge. Thanks for all your help.
    James Thomas Smith

    jimtsmithJanuary 4, 2016 at 9:32 pm

  14. I get very excited when I read the articles submitted by AWAI. I am seeking a career change, and I love writing. I am afraid that I will not be good enough. My fear keeps me from trying. I am ready to try new things and overcome my fear in 2016. My funds are very limited at this time, and I am unable to pay for any training or classes. I hope this will be available in the future. Thank you for your continued encouragement and information!

    Guest (Corey Wiles)January 4, 2016 at 9:33 pm

  15. I'm hoping that it means financial freedom, I want to make enough money for my husband to quit work and do something he really likes. I also want to feel free to buy my family the things they want or need without worrying about it. I just keep trying to figure it all out by myself but I may end up needing to purchase one of the courses that you offer. I've been trying to study and absorb everything I've read, but it's hard to figure out how to put it all together.

    Kim SmythJanuary 4, 2016 at 10:03 pm

  16. The Writer's life is a life of being respected, supporting your family, and helping people which can change their life for the better.

    Guest (Tony Ware)January 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm

  17. Writing has been a dream I have had for a long long time! Writing is so wonderful. A happy writing connection fulfills my desire to write! To know others will be happy to read what I may write about is so wonderful. I love to read too, so I understand their enjoyment. I sit here with anticipation for the writing to begin.

    VMarieJanuary 5, 2016 at 2:15 am

  18. I just joined as a AWAI member. I would love to take the accelerated program but money is real tight right now and I need to conserve. To be honest I worry that my money won't hold out till I can start earning from writing. But as soon as I see my way clear I will be looking to jump on board. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Jerry

    Guest (Jerry)January 5, 2016 at 11:51 am

  19. i certainly like this and cannot wait to adopt it for my next career. I just want to know how i am expected to get started. do i have to write and submit pieces for your review or i will be guided on what to write about? do i need to pay anything right away for this to happen? i have no doubt i would love to do this for a living

    Guest (David Lekhanya)January 5, 2016 at 12:35 pm

  20. I'm in the first week of the Accelerated Program and I'm motivated and excited to see what I can achieve. To me, living a writer's life means not existing hand to mouth and having the flexibility to work around my friends' rigid work schedules in order to spend more valuable time with those I love. I want to be the guy who's up for anything, anytime, be it a lunch date on a Tuesday or a week away on short notice.

    Daniel RJanuary 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  21. I've been a hobby writer my entire life, but never done anything to get paid for my talent. I'm ready to supplement my existing career and start making extra money to stretch my life even further beyond its current boundaries. Very excited!!!!

    AJJanuary 5, 2016 at 6:15 pm

  22. GREETINGS Katie and Everyone,

    I dig writing yet I'm to LEARN Proper Techniques and with the Accelerated Course as well the recently purchased Companion Series, I feel confident that a new Life awaits, even though I've yet to get me head around being paid for inking paper.
    While I'm currently a truck driver and my wife works for a different trucking company, we both need improved lives as we, like most people, work a j.o.b. which can END at any time for any or no reason.
    LEARNING IS REWARDING!!

    G Eric GaitherJanuary 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

  23. THE REASON this traveler was led to A.W.A.I.:
    Valerie Young and her Changing Course website.
    THANK YOU Valerie!!
    CHEERS!!

    G Eric GaitherJanuary 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm

  24. So many great comments ... I'll answer the specific questions:
    Lisa - Travel writing is a great way to incorporate your photos too.
    Deborah - We're not going anywhere. We'll be here when you're ready. And, don't forget about all the great free content we have available in the archives section of our website.
    TrueBlave - it is work, no doubt about it. And, yes, it's a skill that needs to be learned. I hope you'll try it before you knock it.

    Guest (Katie Yeakle)January 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm

  25. My responses Part 2:
    Michele: The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting is the best place for you to start. If that's not an option for you, there are plenty of great articles about how to get started in our article archives.
    Fruma - call member services at 561-278-5557. They can answer your questions and/or put you in touch with AWAI members who are now living the writer's life.
    David - If you've purchased the Accelerated Program, how you get started is explained in there. If you haven't, look for articles about getting started in the free article archive on the website.

    Guest (Katie Yeakle)January 6, 2016 at 2:07 pm

  26. My responses Part 3:
    Welcome to Eric, AJ, Daniel, Jerry, VMarie, Wanda, Doc, and Regine. I look forward to celebrating your success with you. And, thank you to everyone else who took the time to read my article and respond. Wishing you all happy writing! Katie

    Guest (Katie Yeakle)January 6, 2016 at 2:12 pm

  27. Wow! If I could only be a writer, I could fulfill a dream of childhood and prove to at least one teacher which told me, "you can never accomplish being an author"; WRONG!

    Guest (Zonation)January 6, 2016 at 4:54 pm

  28. If in the beginning had been but "The Word," then we as rational creatures must summon every other word, and in every different combination, before our "miles to go" can conjure any sleep.

    Copywriting merely quickens the meeting twain between rewards otherwise likely left untilled.

    Guest (Chris Morris)January 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm

  29. Hi Katie. Thank you so much for such an eye opening post. As a kid, way back, I was fascinated by the way writers made you feel, that you were part of the story. Upon my retirement, as a Behavior Therapist, I took up blogging, and later on, decided to try my hand at writing. I'm co-writing a book with my published cousin. Your post has opened my eyes to a new, but scary adventure. It's foreign to me, but you seem to feel that us newbies can do it. Well, I'm going to give it a try. Blessings.

    Guest (Dr Johnny Velazquez)January 7, 2016 at 8:59 pm

  30. Choosing my own destiny is my draw. I want to have the self confidence to pick what I write about. I want to feel the satisfaction of being directly rewarded for my work, be it a comment or a paycheck. The biggest motivator for me is my desire to be able to work anywhere. I want to explore, drift, experience and feel all that life has to offer. I do not believe you can get that in a grey cubicle no matter how many motivational quotes you tack to the wall.

    PattiJoJanuary 23, 2016 at 8:36 pm


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