Photographer Trades Camera Lens for Laptop: Fits Copywriting Around Her Nomadic Life
EG Orren never imagined she'd find herself getting paid while hiking through national parks and even while being photobombed by bison
But that's exactly what the writer's life has allowed her to do.
EG loved her work as a well-known music photographer who spent her days hopping around stages, angling to capture the perfect shot.
Her clientele included both well-known artists and up-and-coming talent. She traveled up to 75% of the year, covering concerts, festivals, and tours while creating publicity and social media materials behind the scenes.
But due to the grueling schedule, EG’s opportunities for family time and personal travel were limited to gaps between event dates.
Then one day, everything changed.
EG was preparing to shoot a celebrity hockey game for the JUNO Awards, the Canadian version of the Grammys, when her phone blew up with notifications that the world was shutting down due to Covid-19.
"I went from a lifestyle of shooting four days a week, 20 hours a day, to wondering, now what do I do?" EG says.
A Life-Changing Offer
Hunkered down at home in Canada due to the pandemic, EG jumped at an offer for a month of free digital marketing training offered through Ryan Deiss. She blasted through the content until she found herself left with one more program — the one she skipped because she didn't know what it was: Direct Response Copywriting.
Turns out, the copywriting program was a partnership with the American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) taught by AWAI Learning Chief, Pam Foster.
As Pam shared the freedom, flexibility, and income potential of copywriting, EG had a revelation.
“I can get paid more than the job I was doing — just to do the writing, and I don’t need an English major!”
Eager to know more, EG quickly signed up for the AWAI mailing list. Soon she received a message promoting the Writers Launch Party, a program to help aspiring writers launch their copywriting careers.
"I had been sick, so I depleted my emergency savings and credit card," EG says. "I was doing the math to see if the Canadian conversion for the $49 payment would fit on my card."
Thankfully, the charge went through. And although she questioned whether the opportunity was too good to be true, EG agreed to dedicate her time to the two-week Launch Party and learn as much as she could.
Her early skepticism turned to belief when she won $100 – doubling the return on her investment – in a Launch Party challenge to rewrite a headline and make it more persuasive.
Right then and there, EG decided that she was all-in with copywriting. Like a thirsty sponge, she soaked up the wisdom from her new mentors.
Soon, Pam Foster advised the Launch Party writers to spread the news about their new writing careers.
That little piece of advice turned into…
The Email that Launched a Career
EG tapped into her connections, which included Taylor Swift's former manager. A few days later, the manager sent an email that introduced EG to a third person and suggested that maybe she could help him.
Before Launch Party was over, EG had her first client.
"That introduction turned into a year-long retainer deal,” EG recalls. "He recently came back after a break, and even though I'd doubled my rates since then, he sent me money before I even invoiced him to make sure he was first in line on my calendar."
Step by Step to Success
Less than three months later, EG took another leap of faith and joined AWAI's most personalized level of career training and support, Circle of Success (COS).
"If the $49 Launch Party helped me win a headline challenge and land my first client," she reasoned, "How much more quickly could I level up if I plugged into COS?"
Not only did COS provide EG with access to the wealth of AWAI programs and resources to tackle any type of client writing project, but it also unlocked a world of live events, networking, and mentorship opportunities. Collaboration with other writers, expert feedback, and advice was just a phone call or mouse click away.
This incredible community of support became a valuable asset to EG as she continued learning with intention.
Having endured head injuries and two bouts of meningitis when she was younger, EG has brain damage, a learning disability, and vision and hearing impairments. At one point, she had to learn to speak and think again.
"I call it a Teflon™ brain,” she chuckles, “Nothing sticks."
But that hasn’t stopped her.
Knowing that AWAI has paved the way for thousands of writers who came before her, EG followed the directions of her instructors, step by step.
She attended every AWAI event that she could, then rewatched the replays, took notes, read books, and submitted assignments for professional review. A practice she continues, even today.
“AWAI elevated everything for me,” EG says, “I took what I was learning and applied it to my clients’ businesses. Even though I’d been in the music industry for years, AWAI taught me to change my message according to the person that I was communicating with.”
Clients often didn’t have the time, tools, or skills to help grow their businesses. Thanks to her AWAI training, EG knew not only what copy to write, but also how to develop a strategy to pull all those pieces together for her clients.
A New, Flexible Lifestyle
EG’s leap of faith paid off. In her first full year of copywriting, she earned 65,000 Canadian dollars (about $50,000 US), while only working 10-20 hours a . And within 24 months, she landed writing contracts worth six-figures.
“I’ve just been leaving myself open,” EG notes. “None of it’s been strategic. It’s been evolving organically.”
Currently, EG produces content and social media strategy for clients in a variety of industries.
Before copywriting, EG spent eight to nine months of the year traveling for the music industry, often working up to 20 hours a day.
"Now, my writing business fits around my lifestyle,” EG says. “Not the other way around."
That flexibility was critical when her mother was hospitalized repeatedly in 2021. Armed with her laptop, EG was able to care for her mom 12-16 hours a day, and still work with her clients.
These days, EG can often be found trekking around national parks and living off the grid. During client calls, she’s been photobombed by bison walking behind her. People push their faces up to the screen, and ask, "Where are you today, EG?”
Her Mitsubishi Outlander carries equipment to generate more solar power than a big Class A RV.
“I sleep, eat, and work in it,” EG laughs. “When I need to, I drive back to civilization, use Wi-Fi to send my files, and then disappear again."
Just another day in the writer’s life.
EG’s Tips for Copywriters
- Follow directions – The AWAI programs have been built on decades of success in helping writers start and grow their careers. Even if something seems easy or irrelevant, don’t skip it.
- Plug in – Take advantage of the programs, forums, and mentorship opportunities available to you. There’s a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.
- Be open to opportunity – Be willing to say “yes” to experiences that come your way. “If it works, great! Move on to the next step,” EG says. “If it doesn't, then pivot a little bit and try again. You either have success, or you learn by trying.”
Ready to pursue the writer’s life?
Learn more about the program that propelled EG’s career into high gear, Circle of Success
“Before copywriting, I spent eight to nine months of the year traveling for the music industry, often working up to 20 hours a day. Now, my writing business fits around my lifestyle — not the other way around.”
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
EG was introduced to a new client via email by Taylor Swift’s former manager.