Anna Westfall challenge winnerCongratulations to Anna Westfall for Winning the December 2021 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:

Share one eye-opening lesson you learned this past year about writing, freelancing, or running your own business.

Anna shared her perspective on a problematic mindset many of us can relate to — and went on to explain how she overcame it. Enjoy her winning submission:

Where’s My Gold Crown?! What Happened When I Stopped Looking for It

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be an “overnight success.”

I went through a series of different hobbies and interests growing up, looking for that one thing that some Hollywood big shot would notice and elevate me to instant fame. I painted, sang, played bass guitar, wrote poetry, and acted in drama club, among other things.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of these activities. But when I didn’t achieve that overnight success status — or rather, my definition of it — I dropped whatever I was doing and moved on to the next thing. And the next. And the next.

Admittedly, this is one of the things that drew me to copywriting 30 years later when I started to receive emails about AWAI. I read about the overnight successes and how people like me were raking in six figures doing a job they loved. My eyes glossed over with stars, and my dreams were filled with visions of writing from a sailboat in Mexico just like Keith Trimels.

In May of 2021, I took the plunge and invested in my first course. I completed it and used what I learned to prospect from clients.


I took another course. I attended Bootcamp. I completed Ilise Benun’s 21-Day Challenge.


The little girl in me began to despair. Yet another thing I could not be successful at!

However, thanks to the community AWAI has brought together and the amazing friends I have made from attending Bootcamp, I learned that being an overnight success is actually what I don’t want.

In AWAI Facebook groups, I often see the same message: It’s not talent that counts — it’s skills. The universe was putting these messages in my face for a reason. Being an overnight success, at least in the way my wildest fantasies posed it to me, was not possible with copywriting. Sure, I’m a talented writer. However, I did not possess the skills of a copywriter.

Not only was it the serendipitous injection of these messages into my social media feeds that convinced me, but also the absolute slew of new information I was learning through my AWAI courses. And not just writing skills — prospecting skills, organization skills, and business skills, too.

Ultimately, the biggest lesson I have learned in my copywriting career journey so far is that I needed to grow up a little bit more.

With this newfound realization, I am more patient with myself. I have focused more on what I specifically need to achieve my goals, rather than copycatting someone else’s path. I am on eight months of growth now, and when I look back at who I was when I started compared to who I am now, I am bursting with pride with the progress I have made.

And that, my friends, is way more satisfying than overnight success.