Have You Found the Starting Point on Your Journey to The Writer’s Life?
I love helping people turn their dreams into reality. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than to see someone accomplish what they’ve set out to do. You could say it’s become my “truth” in life.
But in my 20-plus years of working with people from all walks of life and experience from Ivy League College-educated to those just starting out in their careers, there’s one giant misstep everyone makes. They jump into action without doing the first and most crucial step. And that is figuring out where they are now.
You see, without knowing where you are now in life, you can’t truly assess what you need to do to get to where you want to go or be. Let’s say your dream is to become a well-paid writer, but have you taken the time to figure out how you are going to make this life-changing goal become a reality?
Or let me ask it this way: If you were going to map out a road trip across the states, you would not simply pick your destinations without a starting point. You couldn’t. You would get lost. Or you’d wind up in some place that took way too long to get to, or a place you absolutely hated.
All that time wasted just to wind up in a destination that made you unhappy. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone.
Unfortunately, many people I work with have done this very thing. They have been wasting a ton of time, mental energy, and frankly, money going down a path that doesn’t get them where they want to be in life.
They are doing things like …
Reading a different book every week looking for “the answer.”
Scanning the Want Ads for a new job.
Trying new hobbies looking for fulfillment.
Spending money on trips they think are going to create some sort of calm or peace in their life.
Spending money on meaningless “stuff.”
Spending time with people who are “life suckers” not “energy givers.”
And lastly, but certainly not completing the full list, thinking to themselves, “If I only had ___________.”
The good news is, all of this can be avoided. When I work with people who are doing all of these things that hold them back from achieving their goals, the first thing I do is guide them to what I call their “truth.” Essentially, what I draw from them is the truth of their current life.
It is something many of us don’t really know because we’re too busy simply chasing things that don’t make us truly happy.
Now, you may recognize that you’re not happy in your life, but the problem is you don’t know why. That’s because you haven’t taken the time to break down all the specific things that make you unhappy … or happy.
It’s really a matter of taking an audit of where you are now in life so you can make a plan to get to where you want to be … or your end goal. How do you audit your life in a meaningful way?
Do this short three-part exercise
It starts by asking and answering a set of specific questions that let you zero in on what matters most. We’ll focus on the big three areas: Career, personal, and finance. I’ll break each down into specific questions that will help you begin to make big changes.
First, let’s talk about your career …
Start by asking yourself what parts of your job give you joy and which suck the energy right out of you? What are your strongest skill sets? What specifically do you need to learn in order to get to the next level? Then think about things such as your commute … is it too long? Do you work too many hours? Have you found that you don’t get along well with your boss?
Take the time to answer each question … really thinking about your answers.
Next, let’s look at your personal life …
When you are alone, do your feel at peace? In your current life structure, are you able to spend ample time with people who make you feel loved? Have any of your dozens of commitments to “eat healthier” or “work out more” been sustained? What parts of your day do you feel the most productive?
And now, money … I could — and will — do a whole other essay on money. But for now, answer these questions …
How much money do you need to pay every bill and live a decent life every month? And define what decent life means to you. Is it having enough money left to spend on little luxuries like a new watch or new piece of furniture for your house? Or enough money to work fewer hours and spend more time with loved ones.
How much money would you need in the bank to feel comfortable spending more time on creating your writer’s life? (This needs to be a specific and thought-out number.)
What did you waste money on last month?
Do you have a true savings plan? Do you even know what you would be saving money for? When thinking about finances, how much of your desire for money is predicated on you comparing yourself to others?
Here’s the thing. When you take the time to answer each of these questions (and by the way, this isn’t the complete list of questions I would ask you, but we don’t have room to list them all here in this article), what you are really doing is stopping yourself from chasing things that don’t have that much meaning to your life.
Before taking another step towards creating the writer’s life of your dreams, slow down and pinpoint where you are now so you can figure out where you want to go … I am hopeful that you will be able to map out a more concrete and achievable plan to create more happiness, fulfillment, time, and money.
Once that happens, you can step off the never-ending treadmill of running after things and actually live a life of true purpose … or your own “truth.”
Did you take the time to do the exercise? Did you struggle with any of the questions? Share in the comments below and we can help each other get started.
The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter
The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »
Thank you for the great advice!
Recently I've been frustrated with the money side of my business because there were some cool opportunities that came up and I didn't have the money. Ahhh!
So I have been going through my bank statements from the past year and finding places where I am wasting money. There were several things that cost $40-50 per month that I just cancelled, freeing up a couple thousand dollars.
Mandy Marksteiner –
I really felt like you were talking to me in this piece and would love to read the rest of it (the part you did not "have room to list them all here in this article").
It is funny to me how asking these questions of my clients would be second nature and yet for me they have been vague. Thanks for the reminder to dive in with a plan.
Guest (Darlene) –
Thanks for the advice. Am still trying to digest it.
Guest (Christiana Ajaps) –
I would love the opportunity to start this exciting new chapter in my life and look forward to joining the team as a AWAI new member.
Guest (Barbara Goslin) –
I have been writing my entire life but never been paid to wtite. Six months ago after writing a 15 pg letter almost without taking a breath, I thought to myself "gee I wonder if I could get paid to write". Up to that point I hadn't thought about it. I had previously in Dec 2016 made a solemn vow and gave myself a timeframe to achieve financial freedom. I virtually became a recluse for four months as I searched the internet for ways to accomplish my goal. Thats how I found AWAI and the Barefoot Writer
Guest (Cindy) –
I find these comments here encouraging and motivating me.Its only a matter of time soon I will join you members and learn more skills needed to be a successful writer. Please f you have any tips on how to be a successful writer dont hasitate to let me know.
Guest (Trial) –
I am fully retired and financially independent so your analysis questions don't fully apply to my situation. I'm looking for activities that I would enjoy but aren't a total waste of time. So I'm thinking that writing to help people achieve their dreams might be something that would provid feelings of accomplishment. But I don't want to waste money on something that I don't enjoy. I'm considering the AWAI Fast Start program.
Guest (Vern K) –
Hi Rebecca, where To start,I have ups and downs in the Heart of Chicago, is a Rough City. The writer's life will do me just fine.
Guest (Darrick) –
Hi Rebecca, where To start,I have ups and downs in the Heart of Chicago,it is a Rough City. The writer's life will do me just fine.
Guest (Darrick) –
I recently retired and realized that I have spent my life earning a living without doing what I really wanted to do -- be a writer. This has helped me realize that it is not to late to set goals and have the opportunity to fulfill a passion on my own terms. I am excited.
Joanna Peters –