Living the Writer's Life: Thomas Blake
Thomas’ Writer’s Life: X-Ray Machines, Pencil Sketches, and Botanical Gardens
Thomas Blake followed a twisty path in life before he landed on B2B copywriting. But today, he’s living his writer’s life while enjoying a newfound hobby of drawing pencil sketches. He even managed to score a free art course in exchange for his blog-writing services. Read below to learn Thomas’ advice for how to avoid burnout and one sneaky trick to make sure you’re always writing in a conversational tone.
How did you get your start as a copywriter?
My pathway to copywriting was long and convoluted. I had many jobs: high school biology teacher, X-ray technologist, and cardiac cath lab technologist. I never really considered writing as a career in school, and never pursued it after college. And besides, I thought it took an insane amount of talent to write anything.
It wasn’t until much later in life that I developed an interest in writing, especially short stories and books. Some of my favorite authors are Edgar Allan Poe, Rudyard Kipling, and Jack London. About four years ago, I came across an email from AWAI asking, “Can you write a letter?” and thought, Yes, I can.
I took the Accelerated Course for Six-Figure Copywriting and soon joined the Circle of Success. My interests lay in short forms of writing, like blogs, emails, and Facebook ads. Steve Slaunwhite’s B2B course proved to be the perfect match for me. B2B blogs require a little knowledge of the B2B style and a whole lot of conversational writing. In fact, I use speech to text when composing an article.
For example, I write for X-ray refurbishing companies. When I am composing, I just imagine sitting across the table from an imaging director, or radiologist, explaining to them the price points of computer aided tomography scanners and why you should consider buying a refurbished unit vs. state of the art. I acquired my first client at a trade show about three years ago, and I use LinkedIn to reach out for other prospects.
You have a great website called Howtodrawinpencil.com. How does art fit into your story?
Art and drawing came about during the pandemic. I got tired of bingeing on Netflix and social media, and I needed a creative outlet. Plus, I was burning out with writing and needed to reboot my mind. I read this book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
The book recommended that when you get burned out with one art form, try another. I picked drawing. I’ve always wanted to learn to draw. I am taking advanced art courses and maybe adding on illustrating to my copywriting services as well. The art program I’m taking will give me a free art course if I write 15 blog posts for their website valued at $300.
The big lesson for beginners is to get over the limiting belief that you need to have talent. In fact, desire along with a solid work ethic can launch a successful writing career. And with a little effort — okay, a lot of effort — you can achieve a writer’s life.
Any tips for new writers trying to find their first client?
Focus on the process and not the result. Pick a marketing tool and stick with it. For example, you can reach prospects via email, social media, trade shows, etc.
The big question to ask yourself before pursuing any client is What does a writer’s life look like to me? and map out the life. Really map it out.
Are you living abroad, writing in your home, or outside somewhere? What time do you start your day, and how long do you work? Also think about the money you want to make. Keep a journal and make detailed notes of how you’d like to spend your time and how much will it cost to live the writer’s life you desire.
Talent can help, but without desire, talent alone will not help you succeed as a writer or anything else in life. You have to do the work.
What are some of your favorite places to sketch?
Sketching is a great way to let loose and hone drawing skills in a more unrestrictive way. The botanical gardens are beautiful places to hang out at and clear your head when you feel that burnout.
Thomas's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
What help do you need to move forward with your version of the writer’s life? Let us know in the comments below so we can help guide you in the right direction.
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