Living the Writer's Life: Amanda Cowart
Former Teacher Trades in 58-Cent “Raise” for a Career in Copywriting!
A 58-cent “raise” from her former employer was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Amanda Cowart. She transitioned into copywriting and has never looked back. In fact, even if she were independently wealthy, Amanda would still choose to do copywriting. That’s because it gives her a tangible way to empower organizations and help improve the lives of people around her. Check out Amanda’s story and pay attention to how she can use a Pomodoro timer to write anything … Yes, anything!
Tell us about your journey into copywriting. What triggered you to pursue this career path?
I’ve enjoyed writing ever since a poetry unit in sixth grade lit a fire in my belly. I went on to work as an early-childhood teacher for nine years, which I loved. But when my oldest son turned 5 — the same age as my students — I realized I needed to make a career change to be a better parent. Loved the school but needed a break from small children.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was getting my annual raise letter — a whopping 58 cents an hour!
That was it for me. In July of 2017, I started googling ways to make money as a writer and saw an ad for Barefoot Writer: “Can you write a letter like this one?” I quickly bought the Six-Figure Copywriting course from AWAI, put in my notice at work, and got started.
At the end of January 2018, about six months after I’d decided to quit teaching and pursue copywriting, I got a phone call from my former school with a job offer. Within a week, I was back on campus working as the school’s fundraising copywriter — an absolute dream!
What kinds of clients and projects do you enjoy most?
I love working with nonprofit clients because they strive to make life better for others. I love watching the light bulbs turn on when nonprofit leaders see the difference between an appeal written at a 12th-grade versus a sixth-grade reading level. Same message, different language, better results. Fundraising doesn’t have to be boring! And it should never, ever be “elite.”
What has been your biggest “win” to date?
In November of 2021, I wrote a full Giving Tuesday campaign for my husband’s nonprofit in a matter of hours. We had hoped to raise $2,500 from the community, but after the dust was settled, nearly $25,000 had come in!
It meant so much because (1) it reignited my spirit after a very tough year, and (2) it showed my husband that I’m good at what I do. And most importantly, (3) it inspired a wonderful community to show their support for this small but mighty organization.
I put 100 percent of my heart into this campaign, and clearly the donors felt it, too.
What’s your advice to someone just starting out in copywriting?
To paraphrase many copywriters who’ve come before us: Write, publish, repeat. Done is better than perfect, and shipped is better than drafted. Also, “To a fourth grader, a fifth grader is wise.” Stay a step ahead of your clients, but don’t “study” yourself to death — get to work! You’ll learn so much more by doing.
What's the most unusual writing project you’ve ever worked on?
Recently I wrote 20 web pages for a company that I had no idea what they did: Materials handling? What even is that? Turns out, this company sells large-scale industrial equipment like cranes, forklifts, massive shelving units, and storage systems. I’m coming from the education and nonprofit world! But good writing is good writing. I set my Pomodoro timer and went to town on those pages, and my client loved the result.
Do you have any writing rituals or habits that help you get into the mood?
Of course! I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and do some yoga, followed by 30 minutes of free writing to get the gunk out. After the kids go to school, I take the dog out for a 1- or 2-mile walk.
Around 9 a.m., with a hot cup of tea in hand, I turn on my diffuser with lavender and peppermint essential oils, fire up the ol’ computer, and get started with the day. Pomodoro sessions have been the key to my success since starting my own business in January. Amazing what I can get done with a timer on!
Amanda'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.
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