A quill and a pot of ink are in frame. The quill has a small tear on the upper side nearest the writing tip. A dark line of ink dribbles away from it, like a winding river with a wide bend in the middle. The pot of ink is open, the liquid is so black it drowns out the light. A shadow lines the right side of the pot.

The writer’s way: an origin story

He wants to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

He dreams of being a professional baseball player, a rockstar.

He has no fucking clue what he wants to be. Not really.

But he enjoys stories, reading and writing them.  

He looks forward to English class in high school (until he’s expelled). He thinks copywriting is cool in college.

Maybe a professional writer? “You have to be born one,” he thinks.

So he bounces around until he’s 27. 

He lands a job at a family-owned paddlesports centre. Technically, he’s the marketing manager.

Mostly, he’s a salesman. (For eight years.)

His priority is helping customers, selling canoes and kayaks. Writing newsletters, web copy, and blog content is secondary. Sometimes tertiary. 


The business rebrands. It partners with a designer who presents a new visual identity. Plus:

  • a communications strategy
  • a messaging framework
  • and customer personas

Slowly, it dawns on him, “That’s my lane...” The light bulb explodes. “I want to be a copywriter!”

At this point, he’s blogged on and off. Did the odd freelance gig, too. But his work is shit because he isn’t committed.

Until he is.

He launches his blog, challenges himself to publish consistently. Takes freelancing seriously, delivers better shit.

And in July 2020, he starts a new career. He becomes a full-time copywriter for an integrated branding consultancy

Now, he can’t imagine doing anything else. 

But writing for a living wasn’t expected, nor was it a lifetime dream. For him, it takes 35 years to figure it out.

That’s the takeaway:

You have the power to design your future. But you’re not in control of how and when you get there.

Life tests you first.

Just keep building.

There are three pencils, each with a broken tip.

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