Why copywriting is your saving grace as a writer

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Photo Courtesy of Canva

When I started building my blog in an effort to boost my side income, I didn’t realize how wrong I was in regards to making money writing online. Of course, having a blog is essential for showcasing your portfolio and building an audience, but it’s not the most practical way to make money. I want to share with you what does work and how I got into my writing side hustle.

Make your work standout

Back in August of 2020, I was recruited by a small, online marketing company in need of an additional staff writer. I had been researching how to make money with my blog through ads and social media promotion, but all I had were losses. I continued my search for a full time writing gig, which is how I fell into copywriting. The online company asked me to write a test blog for them after coming across my resume and portfolio (so yes, you should absolutely invest in your own website). My client list through this company begin to grow, my knowledge on various topics expanding. The key to having others seek your expertise is by finding unique ways to standout online. Gearing your resume to a writing focus and having a stellar website are great ways to set yourself apart! …


Writing pointers from Pixar’s latest and most existential film

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Disney+ recently release Pixar’s latest film, Soul. The film follows a middle aged jazz musician still waiting for his big break. Once he finally attains his shot, he unexpectedly perishes and is thrown headfirst into the “great beyond.” This film is one of Pixar’s longest and most complex narratives we’ve seen in a long time. This makes it not only risky for the audience, but for the writer as well. That said, here are a few things it’s helped me ponder in the sense of authentic, unapologetic storytelling. Spoilers ahead!

A multi dimensional plot

The main narrative of Soul is of a washed up jazz musician who never made it. Because of this, he feels as though he’s wasted his life and never truly lived. This is a strong setup as it’s something that the vast majority of audiences can relate to. Everyone wants to fulfill their purpose and have their dreams come true. His dreams are further crushed when he’s offered a full time position as high school band teacher, taking him from part time musician to full time employee. This is a tough realization for any artist; accepting that you’ll never make it. …


4 “new” poets you should consider reading to improve your craft

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Ray Bradbury said that to be a good writer, there are two things you need to do each day; read and write! But amidst the menial responsibilities of our everyday lives and endless nine to fives, it can be hard to find the time (and no, I didn’t mean for that to rhyme). The good news is, you don’t need to read a full fledged novel each week, or crank out two thousand words a day. Bradbury emphasized that simply reading a poem or two daily is enough. Poetry is a great way to improve your prose. By reading poetry, you’ll achieve more mastery over descriptions and develop an eye for patterns and symbols. …


An inside look at the stories I read as a kid

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It can often take a writer years to find his or her voice. Authors like Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), Avi (Crispin: The Cross of Lead), and Judy Blume wrote their masterpieces later on. Emily Dickenson claimed that her most satisfying year as a poet was when she was 31. My view on developing as a writer lies at opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s a fierce dichotomy, but one that I think is necessary to discuss. Because the truth is, the majority of our habits take shape well before adolescence. My hope is that by giving an inside look at what I read and wrote as a child, you’ll remember what it was that inspired you in those early years. Think of it as returning to center, collecting yourself in order to move forward in your writing career. …


John Truby’s 6 rules for the perfect villain

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I’m in the middle of reading John Truby’s, The Anatomy of Story, and it’s seriously the last book on writing I’m ever going to need. Truby outlines 22 steps to becoming a masterful storyteller, delivering development tips in ways you’ve never heard before. But I’m raving now, and my inner writing nerd can’t get enough. One of the most helpful chapters I’ve read so far includes the relationship between the hero and villain. I’m beginning to practice more character depth and relationship complexities by tweaking my villain philosophy every so slightly. That said, I won’t be going over all 22 steps, but instead, the 6 pertaining to the opponent only. Here’s how you can write the perfect villain too! …


3 reasons why I’m happy I failed the November novel “contest”

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It’s that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is upon us! Every November, millions of aspiring writers across the globe partake in the grueling, 30 day novel writing contest in the hopes of finally finishing that epic story that will boost them to Pulitzer Prize status. But is this method of motivation really the best for quality? I want to give you a little insight as to why I don’t think NaNoWrimo is very effective and actually has the reverse affect on writers everywhere.

You’ll create more holes than progress

Back in 2018, I attempted NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. I had my dystopian novel plotted and sorted and even began the first two chapters. All was going well until around day fifteen, when I wrote myself into a corner and began to lose steam. This wasn’t because I was tired of writing. I was writing so much so quickly, I was overlooking certain problems that led to bigger inconsistencies later in the draft. Any screenwriter will tell you that many problems later on in the script are a result of a flimsy first act. …


7 outcomes for the “new normal” post covid-19

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Politicians have been promising us since the beginning of March that this whole pandemic business will subside if we simply follow certain guidelines to “flatten the curve.” I remember a time when it was projected that COVID would be lasting no longer than two weeks. Here we are, eight months later, in the middle of a spiteful election and a possible second lockdown around the corner. Not to mention, government assistance checks are being held hostage as the House and Senate have taken a recess until after results are in. It’s a nightmare right now for our country, and if we’re not careful, we will have another spike in cases. But in the midst of endless unknowns, one thing that’s certain is that our world will be entering some “post apocalyptic” state of a “new normal.” …


Coping with grief through story

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Photo Courtesy of C.S. Lewis

In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis summarizes the paradox of good and evil. He argues that pain, suffering, and hell are not sufficient reasons to reject the belief in an all powerful, benevolent creator. The partial theodicy gives readers insight concerning the differing perspective of God and his creation, stating, “if God were good, he would make his creatures perfectly happy, and if he were almighty he would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both (p. 88).” It should be considered that Lewis does not claim to have a solution to this problem as humans cannot reach a full understanding of why God allows evil. …


3 reasons why it’s necessary to fail the first time

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Like the vast majority of artists, most successful writers experienced their fair share of failure. Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks were both rejected over twenty times by publications for their works Carrie and The Notebook. But the joke was on the previous publishers as both novels sold for well over $1 million in their first year. Thinking about my own writing journey, I reminisce about all the times I’ve failed so far. I have yet to publish a novel like the two authors mentioned, but there were times when I could have easily given up. In a weird way, I’m actually thankful I haven’t found major success in the literary sense. Looking back, I see how much room I had left to grow. …


Finding relatability with a true comic book writer

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Photo Courtesy of Hysteria Mag

As I was listening to Forbidden Planet’s latest interview with Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), I was astounded by all the similarities between myself and Gerard as a writer. I had my own phase in high school where I greatly looked up to the ex front man’s band, but I realize now that I never knew of his steadfast dedication to his craft of writing comics. At my tiny, grey cubicle, I thought to myself, “all writers are Gerard Way.” And here’s why.

Resiliency and Persistence With the Craft

In the interview, Way mentions that his love for writing comics had to be put on hold as a certain “side project” began to take off. That project was the pop/punk/emo band, My Chemical Romance, author of the iconic “Black Parade” album. Despite the “interruption” of the band’s success, Way continued to write and illustrate comics while touring. He states that his main inspirations in childhood were X-Men and Doom Patrol, and the possibility of being able to write for either of the comics was most likely what kept him going. …

About

A.M. Cal

Award winning producer. Master of Arts in film. Relentless poet, always in motion. Helping writers write. ashcallahan.com

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