Living the Writer's Life:
Deanna Blanchard
‘I clocked in and went home,
and I wanted more.’

Deanna enjoys her flexible schedule that allows plenty of time with loved ones (shown here with Lucy, her dog).

Deanna enjoys her flexible schedule that allows plenty of time with loved ones
(shown here with Lucy, her dog).

Deanna Blanchard’s journey to copywriting is heartwarming … Not only did she venture into a way of life that was unfamiliar based on her upbringing, but she also rediscovered the joy she felt through writing and, albeit with some trial and error, made it work for her in a way that allowed her to pursue other passions. Plus, it gave her the ability to be there for those who matter most in her life. Enjoy her story.

What did your life look like before you discovered writing for a living?

Deanna and Lucy enjoy some fresh air on a walk in Asheville, North Carolina.
Deanna and Lucy enjoy some fresh air
on a walk in Asheville, North Carolina.

I’ve always loved to write. But I never thought I could be a writer, because I equated writing to being an author, and I like to eat and pay bills. Funnily, I was a marketing major, and copywriting was really underplayed in college, especially direct-response writing. I really didn’t know it was a thing.

So I worked as an accounting manager at a marketing agency, and it was an okay job. We had fun, but I never felt fulfilled. I clocked in and went home, and I wanted more. Then I got this letter one day from AWAI, saying, “If you can write a letter like this one, you can earn six figures.” I kept rereading it and thought, I could do this. And that changed everything.

How did you make the leap from that accounting job to copywriting?

I saved $8,000, and then I took the Accelerated Program for Seven-Figure Copywriting. I thought I was ready to go, and quit my job, but I had no plan. I didn’t choose a niche or anything. I was just trying to find work. I was contacting local ad agencies who did not know about AWAI and were not impressed with me. I actually had to find a part-time job to fill in. If I had it to do over, I’d start on the side while I still had an income. But I ended up in a peer group through AWAI and met a guy named John Knutson, who was my first cheerleader. He got hired by Clayton Makepeace and then referred me. I worked for Clayton Makepeace for about three years, and you can’t get better than that.

Clayton was legendary for his copy, but he was also kind and welcoming to beginners. And it shows how vital connections in this industry can be. What kind of copy do you write now?

Now I try to do the same for others, because I can’t tell you how many hand-ups I’ve had from other copywriters. I wrote health copy for Clayton, and my second client was in the financial niche, but now I’m back to health. But there’s a story around that. I’ve been a caregiver for my parents for a few years. Financial is very demanding, and it was hard to juggle that and caring for two old people. Health is a little less demanding, so I ended up going back to health. These days I do email campaigns and whatever is needed. It’s always something new. I even put some books on Amazon for my client because I’ve written a book and self-published it. It’s a middle grade novel … My pen name’s Bailey Baxter.

I know many people who aspire to be novelists and use copywriting to earn an income. Do you have any tips for pursuing both at the same time?

It helps that I’m a contractor now, so as long as I meet my deadlines, I can work on other projects. And I feel like writing every day like I do makes me a faster and better fiction writer.

If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were still doing accounting and just clocking in and out, what would you tell yourself to expect down the road?

The hardest thing was getting out of that stability of a paycheck. But it’s worth it to have freedom and do something you love. Also, I don’t have any entrepreneurs in my family. As far back as I know, everyone’s had a job. My dad worked at the same company for 30 years, so I went into my adult life thinking that’s the way it’s done. I needed a bit of a reset in my thinking that there are other ways to make a living. It’s not for everybody, but it is for me, that’s for sure.

I love that you broke the mold of your family’s history of working traditional jobs. You’ve talked about how you pay it forward to new copywriters … What advice would you give them about getting started?

To get writing. I see so many people taking course after course, and they’re just like, “I’m not ready.” You are ready. If you’ve taken even one copywriting course, you know more than the client you’re trying to get. You have something to give them. Courses are great, but start writing, because the best way to learn how to write copy is by writing copy.

Deanna'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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Published: March 30, 2024

2 Responses to “Living the Writer's Life: Deanna Blanchard”

  1. France's story is mine, but I'm starting up. I'm in one of your classes and have already done one. I think I may never go back to accounting. I feel the need to spread my wings and live life on my terms. I truly hope this is the road I'm supposed to be on. Maybe her story is my sign, and I'm ready for a client.


  2. I loved the advice for new writers..."get writing". I have a huge tendency to prepare, prepare, prepare! I'm going to type out her advice and post it where I will see it multiple times during my day!

    Dalyn S

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