Overcoming the Biggest Barrier to Achieving The Writer's Life


Will Newman

Thank you for returning to our weeklong visit to the Circle of Success Exclusive Blog vault. (If you missed our first two articles, click here and here.)

Today, I'm going to reveal the single biggest barrier to success in achieving the writer's life.

Let me start with an email I received several years ago from a COS member.

Can you help out a newbie who can pretty much talk herself out of anything? I need to know is copywriting doable? Is this learnable? As you can see, doubt crept in where enthusiasm and motivation once lived. I guess what I really want to know is can someone with no background in writing, or sales for that matter, conquer copywriting and be successful?

Do you have doubts like my COS friend? I'd be surprised if you didn’t. Anytime you embark on a venture as life-expanding as the one you're contemplating, self-doubt is normal.

But it doesn’t have to freeze you in place. It doesn’t have to keep you from grabbing the writer's life.

You're not alone …

Many AWAI members feel they're expected to make huge changes in their lives … really fast.

Nobody expects this. This type of change has to come at a pace that works for you.

If you approach your new career reasonably and systematically, you will make progress and be able to achieve the success you deserve.

But only under one condition: You don't allow doubts and misgivings to take control.

You can get there when you know where you’re going …

The best way to do this is draw a map for success. Regardless of where you are in your career, start with where you are now. Map out where to get to and when you want to get there. (The ‘when’ is very important.)

Here’s a good ‘for instance.’ Let’s say you just started The Accelerated Program. Its 13 installments suggest to me you might assign one installment a month to study. That means you have a little over a year to complete it.

Some of the installments will take less than a month to complete. Great! You’re ahead of schedule.

Some may take a bit longer. No problem. If you keep to your schedule, it works itself out.

The key is to keep on schedule. But saying, “I’m going to do one installment a month” isn’t enough. You must be more specific.

Schedule times every week to work on the program. If it’s practical in your life, make it the same days and times. (I strongly suggest this.) With approximately four weeks in every month, you’ve potentially got enough time every week to work on one-fourth of each installment.

One-fourth. Not big or overwhelming. You can do this!

I saved the most important for last …

You must write your schedule down. Do draft versions on scratch paper. When you have the final version, write it on a large piece of paper — something like 2' by 3' works well. Hang this large version on a wall near your work area. So what if it doesn’t match your décor! Your success is so much more important.

Every week when you complete your scheduled work, take a large marker and cross it off the big schedule … the one you see daily that maps progress toward your goal.

Completing anything as big as The Accelerated Program may seem overwhelming when seen from the starting point. But when you break it down into small, weekly steps, it’s much easier to keep moving forward.

Stick with this schedule. You’ll work your way through any AWAI program in the time you set out. Major success! Doubts squashed.

If lack of experience bothers you …

I started copywriting about 20 years ago after first majoring in biochemistry, then turning my career toward teaching severely disabled children. (Which I did for 25 wonderful years.) Not much preparation for copywriting.

It took effort and a systematic, scheduled approach. But here I am, doing what I love. And I know if I can make it, so can you … IF you give yourself the chance.

Good luck. Remember: Never let doubts stall you from becoming a successful copywriter.

Tomorrow, we'll talk about the one thing you must do to become a successful copywriter and to achieve the writer's life.

Until then, I'd love for you to tell us about how you overcome your doubts … Or if you're still struggling with them. Comment below to let us know.

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Published: May 25, 2016

17 Responses to “Overcoming the Biggest Barrier to Achieving The Writer's Life”

  1. Fear had just about derailed me- this message was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing.

    [FROM WILL: I'm glad this helped. isF a common emotion with writers. Two things help overcoming it: Writing and sharing your writing. Go for it.]

    Guest (Murphy Lee)May 25, 2016 at 1:20 pm

  2. Thanks Will,

    Doubt is a constant battle.

    But the solution as you mentioned is to have a plan and stick with it.

    I find that when I write my daily plan of operation the night before I get a lot more accomplished.

    It motivates and gives me something to look forward to doing.

    No time for doubt.

    I feel a sense of accomplishment and it makes me feel good in 3 ways: 1. I've overcome doubt 2.I managed the fear of doing factor and 3. I've taken another step forward toward my goal.

    [FROM WILL: I write my to-do list in the morning, because, well, I've always done it that way.But I can see how doing it the night before allows you to "sleep on" what you need to do -- an effective way of mustering the subconscious. I think I'll try this. And turn it into an article! Thank you.]

    Marcellus GreeneMay 25, 2016 at 1:35 pm

  3. I overcame my doubts about copywriting. I figured out that no one is going to make me a copywriter. If I want it, I have to write, and submit, and study, and network, and add to my portfolio, and write, and network and write some more. So that's what I'm doing. Writing, submitting, studying, networking and writing. Anyone can do it. They just have to actually DO it.

    [FROM WILL: This is great! You're saying exactly what anybody interested in becoming a successful copywriter needs to hear. Thank you for adding this.]

    Guest (Ari Sebo)May 25, 2016 at 2:00 pm

  4. I've been reading the blog and contemplating the course study, but here's the thing. I'm 53 years old, been an actor for over 30 years and now work as a paralegal in Canada. But my dream is to write, am I starting too late?

    [FROM WILL: I switched my career to copyrighting in my late 40s. That's not far from your age. But I've known a number of AWAI members who've done it even older, some even in their 70s. Don't let your age hold you back.]

    Guest (CeCe)May 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

  5. I have never had doubts in my writing. I am a very passionate writer. I was in journalism in high school and attend several summer and fall courses at different universities in Texas. I love to write about experiences in my life, marriage, health, nature and love. I am a very positive person and great people skills. I am a believer in quality verses quantity. I am truly considering joining AWAI, but lack the funds to join. I hope the opportunity will be available as soon as i can obtain the funds. I have no doubts in myself. I know writing is passion and want to write for a living. I'm a deep thinker, take time to listen and observe my surroundings. It's what allows me to grow as an individual and as a team player. Thank you, CoCo

    [FROM WILL: These are great qualities which will stand you well in your pursuit of a successful copywriting career. Thank you for posting.]

    Guest (CoCo Quiara)May 25, 2016 at 3:12 pm

  6. I began the Accelerated Course in Sept 2015 Very disappointed in myself that I didn't complete it in three months time as that was the original goal. That set back taught me a valuable lesson. This is NOT a race! If I want to truly absorb the materials and become a successful copywriter/writer, than I need to give it the time and effort that it deserves! I'm at peace about that now. I have been setting deadlines for myself and resetting them if I'm still working on it. I want to be the best!!

    [FROM WILL: My way of looking at what you said – – something I've shared with a few overeager parents who want their kids to jump from preschool to Harvard in one bound – – is success in any endeavor is a marathon not not a dash.]

    Linda Beauty MarksMay 25, 2016 at 4:19 pm

  7. Hi Will, Thanks I really needed to see this, as I'm finding it hard to start because I don't have a clue of what to do or where to start. I get emails about programs from Rebecca and Katie which seem to be important so i try to get them, as some won't be at that price again. They're Acc.Copywriting, Acc. Comp.series, B2B programs,Barefoot Writer, E Buss. templates,Smart start cop writing. Today I read about B2B content, does it tie in with B2B programs.
    I'm so overwhelmed and totally confused. What you said today seems like a ray of hope, and makes a lot of sence to me. Please help, which should I start and what should i do with the rest, or what order should i go in, as i really want to do this. Again thanks

    [FROM WILL: Sandra, please contact member services at AWAI and asked them to forward an email to me from you expressing some of your concerns. Thank you.]

    Sandra GMay 25, 2016 at 4:50 pm

  8. If I join AWAI,am I assigned a mentor during my stay? If so, how do I communicate with him or her? Please advise. Thanks.

    [FROM WILL: Mentoring is not part of the regular AWAI programs. However, finding a mentor can be an important part of keeping you on track as much as teaching you skills. Good luck.]

    Guest (Guido)May 25, 2016 at 4:52 pm

  9. Thank you so much for your timely message, Will! I may be a bit of an overachiever - I completed the Accelerated program in 2 months - and I am still as eager to write as ever! But that doubt does creep in ... ever so slowly ... until I am wondering what I am doing!! I love AWAI and all of the support that you guys give to us ... I am going to continue learning and writing ... I AM A COPYWRITER!

    [FROM WILL: Congratulations on your very quick completion of the Accelerated Program. Immersing yourself might be your way of dealing with doubt. But as long as you know that doubt is a normal part of any type of quest to achieve success, and you find ways of battling it, you will do well. Good luck.]

    Dianne WalsworthMay 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  10. I struggle with doubt on a daily basis. I just tell the little doubt voice that I'm not taking calls right now. The earliest I can get back to them is after I complete my long range goals. Then I get busy and do all the items I have on my schedule today. The doubts are gone by evening, but tend to start making noise again the next day. I just repeat the process.

    [FROM WILL: Excellent!]

    Guest (Ellen)May 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm

  11. Thank you for the motivation. I actually bought the Accelerator Program. It's now up to me to do and apply the lessons inside of it. That was the kick in the pants I needed to get busy.

    [FROM WILL: One more kick in the pants. While reading the first section, WRITE out a reasonable schedule that works for you to take you through ]to then end. Then work to that schedule. Good luck!]

    Aaron CollinsMay 26, 2016 at 2:05 am

  12. My doubt is how an African living in Africa will be able to succeed as a copywriter.

    [FROM WILL: John - If you're that person, contact AWAI member services and have them email me your question. Will]

    Guest (john)May 26, 2016 at 7:58 am

  13. Hi Will:
    Picked up a good quote from a Tara Reed in Detroit on a TED Talk.
    "Successful people find a way to start...before they are ready." Seems appropriate for today's missive.
    Cheers WillC

    [FROM WILL: Now I know of two Wills who like TED Talks. Thank you.]

    Will CraigMay 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm

  14. Will Newman thanks to you in advance for all your courageous articles since I have begun to received them .
    I like to copywriter but my sources are not enough to fulfil what demands by AWAI to pay,due to the difference between the hard current of USA and my country south Sudan ,in addition i am a refugee out of my country due to the war .
    Thanks.

    [FROM WILL: Do what you can. And you have mt respect and admiration for looking forward when there is so much in the past to slow you down. Good work! And good luck.]

    Guest (Magey thow )May 26, 2016 at 6:19 pm

  15. I have been a subscriber for long and reads every letter cos I want to be a good writer in every way,money for tutorials has always kept me undecided and the doubts that follows,i have made changes to adopt and ve written for some trials without summiting it,i wonder. Why? Do you have any further assistance for me or steps to take.

    [FROM WILL: Please contact member services at AWAI with your question and have them forward your email to me.]

    Guest (Ekene )May 27, 2016 at 4:40 am

  16. Thank you for your most encouraging words and great advice. I usually self talk myself into getting out of my "stinking thinking." I usually am a positive person and I just sent in my "Revised Restaurant Letter" and I'm very anxious to read my 2nd review, the first review was very exciting for me. If I keep on my Accelerated Program as I am, my date of completion will be June 13th, 2016. I desire to one day be as good of a writer as you. You have greatly inspired me. Thank you so much.

    [FROM WILL: It warms my heart to read that you have a specific date for completion and that you revised and resent your restaurant letter. These two things tell me you're going to succeed at your quest for the writer's life. Great work. If you're at Bootcamp be sure to look me up.]

    Frances HMay 27, 2016 at 5:44 pm

  17. I have already since April been through two periods in my efforts to learn. First I was very excited and worked every day. Next I had a small health problem and doubts became a problem. Now it is May and I am back working again and hope to continue. Your encouragement Will really helps.

    [FROM WILL: Good luck on your resurgence.]

    Capture Emotions help your body healMay 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm


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