Don’t Let This Four-Letter Word Stand in Your Way of Living The Writer’s Life

Red word FEAR on grey grunge concrete wall with beautiful blue sky cloud viewed through a big hole in the A in FEAR

There’s a simple four-letter word that is often the obstacle standing between where you are now, and where you’d like to be in your journey to becoming a well-paid writer.

What is it?


I’ve seen it time and time again in the copywriters I meet.

They’ve been studying copywriting for months — possibly even years. And still, they haven’t done anything to hang their shingle as a professional copywriter.

And the reason — whether they are aware of it or not — is fear.

I know and recognize it so easily, because I’ve been there.

I got the copywriting bug after reading one of AWAI’s sales letters.

So I bought The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

I went through it, did the exercises, copied letters by hand, and so on.

And then …

Nothing happened.

Days … weeks … and even months passed.

Still nothing.

Before I knew it, six years had passed before I realized I was still no further along than when I started this whole copywriting thing.


That one four-letter word: Fear.

I kept putting off taking action.

Oh, I had great excuses like, “I’m just too busy right now.” Or, “I don’t think I’m ready. I should probably take another course. Maybe The Masters Program.”

And my all-time favorite, “I’ll start on Monday.”

In reality, I was afraid. I wondered what would happen if I wasn’t good enough. Or what if I took action and embarrassed myself? Or what if I put my all into this and it flopped?

All these fears were going on in my head and preventing me from living the life I wanted.

Fortunately, I stumbled onto a simple “secret” that helped me go from a six-year veteran copywriting student to a successful, professional copywriter.

I’ll tell you what it is in a moment, first I just want to bring up another important point.

Everything You Want Is on the Other Side of Fear

I truly believe that whatever you want to achieve in life, is on the other side of fear.

The problem is, most of us never find that out because we get stuck.

Sometimes in “analysis paralysis.” Or other times we distract ourselves.

Or, we simply settle for a life that’s just kind of “meh,” instead of going for a life that excites and thrills us and fills us with passion each and every day.

The reason, of course, is fear.

So not only is fear affecting your copywriting career, it’s affecting every area of your life, including your health and relationships.

Maybe there’s someone you need to confront and have a serious conversation with, but you haven’t out of fear. So you just “put up” with feelings of resentment and frustration.

Or maybe you need to make a big commitment to your health, but you haven’t yet because you’ve tried a zillion diets and you’re afraid of getting your hopes up and being disappointed again.

These are just off-the-cuff examples, but you get the idea.

Fear is something everyone has to deal with.

It’s just a matter of how you choose to deal with it.

Which leads me to the very simple “secret” that has brought me success in many areas of my life:

Follow Your Fear

You simply follow your fear.

You see, fear can be the thing that imprisons you to a life that’s way below what your true potential is.

Or, it can be a counselor. One that tells you what steps you need to take next, in order to get what you want.

So following your fear is just that …

It means you figure out what terrifies you, and you move towards it.

In short, you do the thing you’re scared of.

So let’s look at it in terms of living the writer’s life …

Terrified of emailing a prospective client?

Then that’s the fear you need to follow. Open up Gmail, Outlook, or whatever you use, write up an email, and hit “Send.”

Need to raise your prices?

Then you follow THAT fear. Let your clients know you’ll be raising your rates.

Need to create your website and let the world know you’re a copywriter?

So be it, follow your fear!

For me, it meant putting on a suit and tie and driving over to AWAI’s offices in Delray Beach and letting them know I wanted to work with them. I didn’t get the job right away, but taking that one action eventually did lead me to a job there and got my career off the ground.

So as you can see, following your fear is simple. (Not easy, but doable.)

You figure out what next steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Then take the one action step that scares you the most. Because typically, that’s the one that will pay the most dividends. (And remember, AWAI has resources to guide and help you with whatever action you need to take.)

Try and do something you’re afraid of every day.

That means you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone. And yes, it means it will feel uncomfortable.

Know that’s okay. And you will survive it. It just means you’re growing.

And, it means you’re finally on the path to no longer letting fear be your jailor.

Instead, you’re finally making progress on the things that really matter to you.

And when it comes to copywriting, it means you’ll be making your dreams of living the writer’s life a reality.

If you’re concerned about starting a new business in this climate, check out this free Inside AWAI webinar: How to Launch Your Freelance Writing Business During a Pandemic or Economic Crisis. It’s got some great tips!

What holds you back? What fear do you need to address? Let us know in the comments below so we can help.

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Published: March 8, 2019

10 Responses to “Don’t Let This Four-Letter Word Stand in Your Way of Living The Writer’s Life”

  1. I read this and realized fear probably is holding me back. I have with my words on paper and in person been able to encourage be persuasive and help people- but for some reason when it comes to making the leap I just can’t seem to do it. The crazy part is I truly hate my day job!!! I have always believed that writing is something I enjoy because words matter and they have the ability to positively affect someone. I will try to get unstuck- but may need help.

    Guest (Christine)

  2. Thank you for this excellent 'kick up the bum' reminder. Did something yesterday that really was out of my comfort zone, so here's to keep going.. :)


  3. WOW!! This really hit home for me! I have sooo many fears, I don’t know even where to begin. But my biggest fear of all is the ole “Fear of Failure”. Just getting started frightens me. As a future copywriter, no matter how much I study and practice, I always question whether I’m good enough. “Who would want to hire me?” is the question that goes through my mind constantly. After reading this article, I feel a bit more confident to just run with it though. Still fearful, if I never at least try, I’ll never know what I could accomplish. Thanks for sharing your story and this article.

    Guest (DJ)

  4. Thank you.
    In my case, I jumped in to legally setting up my business. I knew then I needed "skin in the game," so I hung my virtual URL as a freelance writer, by luck took on a few blogging clients and then learned and signed up with AWAI. Studying copywriting changed my writing style immediately, but my fear was in missing deadlines and disappointing clients. I hired a coach to help organize and systematize my writing day. Once systems were in place, I worked on my marketing. The ONLY thing I struggle scheduling is the additional training I bought through AWAI!

    Guest (V Lewis Writer)

  5. This article is quite timely. Since starting the Accelerated program, fear has raised its ugly head several times. Taking risks has never been my forte, however, it was easier when I was younger, because I never really thought about ‘what-ifs’, I just ‘did’. Now it’s not so easy, which is ironic since I have more life experience and savoir-faire. This article has reminded me to just ‘do’. The worst that could happen is that I fall, but thankfully, I’ve never forgotten how to get up. Thanks!


  6. I have a Writer's Work profile and have been scrolling through the jobs available but most of them require experience with a product or company. I don't know a lot about most or are interested enough to proceed. Do you have any advice?


  7. My biggest fear was probably, “What if I am asked to do something I don’t know how to do?”, I just don’t care because I need to have my barefoot writer’s yesterday. Thanks for this article...will revisit as a reminder.

    April T

  8. I fear I WILL become successful, and I'll too much to do.


  9. I have wallowed in fear for years. I still haven't set up my website, and I don't have the computer skills to do that. I do have a lack of computer skills, but I was so relieved when Nick Usborne said he does 2 finger typing.I wish I could get a "kick in the ---" from others, now and then.


  10. Failure is a big fear for me. oh and bears!

    Jayke Alden

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