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Using Job Experience to Build a Writing Career

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Safety consultant Gary Wright has discovered the perfect, “safe” transition to life as a writer. Discover how leveraging his full-time job experience is creating an unusual opportunity niche that leaves him wide open to prospects in the writing world while keeping him in hot demand with his employer. 

What’s your story — how did you come into copywriting? 

After receiving some great feedback from college professors, I felt I was a pretty decent writer. So, when I received the “If You Can Write a Letter Like This, You Can Retire This Year!” sales letter in the mail, I thought, “I can do this!” Of course, after poring through the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, I found that I had a lot to learn! 

After a fortunate coaching call with AWAI President Rebecca Matter, I began writing B2B copy for the industry I’ve been in my entire adult working life—industrial safety. I am currently working on branching off into the self-help industry, for which I have a lot of passion. Thank you, AWAI, for having so much training material in so many niches! 

These days, I write sales letters, blog posts, product descriptions, and website audits for the industrial safety industry. The safety Industry includes safety training companies, safety consultants, and personal protective equipment manufacturers, which offers many writing opportunities. 

Tell us a little about how you’re combining your career with your life as a Barefoot Writer. 

Continuing to work at my day job keeps me up to date in the industrial safety world. New regulations are being published and replaced almost weekly. I learn how my company will implement these changes, and I hear firsthand how those changes will affect the worker. All of this is valuable research I can use when writing for my clients. 

Conversely, my copywriting experience makes me a better communicator at work. In fact, my company sent me to AWAI’s Web Copy Intensive last year in Austin, Texas. Since then, I’ve been asked to write papers about our safety culture, our current job descriptions and how they are changing, and more job safety analyses than I can count. 

It’s a win-win situation for me to stay working full-time and live my own version of the writer’s life. I will eventually flip the situation and write full-time and be a safety consultant on the side, hopefully sooner rather than later. 

What lessons has your work life taught you? 

Find your “why,” the reason you are doing this in the first place. When you are confronted with obstacles, focusing on your “why” will help you conquer them. If you are working a 9-to-5, set aside some time every day to write. And it is okay if you miss a day once in a while; life has a funny way of interfering. Just get back on schedule soon. 

Do you have anything nearby that inspires you? A memento, award, something like that? 

I have a retirement plaque from the Air National Guard, where I worked my butt off to reach the rank of chief master sergeant (that’s an E-9, for my sisters- and brothers-in-arms), the highest rank one can achieve as an enlisted member. It reminds me that if I can make chief, I can accomplish anything! 

What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing? 

Bicycle riding, where I get a lot of my writing ideas; and reading—about writing, [as well as]some fiction. I will soon open an Amazon store, where I will write my own product descriptions. It seems that I cannot get enough of writing! 

What’s your advice to newcomers? 

Relax and be yourself. Don’t use $5 words where 25-cent words will do. It’s okay to mimic the writing styles of the greats, but keep writing and you will soon find your own writing style.  

Also, read your writing to yourself out loud. When you hear your own writing out loud, you will hear the rhythm, the flow, and the mistakes. 

Editor’s note: Find out more about Gary at his website: https://www.safetyb2bcopywriting.com.

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