Reality Blog Challenge: 4 Roadblocks that Paved the Way to My Perfect Writing Career

Letter dice spell out I'm Possible

When people used to ask you: “What’re you going to be when you grow up?” did you ever answer, “I’m gonna be a copywriter!”?

I didn’t. I mean, I did say, “A writer!” But I had visions of being the next J.R.R. Tolkien. Never once did I look someone in the eye and say: “I want to be a marketing consultant. I want to write copy for websites, e-newsletters, and emails, so my clients can grow their businesses.”

I never, ever said, “I’m gonna be a copywriter!”

Yet, somehow, that’s exactly what I’m doing today — writing copy for the Web and consulting with businesses on how to market themselves better. Stranger still, I love it! I love the art of writing persuasive direct-response copy, of marketing and networking.

Maybe you can relate…

Are Troubles Roadblocks — or Paving Stones?

You don’t find copywriting on Life’s Menu. Lawyers… Doctors… Teachers… sure. But copywriter is a less common career choice. It’s not a “normal” thing to do.

And if you’re like me, you didn’t choose copywriting for “normal” reasons.

If you’re like me, you chose copywriting because you’re a dreamer. And a survivor.

Many of the copywriters I’ve spoken to have encountered hardships, roadblocks, setbacks, and obstacles. These are the kind of things that stop too many people from getting to where they want to be.

But if you’re a copywriter, chances are you see that a roadblock doesn’t mean the end of the road, but the beginning of a detour.

Copywriters are those who’ve walked into one wall after another, but simply refused to give up.

  • From retired doctors to weary shelf-stockers…
  • From accountants to “failed” entrepreneurs…
  • From indebted college students to cancer survivors…

Copywriters Are the Living Proof of Miracles

Becoming a copywriter happened while I was making other plans, but somehow life led me to an amazing career, full of possibilities. Can you believe that as copywriters, we can:

  • Work from home because we want to, not because we have to?
  • Spend time with our families?
  • Pursue other dreams and hobbies at will?

Really, if I look back at where I was heading once upon a time, and at the long series of strange, challenging, and sometimes just-plain-awful roadblocks that steered me this way — it’s a miracle.

It’s a miracle to be doing work I love, for projects that inspire me, and living a fuller life than I ever dreamed possible.

And since I made it this far, through this much, I know that the best is yet to come.

I’ll undoubtedly face more challenges — isn’t that true for everyone? — and some years — let’s not mention names, here — may be full of really rough roadblocks.

Experience, however, has taught me that I’ll overcome them and move on to something bigger and better:

  • Maybe a dream client…
  • … Or a new niche
  • Maybe a new home…
  • … Or a whole new system for success

Whatever it is, I’d love your vote when it’s time to choose the next Reality Blogger, because I would so enjoy the chance to share the journey of the next year with you. Like the story of the time I overcame a two-month bout with pneumonia by writing a complete novel in 15 days. I haven’t given up dreaming of being a novelist yet!

Here are some of the roadblocks that detoured me into finding the perfect accidental career…

Roadblock #1 — It’s Hard to be Tolkien

I started writing fantasy novels at the age of nine. Often, I’d get up at 4 o’clock in the morning so I could write.

Everything about putting words together on paper was magic for me… that first love even made the terrifying thought of submitting my work to publishers manageable.

By the time I graduated high school, I’d written 12 full-length novels, queried multiple publishers, and I even, finally, had one book accepted at a small Oklahoma City hybrid publishing house.

Then, things got tough.

Roadblock #2 — Useless Help

It turns out that publishing was the easy part. Marketing was nearly impossible, especially when I had no training in anything remotely relevant, and I had only just discovered the internet enough to communicate with my publisher via email.

I remember asking my editor: “What’s a blog?” She replied, vaguely and unhelpfully, “It’s sort of an online diary.” Oh, the humanity!

Could any answer have been more inadequate?

  • More undescriptive?
  • More unhelpful?
  • All but destined to ensure failure?

That company later went bankrupt — which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising — but that wasn’t even the worst thing I ran into trying to make my book the next best seller.

Roadblock #3 — My Head Exploded

Sometime between the days when my nine-year-old self started building dreams of literary-world domination, and the big disappointment with a published book, I came down with a chronic illness.

Migraine headaches. Ka-POW!

Furiously bad headaches, all day, every day. Dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, the works.

Not only did the migraines severely sap my strength and play havoc with my emotions, they also forced me into a conclusion which — later — I would come to see as a good thing.

I knew I would never be able to work away from home.

Even now that my headaches are finally under control — thanks to some Voodoo called a Daith ear piercing — I still have to be able to take time off unexpectedly or lay down in the middle of the day.

I needed a career as a copywriter — I just didn’t know it then.

Roadblock #4 — Nonsensical Education

Which explains why I was so frustrated with the slow progress I was making in attempting to market my books. I had the need for an unusual job, and it seemed like I had the motivation and talent to get it, yet nothing would come together.

Finally, in the fall of 2015, I decided to try something that I’d always been sure wasn’t for me — college!

Which wasn’t a great idea because of the aforementioned migraines.

By the time I finally finished the semester — and gave up on the dream of college and the invitation I’d received to the National Honor Society — I was very near the end of my rope.

And that soul-destroying, dream-crushing defeat was the final roadblock I needed to turn me onto the best thing ever… an accidental career called “copywriting.” I was finally ready to follow an advertisement in a magazine that promised to show me “The Best Way to Make a Living as a Writer.”

2021 Won’t Be Boring! (In a Good Way)

Armed with the knowledge that roadblocks lead us to miracles, let’s tackle the challenges of the next year together.

  • Are you planning on getting started?
  • Moving on to the next step?
  • Or building something bigger in your Money-Making-Website?

If you’ll choose me as your 2021 Reality Blogger, together we’ll get to explore fun new ways to get “out of the box,” think of new ideas, and turn new roadblocks into the best paving stones yet.

Let me know what you think in the comments! What challenges brought you to this strange new world? What challenges are you currently overcoming, day-by-day?

Suzanna Fitzgerald

Suzanna Fitzgerald

2 Comments

  • Hi Suzanna, I love your name by the way. I had been trying to figure out what I could do from home. I’m retired and living on a little bit of social security and my inheritance which won’t last forever. I wrote a novel which I published on Amazon a couple of years ago and am working on another one. You know how the novel writing is. A Writer’s Digest article popped up on line recommending AWAI. I used that as a sign. I believe that when you are finding your destiny it will pop up out of nowhere. After I started this class other opportunities seem to follow. I found out that my neighbor that is never here is a TV Producer. We got to be quite good friends with him (we being my husband and myself). He read my novel and wants me to write it into a screen play which is another challenge for me. I know the basics but am learning the technical part because I know they are picky. Now I am studying copywriting, travel writing and now screenwriting. These are my obstacles. In this uncertain world right now it’s hard to get motivated which leads to my other classes. I have been studying Law of Attraction which has given me the strength to deal with the unknown. Thinking about what I want and not what I don’t want has help motivate me.

    • Lori,
      Wow! That is such an amazing story. I’m so excited for you getting the opportunity to turn your novel into a screenplay. That’s a dream of mine that I will (one day) see realized.
      It’s also a little eerie – the magazine where I saw the ad for AWAI was none other than The Writer’s Digest. It’s a very small world, after all.
      All my best to you, and thank you so much for sharing your story.
      -Suzanna

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