Diane FanucchiCongratulations to Diane Fanucchi for Winning the January 2018 Barefoot Writing Challenge!

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

What guiding word do you choose to steer your success in 2018, and why?

Diane’s word promises both hope and progress, but also smartly takes into account all the little things required to turn a writing dream into a writing business. Enjoy her winning submission:


Success can cover so many aspects of living, but I’ll focus this essay on my guiding word for success in my new writing business.

I knew my word would convey a slow sequence of small but cumulative efforts to turn my business into reality. I thought of progress, steady, and so on.

But today, on my walk, during my thinking time, I found it. Build.

There is a commercial building site I pass by nearly every day on my walk. For months or maybe a year, nothing much seemed to happen but the moving around of some dirt. Nothing appeared to be coming into existence, but work was obviously being done.

Then, gradually, a few changes appeared. Subsequently, as if suddenly, a metal frame stood up. Each week, something new was added, and it began to look like a building would finally come into existence. Now, still months later, there is something like a roof and something blue in between the metal poles.

Soon there will be walls. Eventually the piles of dirt will be gone, replaced with something more polished and appealing. It will start to look complete and usable.

I think the same thing has been happening with my business. I’ve spent the last few years moving dirt around, preparing the foundation – taking classes, listening to webinars, reading blogs, learning both copywriting skills and how to make – shall I say build – a freelance business.

Eventually, I had a decent LinkedIn profile, some rudimentary writing samples, a few knowledgeable contacts, and, finally – a big deal for me – my website came into existence. On the third day of 2018, I published my first blog post.

Now this is my year to turn all the preparing into a real business with real clients. Something tangible, visible, functioning.

As I go along, I’ll polish my portfolio, improve my website, smooth away the piles of dirt that remain. And, all along, I’ll be building, adding, going forward, and, I hope, gaining clients and doing good work for them.

My pace is naturally slow, and my learning curve still large. But I can look back on the things I didn’t know how to do but somehow did get done, like the website, and feel confident that, if I keep taking steps, adding bricks or boards or finishing touches, a real business, however modest, will emerge from all the small efforts. Finally, something presentable and useful will sit on top of the dirt of all that preparation.

So that’s what I’ll tell keep telling myself when I dread the task at hand or when my progress seems slow or even invisible. I’m building. I’ll keep building, and, by the end of the year, my business will have come into existence, like slow-motion photography, right before my eyes.

So my word is build because of all the little steps I’ve taken, and because there will be something to show for them. This year, I’ll build, and I’ll move in.