You’re smart and driven, you want to start writing more, but it feels like writing is always on your to do list but never getting done.
You know that upleveling your writing game will help your business, strengthen your role as an influencer, and fuel you on your own journey of personal growth.
So why is it so hard to get started?
Hey, I’m Jo.
I help people connect with their creativity and uplevel their writing skills. They’re sick of perfectionism and excuses holding them back and they’re ready to go deeper with their writing.
I help them develop a personal writing practice and build confidence in their skills so they can be proud to share their writing with others.
Like a lot of writers, I got into this gig by accident.
In spring of 2013 I quit my job as a Manager at a local house cleaning company. I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but the position wasn’t a good fit and I knew I couldn’t stay.
I gave the company more than a month’s notice, but when it became clear they weren’t going to hire someone in time for me to train them, I started to get worried.
I’d been on the job through many changes and significant staff turnover, and carried around a lot of institutional knowledge. So when things at the office were slow I started writing this information down, and my collection of notes rapidly evolved into a sprawling training manual with multiple chapters.
Eventually my boss found out about the manual and asked if I’d be up for finishing it after I left. I was still job hunting and could use the cash, plus I did want to finish the project, so I said yes.
Somehow “finishing the manual” turned into project-managing their new website, creating marketing materials, writing scripts for training videos, updating their client packets, and on and on the list went.
One project had quickly snowballed into a full time gig. By the end of that summer I had stopped looking for a new job and decided to own the fact that I was now a Writer.
It’s tempting to think that slapping the title “Writer” after your name will mean writing is suddenly an easy, effortless activity for you. Like eating cake or binge watching Netflix.
But it doesn’t mean that at all.
I was a strong writer, otherwise I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to make it my full time gig, but it was still challenging. And the day I started pulling in an income from writing did not magically make writing easier for me.
(Which was inconvenient, since my ability to pay my bills and feed myself now depended on my ability to write.)
And as I found out, writing a piece tends to become even harder when you feel like there’s a lot riding on it.
Staring down the barrel of a big project, a barrage of thoughts would swirl through my mind.
I want it to be great—no, perfect!—but what if it’s not? (The higher the expectations, the more overwhelmed you feel by the project, the longer you put off writing it...)
What if my writing’s not good enough? What if I’m not good enough?
My house is filthy, right? I should really clean it before I get started.
People are posting such important, interesting things on Facebook, I’ll just spend a few minutes scrolling through my feed before I get started...
Yeah, we’ve all been there. And it’s not pretty, and usually results in even more stress than if you’d started the project right away.
Becoming a Professional Writer didn’t make writing easier for me, so what did?
I still dealt with the same self-doubt and “writing junk” we all do, but as I started showing up every day, it forced me to figure things out.
I got curious. I experimented with the process, noticing what seemed to work and what didn’t. I researched, I talked with other people. And I began to figure out the solutions that got me doing my best creative work, in a timely fashion, despite the pressure.
Then in 2014 I moved from North Carolina (born and raised) all the way across the country to the California Bay Area.
Up until this point I had primarily contracted with my previous employer, but now that they were 3000 miles away, my projects for them were going to decrease.
So when I arrived in California I faced a turning point, I could search for a 9-5 or I could find more clients and grow my business.
I chose to grow my business.
Little by little I started to put myself out there. I created an online portfolio, I got connected to other writers, I contacted leads.
I began taking on new clients and new types of projects. I found my niche in writing web copy, marketing emails, and blogs for entrepreneurs.
In May of 2016 I saw a job posting for a part-time gig.
A business coach named Jenny Shih was looking for copywriters to give writing feedback to the clients in her online program called “Make It Work Online.”
It wasn’t a writing job, it was all about helping people with their writing.
I was instantly intrigued.
I went through the application process, interviewed with Jenny, and got the job!
Being a Copy Coach for Make It Work Online was (and is) an incredible experience.
The job was challenging at first. I was working 1:1 with a group of entrepreneurs, giving feedback on their writing assignments every week and often every day.
I quickly learned that the position wasn’t just about giving writing feedback and being an editor, it was about building a relationship.
Showing your writing to other humans (let alone a stranger on the internet who you’ve never met before!) feels pretty darn scary and vulnerable.
For my clients to feel safe sharing their work and receiving my constructive feedback, I realized I had to build their trust. I worked to show them how much I cared about them and their business and was invested in their success.
Helping another person find their voice and be a part of their journey of self-expression is an immense privilege.
I watched clients go from a place of low confidence and uncertainty, to by the end of the program knowing exactly what to do and feeling proud of their work.
Seeing their “aha” moments and watching their writing evolve over the months was exhilarating, and I am so proud of everyone I’ve had the honor to work with.
I’ve continued as a Copy Coach for MIWO and for MIWO Accelerator, and have had the pleasure of working 1:1 with 80+ entrepreneurs, guiding them on their writing journey.
I’m now thrilled to be working with amazing folks outside of MIWO as well, helping them find their voice, strengthen their writing, and tell their story. I get to work with entrepreneurs and other cool humans who want to write regularly as a personal practice, who want to utilize it in their business or as a tool for connection with their community.
The more time I spend as a Writing Coach, and the longer I live, the more I understand how important this work is.
Because writing is more than just a tool for your business, it’s a powerful resource for your life.
The past few years have been especially difficult for me. I moved across the country to a place where I knew no one, thousands of miles from my family and friends, and with a new marriage that turned out to be abusive and eventually violent.
I left my ex-husband in the spring of 2017, walking away from my marriage but with no idea what I was walking toward.
I’ve found in the most difficult times in my life, writing is a practice I’ve been able to turn to time and again.
As a teen, writing helped me process my emotions and survive the trauma of sexual assault.
It helped me explore my spirituality and connect with the Divine as a young adult.
When it felt too dangerous to speak in my abusive marriage, I scribbled furiously in my work notebook in secret. It helped me stay connected to myself and to reality, giving me a voice when I felt like I had none.
And when I left my marriage—and the life and future I’d worked to build—writing helped me survive the destruction and begin to create something new.
Writing helps me to understand my life and to heal. It gives me a way to tell my story, to share my experiences with others, and connect to my community.
Time and again when it feels like my life is crashing down around me... or at a total stand still... or bursting with possibilities... writing is an anchor and a compass.
I’ve personally experienced writing as a tool for transformation, a pathway to knowing myself and to being known.
And I know that it can be that for you too.