Joseph SadighianCongratulations to Joseph Sadighian for Winning the February 2022 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

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

Paying attention to your mental and emotional health leads to better focus and better writing. What are you doing this year to prioritize your own mental and emotional well-being?

Joseph shared a glimpse into some of the personal challenges he’s faced in life, as well as how he’s dealing with them now, as a writer. Enjoy his winning submission:


This year I resolve to prioritize my mental and emotional well-being by standing up to the biggest bully in my life — me.

For years, I put myself through guilt trips by dwelling on past mistakes and missed opportunities. Every time life got hard and prospects were few, I became my harshest, most unforgiving critic. I beat myself up.

For years, I let my mind spin on a hamster wheel of regrets — cycling through “what-ifs” and “if-onlys.” These repetitive thoughts drained my creativity and joy. And left me feeling anxious and tired.

For years, I failed to say no when others constantly imposed on my time asking for “favors” I found burdensome and inconvenient. I put aside my needs to please others. I told myself what I wanted wasn’t important.

This year, my journey into copywriting has given me a vision of a brighter future. This vision has helped restore my mental and emotional health.

Now I am standing up to the bully in the mirror. When he starts in on me, I tell him I did my best with what I knew way back when I made decisions — both good and bad.

When my mind starts to spin, I recall the four “U’s” of a great headline, the parts of a great sales letter, or ways of connecting with my prospect.

When those people in my life want me to give up my time, I say no because I need to write every day and read every day.

I find fulfillment in trying to understand my prospects. A new world has opened for me as I explore the dimensions of desire, identification, and belief that make up the human mind.

I’m using what I learn to lead my prospects to a better world or a better way of doing things. I’m building bridges with words to help them find what they need to overcome their self-doubts and realize their dreams.

Bootcamp 2021 ended my year on a high note. I began to see myself as part of a community of writers with a purpose. A purpose that requires commitment and discipline.

Bootcamp helped me find others who share my love of stories and writing content. I now see how getting good content to the right people can grow a business.

Bootcamp helped me see that self-promotion is not all about me. It’s about the clients, their needs, and offering them help. I learned the importance of listening and finding the client’s pain points.

Bootcamp also taught me the most important lesson, the importance of showing generosity toward clients and colleagues. I found practicing acts of generosity increased my sense of peace and happiness.

I’m in a better place this year with a new purpose and direction — all because I took a chance on a course in copywriting.