A “Damn Fine” scholarship essay

When I first started thinking about freelancing, I did what anyone would do and researched the absolute crap out of how to be a freelancer. I searched for information on rates and how to set them, clients and how to find them, and deadlines and how to meet them. One great resource I stumbled across all those months ago was the blog at Men with Pens, a website copy and design company up in Canada.

Lucky for me, I check back in on that blog from time to time and found out that James Chartrand, the owner/founder, runs a writing workshop of sorts called Damn Fine Words. Even luckier for me (I hope), she offers a scholarship to this course. Because let’s face it, I don’t have the money to put into MORE schooling. To apply for this scholarship, I am (you guessed it!) writing this blog post! Wish me luck, will ya?

So, why do I want to attend this class, and how will it impact my business success?

As a relative newbie in the freelance copywriting business, I have this nagging feeling that I’m not good enough, relative to my peers and competitors. I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve gotten a decent amount of referral business, but I still feel uncomfortable pitching new, unknown clients. In order for my business to truly be successful, I’m going to need to reach outside that comfort zone of friends and former coworkers, finding new clients and drudging up new business. I know that if I had the confidence to pitch new clients, I could continue to grow and develop my business into something that can be sustainable over the long term.

To get that confidence, I know I need to become a better writer. Building a better portfolio, posting more consistently to my blog, providing better work to current clients — everything it takes to be successful in this business can only be helped by becoming a damn fine writer. I would say I’m an OK-to-good writer when it comes to creating content for others; give me a prompt, an idea or a deadline, and you’ll get yourself some copy. But writing for myself? Creating regular, high-quality content for my blog in order to attract new clients? I’m definitely lacking in that department.

I mean, let’s consider for a second that I’m posting this here, instead of over at my business page. I’m hesitant to create content there until I’m ready to do so on a more consistent schedule. Maybe that’s letting great be the enemy of good, but I just haven’t taken the leap.

And ultimately, it would be helpful to my bottom line if I could be a better writer who writes more quickly — time is money, after all. If I could develop better habits, both organizational and creative habits, I know my business would benefit. I spend a lot more time thinking about writing than I do actually putting pen to paper (err, finger to keyboard?), and that’s a habit I’d like to break. I would love to take this course and learn some cut and dried strategies for becoming a better, more efficient writer.

As a copywriter, it’s my job to make the businesses I work with sound damn good to their target audiences. Taking the Damn Fine Words class and building my abilities, confidence and efficiency will certainly help me be successful in doing so.


  1. Congratulations… your writing is already amazing btw. I resonated with your article – I also have to start writing about my own business… easy to write for others but myself?! Good luck and enjoy your course. With very best wishes from Devon, UK.

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