Kip CosanCongratulations to Kip Cosan for Winning the April 2022 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

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

Many writers remember with fondness that first moment they learned about the freedom found in paid writing. Think back to the letter, post, or ad that gave you your first glimpse into the Barefoot Writing world and tell us the story… Where were you? What were your thoughts? What did you do first? How did you feel? The more detail, the better!

Kip shared an inspiring glimpse into her unexpected transition to writing. Enjoy her winning submission:

“I’m sorry, Kip, we’re going to have to let you go…

“You have become redundant.”

I was dumbfounded, flabbergasted, shocked, numbed. Stellar performance ratings and just three months short of a decade of service! I cried, “Please give me credit for my tenure that I have given to this company so that I may be vested in my retirement.” Silence.

Can you imagine how I felt on that day when my boss and the HR representative came to my office to tell me I needed to pack my belongings?

A month later I was sitting in my sunporch watching the orioles pick out their favorite seeds from a bird feeder and the crocus buds pushing their fresh growth up through the crusty winter dirt. I knew this was really what I was supposed to be doing. It was time for me — not for the big boss and corporate hammer.

As I went through the motions of job searching, I came across a curious email that claimed I could become a “Barefoot Writer.” I looked down at my naked feet and then outdoors at the sparrows and orioles… I wondered what I could do from home without having to commute every day 40 miles in one direction. I would only have to walk out my slider four feet into my sunroom. Hmmmmm…

I had been writing my entire professional life for the big boss/head honcho. Emails, newsletters, safety announcements, voice scripts for videos… I knew how to do all of that… It was instinctual to me. Had I done it all correctly? Well, the messages got across to the right audience. At work, I was known to be a master at technical writing or editing and one to make the English language behave, but as it sank in and I read more about becoming a Barefoot Writer, I began to see that perhaps my skills could be useful at a unique level, for new industries, or for something entirely different.

I reread the invitation to join AWAI and take a course or two. I spied around the offerings and thought how wonderful to become my own boss. To live the writer’s life like those who were presented in the examples… from rags to riches, make six figures and do whatever you want. Almost sounded too good to be true.

I took the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

All in one bite.

Haven’t looked back.

Was my writing really acceptable where I worked? Doesn’t matter now. I’ve learned about the 4Us, 4Cs, Power of One, landing pages, call to action, and much more. I feel born again and have been rewired to this new life of writing. It’s writing in a different way. More from the heart first and not straight from the left side of my brain.

For those of you wondering… yes, I did get the three months of credit for my 10-year anniversary and six months of severance… which I gleefully used to become a Barefoot Writer.