I’m a Writer, Thanks to a Brain Tumor: PART II!! By Bill Asenjo

This is the first time that WritersWeekly has published a follow-up to a previous success story. Congrats, Bill!

Curious about freelance writing courses offered at our community college, I called someone teaching an essay-writing course and mentioned that I was a freelance writer. He urged me to contact the community college. Encouraged, I also approached my local community center. Bear in mind, I’m in Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa’s internationally-acclaimed Writers Workshop. Yet after receiving a surprisingly warm welcome, I began teaching freelance writing courses for both.

What’s happened since…

I continue to teach for both, but this time they agreed to have me teach in one place while they both registered students. Bottom line: more students, more money. And, at my request, the community college is considering me for one of the few spots available to teach this fall via their fiber optic televised network. Again, more students, more money.

In turn, I approached the nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore to inquire about conducting a freelance writing workshop. My second workshop took place last Sunday, and they want me to continue. The workshops brought additional students into my classroom, and, more importantly, offered networking opportunities resulting in writing assignments, potential speaking engagements and other workshops.

There’s more…

While having my clips copied at Office Depot, I mentioned my Barnes & Noble workshop. The assistant manager began reading a few of my clips-including the Barnes & Noble announcements. He then said that the store manager wanted to sponsor events to attract more customers. My reply, as you might guess: Why not have me conduct a workshop about freelance writing as a home-based business? I continued by explaining I could mention the supplies, equipment, and copying I rely on Office Depot to supply. He loved it. We haven’t talked money yet, but once again, another networking opportunity.

I cold-called a local graphic designer, sent him clips. Nothing happened. But nearly two months later he called to say that based on my clips he thought I’d work well with his new client who wanted a brochure written with a human interest slant. I met with the client this week.

My most recent freelance forays?

I never thought I’d write these words, but I joined the Chamber of Commerce. Businesses need writers. Oh, and I’ll be conducting another writing workshop at yet another bookstore miles from Barnes & Noble.

Moral of the story: take a chance. Ask for what you want. Get yourself, and your writing abilities, known. You can’t get work if people don’t know you exist.

For more on this, and additional ideas, a few books I’d recommend include:

* Marketing Strategies for Writers by Michael Sedge

* The Well-Fed Writer

* Speak and Grow Rich by Dottie Walters

I want to make crystal clear that nothing in my ongoing success saga has anything to do with having a PhD.


Anyone with the willingness to overcome their anxiety (like me) can do what I’ve done. I’m succeeding based on my writing clips, and, in turn, writing workshops and the writing classes I teach.

All possible simply based on being a writer, NOT a PhD.

As you know, there’s no shortage of PhDs who are seemingly incapable of writing a user-friendly sentence.

I learned how to write as a freelancer from other writers, some of whom barely finished high school. And the courses, and books, that helped me become a published freelance writer have been taught by writers, not professors.

Bill Asenjo, PhD, CRC is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), freelance writer, consultant, and college instructor. In a former lifetime — before multiple brain tumor surgeries — Bill had been a bartender, New York City cabdriver, college dropout, and construction worker, among other less-illustrious occupations. Contact Bill: (319) 351-1528; basenjo@avalon.net; https://www.consideration.org/asenjo/