Living the Writer's Life: Monica Coleman
How This Family-Driven Woman Is Changing the World One Word at a Time
Monica Coleman had a longtime thirst to help others. Despite a successful career in finance, she knew more was possible for her. It wasn’t till she discovered the power of the written word that she found a way to meld her interests and passions with a versatile writing career that keeps her busy and engaged. Today, she has time for her family plus plenty of intriguing work to keep her busy …
Take me back to your life before you discovered writing as a career. What was it like?
I was born in poverty, but fortunately we had a great family, and through school I was in a lot of plays and did a lot of entertainment stuff.
Then I met my husband, who’s an amazing scientist and a really wonderful guy, and he arranged for me to go to college, where I did basically consulting and finance. One of the reasons I went into finance is that I wanted to do marketing, but I learned that at that time, if you were a man, you got $250,000 a year. As a woman you got $50,000 a year. So I changed to finance and was in finance for 20 years. Then I decided I wanted to do something different.
And that’s where copywriting entered the picture?
Yes. I moved to [Washington], D.C., and switched to consulting, but then took the summer off to spend time with my son because he’d just graduated from law school and was getting ready to leave. So with nothing to do, I saw an ad that asked, “Would you like to be a writer?” I ended up going to take a test with this place and got an assignment, but this guy said, “This is horrible. This isn’t the way you write.” Then he said, “Look, I’ll give you this sheet. It’s from AWAI, and I want you to go home and study it and rewrite this the way it’s supposed to be off of this paper. If you can do it, I’ll keep you as a writer, but if you can’t, I’ll have to fire you.” So I came back the next day and he was in awe over what I did. He gave me a $200 bonus.
So they became your first client?
Yes. I wrote for them for a couple of years, but they didn’t pay very well. So I decided in 2014 I was going to join Circle of Success, and I did and I’ve been there ever since. That’s how I made my leap to writing. That part I can do. But I’m really bad about asking people to be my client, so I’ve been fortunate in that when we moved to D.C., because I love networking, I just built a huge network of different things. That’s how I got into copywriting.
What have you done with that network you built?
I started a business. It’s Inside Capitol Hill and Beyond. We do a lot of copywriting with it, and I have four divisions. I have the consulting division, and I do issue campaigns like cause marketing and crisis management. We also train people who want to be political operatives, and we help people who want to be campaign managers.
What kind of flexibility do you have since you’ve built up your own business as a copywriter?
I get the work done, but I can do it whenever I want and as long as I keep a schedule. For my typical day, I get up at four or five o’clock in the morning and make my own bread for my family and for others. And always in addition to the bread, I make some kind of sweet treat. It’s usually some kind of muffin or a cupcake or something like that.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to somebody who is new to this world?
First, I would ask, “What type of writer would you like to be? What would you want to write about?” Then look for just three or four leads on where they can go to expand and learn about that interest that they have. It can really be as simple as that.
I would remind them that copywriting is so special because it speaks to the people who need help. I just love it. I’m so glad that I stumbled into AWAI. And I love Barefoot Writer, by the way. I think it is awesome.
Monica's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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