Congratulations to Diane Stevens for Winning the September 2014 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

“You’ve just won an all-expense paid trip to AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. But you’ll have to share your room with a fellow attendee. Tell him or her what it will be like to live with you for four days and what you’re looking forward to at the conference.”

Diane shared the heartwarming story of how she plans to use Barefoot Writing to overcome the effects of a teachers’ strike and capitalize on the freedom to write for profit. Here is her winning submission:

From Picket Line to Bootcamp
By Diane Stevens

Have you ever been locked out? Laid off? Terrified about paying the bills? As a B.C. teacher, it’s part of the territory, along with pretty scenery and clean air.

I’ve carried a picket sign and gone without pay a time or two, and it’s no picnic — though we did set up a barbecue and made the best of it. It was on the picket line that I found AWAI in my inbox and read about AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.

Living without a salary is scary. I’ve been without pay since June 16, 2014. It’s already halfway through September. Will I get back into my classroom by Halloween? By Christmas?

I’m happy in my job as a high school English teacher. I enjoy turning kids on to Shakespeare, poetry, creative writing, and literary analysis. I also love my classes teaching English as a Second Language. Meeting students from China, Japan, Korea, India, Spain, Brazil, and many other countries is downright fascinating!

When will I meet my new students this year? This job action and teachers’ strike is getting old!
AWAI’s Bootcamp and Job Fair will help me make up those lost wages. Learning more about persuasive writing is a skill I can pass on to my students. And copywriting will give me income to add to my pension — which is shrinking by the day with this teachers’ strike.

It’ll be fun to get to know a new roommate during the conference. But don’t be offended if I put on my room-quieting headphones and disappear behind my laptop. I plan to write as many Spec Assignments as I can figure out. And I’ll be networking so much I might lose my voice.

People. Creative ideas. Writing all about it. It’s what I love about teaching English, and I can see copywriting promises the same things. I’m so looking forward to meeting people with companies or products where a great story is waiting to be told.

Hearing from the Master Copywriters I’ve been reading about will be amazing. And I’d like to find writers like me who are just starting out, as well as writers who are up the path and have made it to a writing life.

Having the freedom to write. That never gets old.

I’ll be going home with new friends, fresh ideas, and loads of contacts. So — let’s get started! Hoorah for Bootcamp!