You Already Have the Stories You Need and How I Sold Cookies

What do you need to become a writer?

What other people will tell you: Certain books/programs/classes/degrees/blahblahblah to become a writer.

The truth: Telling your own stories.

Everything you have experienced makes you a potential writer. Becoming a good writer is simply about refining the way you tell your stories.

My degree, the classes I took, the books I've read... All of those gave me tools to tell stories in a better way, but the actual foundation of my career consists of my life experiences.

My Grandmother loved shopping. "Retail therapy" is what she called it. When she would go in a store I had no interest in, I remember sitting on a bench and people watching. I found it fascinating which signs outside stores would get people to go inside. What colors worked, what banners got people to look, did it matter if the sign was in the window or as a stand-alone banner... It was all interesting.

Anyone who wants to be a copywriter should spend time people watching or work at a job where you directly interact with the customer.

When I worked at Jimmy Johns for a month so I could buy my college books, I learned how to upsell. You know when you walk out with a #12, a bag of chips, and a cookie when you only meant to get just a simple sandwich? Yeah, that's upselling.

I quickly learned if you tell people the cookies are a new fresh shipment or that they would have a snack for later in the afternoon, they were more likely to want it.

These principles help me create upsells for my clients in their copy. You might have other work tales to help you fuel your writing. Just because you don't sit down at a keyboard and write every day doesn't mean you don't have anything interesting to say.

Working as a personal trainer was the most in-depth level of human understanding in my past work life. In case you didn't know, personal trainers are basically therapists. We hear all about people's lives, relationships, stress, insecurities, and we learn every in and out of someone's medical history. There are few things more complex than the relationship we have with our own bodies. This gave me insight to the barriers and excuses people use for accomplishing what they want.

Going out to bars as a 21-year-old taught me about how people choose who to hook up with. It absolutely defies common sense, but I felt like Steve Irwin in a lake of crocodiles creeping around. You want to learn how to really create a good sales pitch? Watch how people try and hook up with each other. Pro tip: Go with people so you don't look like a weirdo alone at a bar. Which I have totally done.

Yes, practicing as a writer matters. Practice every single day.

However, understand that it is your own personal experiences that fuel your writing. All the great writers were more or less writing about their own lives, even in fiction. You think Hemingway, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, or Fitzgerald pulled stories out of the air? No way. Those stories were simply fueled by the lives they lived.

Never try to copy another writer. You didn't have their experiences. You have your own to tell.

Your OWN stories is what makes you a good writer, journalist, copywriter, or whatever path you want to go down.

Want to become a writer? Just start to sell your own stories. Everything else from then on is simply polishing the way you tell your stories.