A Pilgrimage to AWAI Bootcamp 2014.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

American Writers and Artists, Inc.

This year marks my first year at an American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) Bootcamp. I’ve wanted to go for some time and this year I was able to clear my calendar and make the pilgrimage to Delray Beach, Florida for AWAI’s four day, intensive, program entitled “FastTrack to Copywriting Success”.

Upon my arrival at West Palm Beach International Airport yesterday I met other pilgrims headed to Delray Beach for the conference. Pat, a retired psychologist who’s interested in writing for alternative health businesses and Donna, who’s already started her E-newsletter and graphic design business—thanks to recent downsizing by her former employer.

I checked into the Delray Beach Marriot and after a full day of travel made a beeline to my room. A quick shower and it was time to jump onto AWAI’s website, www.awaionline.com to check the schedule for the next day’s events. I decided to make it an early night since keeping with the “bootcamp” theme the schedule looked packed and I wanted to be ready for prime time the next morning.

After a nice breakfast at the hotel’s Seacrest dining room I managed to take an hour long walk along the Atlantic coast beach. Blues skies, puffy white clouds, and sandy beaches the walk enjoyable. It was a bit humid for this desert dweller but I still managed to stretch my muscles and collect a couple of sea shells for a future journey to Spain and pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago.

It’s Official, AWAI’s Bootcamp 2014 Day One

Our first “official” event was a no-host (shout out to Jeff Melvin at www.resultsbasedcopy.com for organizing) lunch at the Seacrest Restaurant. I was fortunate to meet two other first-timers at the conference, Jeff…a different Jeff, and Marilyne.

Jeff’s recently retired from the US Air Force and he and his wife, Cheryl have already started their copywriting business. She’s an AWAI Circle of Success member and was having lunch at another room for those members. Jeff’s interested in Business-to-Business (B2B) copywriting and is looking forward to the job fair on Friday.

Marilyne, a lovely lady pushing 80 who’s written two children’s books, is waiting to hear whether she’s won a grant to write another book for publication in the Baltics, and may even have still another book published by Texas Tech. I wish her all the best an hope she’s selected for the grant and gets published by Texas Tech. Check out her books at http://www.marilynecizmich.com/.

Registration started promptly at 3:00 and I had an opportunity to meet AJ from Texas and Rachael from Maryland. Rachael’s a graphic designer and at our First-Time Bootcamp Attendee meeting she was a hit! Since most of the attendees are geared toward copywriting or other types of writing, having an established graphics artist attending means all the aspiring copywriters can network with a graphic artist for future projects.

As I was headed back to the room just before the keynote speech I was honored to meet Rebecca Matter, President of AWAI,  who challenged me to find my niche at my first bootcamp. So there it is, my goal for my pilgrimage to AWAI’s Bootcamp 2014 and Project Freedom—I’m going to find my niche.

The keynote speech started promptly at 6:00 and Richard Armstrong, AWAI’s 2012 Copywriter of the Year, gave an amazing talk, Perfect Pitch — The Secret of Singing in Your Customer’s Key. What a great copywriter and what a great guy! More about his speech in a future installment.

Winding Down Day One of AWAI’s Bootcamp 2014

The last “official” event of the evening was the Wall of Fame Networking Dinner. Attendees were grouped according to state/province…shout out to our brothers and sisters from Canada! I had the opportunity to meet several people from Nevada, a young man, Jerrod, from Utah, and had an added bonus of dining with AWAI coaches and stars, Will Newman of Wordsmiths Marketing and Heather Robson Editor of WealthyWebWriter.com .

After a long day of meeting great people and finally having the opportunity to meet some of the AWAI crew it was off to Skype with Ilene and fill her in on all the details.

Stay tuned for our next episode and Day Two of AWAI’s Bootcamp 2014!


Keith is the resident writer and troublemaker at Empowered Pros.
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