K: This week, I am so excited to introduce to you the up-an-coming copywriter Dave Lohman! Today, he tells us his story on becoming a freelance writer, and what it meant for him to switch gears and pursue his dreams. 2020 was a rough year (ranks second in my own life). I thought this uplifting story was the perfect way to start off the Bloggies of 2021! Enjoy!
It’s 2:30 am, and my step-son is awake after a nightmare. I’d just laid my head against my wife in bed after 10 hours of work and another 4 writing. I have a full day of work tomorrow, my wife is down with a busted knee, and I couldn’t be happier…
Not because my wife has a busted knee. She may be a Giants fan, but I don’t wish injury on her.
The Chaos That Breeds Art
I have a defect in my soul. I’m a writer. I don’t just mean that I like to write. I mean, I was born with the soul of a storyteller.
If you don’t understand why that’s a bad thing, you probably have a stable life, but you’re missing out on all the fun.
A storyteller needs a story to tell, and “I worked 8 hours today, cooked lasagna, and had a quiet night at home” doesn’t make a great story.
I need action, I need excitement, I need love, I need pain, I need to be badly wounded and embarrassed only to come back and redeem myself. I need these things in the same way Thor needs his hammer.
For years I tried to change my habit of seeking chaos. Every day I would wake up deciding I would put my head down and trudge through a life that was too monotonous for me ever to enjoy. But I thought that was the path to success, so though I continued to fail, dusting myself off after each attempt.
The Secret To Success
I found success when I learned to embrace who I am.
I was so tired of fighting it that I decided I had to look for a model of success that fits with who I am. The first thing I needed to do was find a way to make a living that didn’t involve a timesheet.
“Man quits his soul-sucking job to find fulfillment.” Kind of a cliche beginning, but at least that’s a story worth reading.
If you had told me the day I made that decision that I could be a professional writer, I would have told you to think of something more realistic.
Little did I know, it was very much achievable. I soon discovered copywriting.
A New View Of What’s Possible
“Copy” is what the words in an advertisement are called. I’d heard you could make a lot of money copywriting, but I figured I would have to write infomercial style ads.
Not even close. Copy is enjoyable to read; it focuses on real issues and solves real problems. Its objective isn’t to sell as much as possible. It’s to bring people with a problem together with people who have a solution.
I couldn’t believe how enjoyable it was to learn copywriting. Copy needs to sound conversational, so it’s ok to do things like use punctuation for effect or start a sentence with “and” or “but”.
Learning a new writing style helped me become a better writer. Copy needs to be engaging from beginning to end, so it taught me how much fluff I needed to cut out of my writing. I learned that I relied on big words as a crutch. I needed to learn to make my points concisely with small words.
Also, a lot of times, simple words make for a better reader experience.
Freelancing Changes Everything
I’m a freelance copywriter, which means I make my own hours, work from home, and choose the projects I want to work on. And the money is good.
I did get a little nervous when I had to start finding clients. It’s not as easy as getting hired at a job.. You have to market yourself. You have to land clients.
Fortunately, I found one client before I was even ready to open up, and the job went well. After that, I had my foot in the door, and as long as I keep doing good work, clients keep coming.
Since I found copywriting, my life has been… not gonna lie, it’s been complete chaos. Beautiful, fulfilling chaos that I’m now able to harness into success.
It wasn’t so much something I learned; it just happened. Once I was able to stay home, my family became grounded, stable even…. Thank God that wasn’t the end of the story, though.
My family has no comprehension of what “boring” means. As stable as we were, we never fell into a predictable routine. But the stability meant that finding excitement now means taking on new challenges.
Instead of screwing things up because they get too dull, we blaze new, more exciting trails.
The best part is, we’re never in a hurry anymore. I love to write, and since my job is writing, I no longer have to rush through other parts of life to get a chance to do my favorite thing.
I’m surrounded by people and things I love, so I never push to get done with something ASAP. Everything I do is something I want to be doing.
This includes work. I always take my time. I go slowly, putting in the painstaking effort to make every piece perfect. And it’s paid off…
Since I always put out solid work, I have a good reputation.
I’m continually studying copywriting, consistently getting better, and every project I complete is better than my last. I put time into each aspect of my business, marketing myself, networking, continued education. I even do the boring stuff like getting advice from lawyers and doing the accounting.
My Life Today
Now that I don’t speed through life, things get done thoughtfully, and you wouldn’t believe how many Easter eggs life has until you take the time to notice.
Last night when my son woke up with a nightmare, I took the time to listen when he told me about his dream. Since it was the middle of the night, it was a chance to hang out together with no distractions, I made hash browns (his favorite) and just goofed around with him for a while before sending him back to bed. I was as happy as I ever dreamed of being.
Then I slept in the next morning, woke up, and began writing…
“My life kicks ass…” I like the sound of this story.
Thanks again, Dave! And thank you, folks for your continued support! As always,
Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much love!