Damn Fine Words is perfect for:
- Business owners who need to improve their content-writing skills so they can create better website copy, sales letters, blog posts and articles.
- Bloggers and professional writers who want to learn how to become a faster, better, more confident writer so they land better projects that pay well.
- Freelancers (from any industry) who want better writing skills so they can build leads and generate sales through newsletters and content marketing.
In Damn Fine Words, you’ll learn how to write effectively, in a way that reaches your ideal customers with a message they want to hear so that you achieve better business results.
And this writing course works. Here’s what past students say about the Damn Fine Words writing course:
"Two months later, I am looking for a writer I can outsource new projects to since I am fully booked!"
I hoped to get a system in place, and I wanted to go through all the lessons one by one, in an organised manner, and get some feedback along the way.
I compared the best-case scenario and the worst-case scenario of what could happen if I joined. The best-case scenario outweighed the worst one by far: Losing money was highly unlikely, especially with the guarantee, and I had the chance of becoming a stellar and confident writer.
My expectations were set high, and I am glad I can say they were met. I was afraid I would be let down, but there's far too much value in the course for that to happen.
I really enjoyed the worksheets and exercises (finding my voice is one that springs to mind). I also liked the members-only forum a lot, and there are particular lessons that I use every day since I read them.
Now that I’ve finished the course, I have a writing system in place, and that's exactly what I wanted. I finish my drafts much faster and come up with better headlines. I am more confident with my writing than I was before, and I achieved pretty much everything I hoped and aimed for.
At the beginning of the course, I was just starting to look for new clients. Now, two months later, I am looking for a writer I can outsource new projects to since I am fully booked! I also launched a website that got some attention and hosted a workshop for startups.
The course can transform you into an efficient writer, even if you have no prior experience. It's an investment that pays off.
"My sense of enthusiasm for my work has been restored, and I find myself bursting with ideas I cannot wait to apply."
Like shining a light in dark, dusty corners, James will ferret all your dirty secrets from their hiding places. I had fallen into a rut - though often I knew what I should be doing, working alone so much had deprived me of the push from comrades who challenge me. I was seeking that competition and inspiration of working with like-minded achievers and feedback from an Insider who would tell me the unvarnished truth.
I am in the early years of starting a risky and low profit business, so the fee was a huge obstacle for me. However, I am a believer that you get what you pay for, and my previous experiences with James convinced me she was the legit deal. It took me a couple of years to fit the course into my budget, but I consider it an investment, not an expense.
My peers have been wonderful and inspiring, and James gives original and insightful feedback on your work. I most enjoyed working with fellow students, the conversation with James and the frank, no-nonsense steps to establishing workable systems to make your work more effective and painless. That was a huge help in making my work less mood-driven and more professional.
I have applied a ton of course-inspired improvements behind the scenes. My sense of enthusiasm for my work has been restored, and I find myself bursting with lots of ideas I cannot wait to apply.
I would absolutely recommend this course to others. I am a believer in lifelong learning. There's a ton of free courses and classes out there, but surrounding yourself with achievers and pushing to reach the next level requires a risk and commitment. James is a good leader, capable of pulling out your best.
"I felt I was going to get a very personalized touch – and the course exceeded my expectations."
I struggled to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper (or computer). I had lots to say, but found the process of writing itself was very tedious. I was too impatient with the length of time it would take me to get anything written, that I'd just not bother to write at all! I hoped to learn a process that would that kick-start my writing - every day.
I decided to take the course because the emails from James that coaxed me to join were both intriguing and inviting. I felt that I was going to get a very personalized touch in this course – and the course exceeded my expectations.
The psychological impact of deciding to invest in myself has been life changing. I didn’t realize how much this course would impact other areas of my personal and professional life. The breakthroughs I've experienced since deciding to invest in myself, both professionally and personally, are immeasurable!
This course has lead to insights that provided the focus in my business that was lacking before. I feel energized, and excited to have set a launch date for my website in the not too distant future. Prior to the course I didn't know where to start... I now have a clear action plan for my writing that I can implement.
While the lessons are powerful, the truly hidden gem comes from the interaction that takes place in the classroom forum with both the instructor and your colleagues. Posting your work keeps you constantly moving forward in the learning process. It’s this giving and receiving of feedback in such a collaborative environment that makes this course exceptional.
Well worth every penny of my investment!
I would HIGHLY recommend this course to anyone looking for a catalyst to change their life. If you're even considering a writing course, then this course is the springboard you've been looking for! Get over the sticker shock, invest in yourself, and roll up your sleeves!
"Writing is no longer a 'need/should' activity. Now it's a 'want to do/love to do' part of my day."
Learning 3-sentence minis and meeting my three creative staff members changed everything. My focus, enthusiasm, energy, clarity and confidence relative to writing, to be sure. The repeatable system that can be compressed or expanded as my time and creativity are so inclined is a tool I have wholeheartedly embraced and evangelized.
Surprising (to me anyway) was the impact the 3-sentence minis and the creative staff combo had on my mental health. Not that I was on the brink of breakdown or tempted by open windows in high rise buildings… but once I met my staff and knew their roles in creating minis, drafts and completed copy, I was a new woman.
Most of all, DFW and these two lessons in particular, have made me see myself as a writer. I’m not just a speaker who also writes pretty well. I’m not just writing so that I can get more speaking engagements. Yes, that will happen. Yes, that’s how I justified the investment. But now writing is more than a means to greater end.
Writing is no longer a “need” or “should” do activity. Now writing is a “want to do” and “love to do” part of my day.
And when you love what you do for a living, life will love you back.
Here endeth my lesson to new DFW students: The world needs to hear you.
"My sales have increased by 50%, and I'm expecting that to improve even more!"
I have to frequently write sales content for my business. Before taking DFW writing course , I was unsure if my writing was effective. I would struggle for long hours to write posts and sales content that left me unsatisfied and didn't impact my business positively.
After joining DFW, I feel much more confident of my writing. James was there to assist us with any questions and led us through all the steps required to become a Damn Fine Writer. My sales content has attracted more clients and generated more sales.
This is a course I definitely recommend!
After looking at different options, I came to the conclusion that DFW writing course was the best option because it's the most complete and up to date writing course out there. The course outline seemed very complete. All the steps and techniques to improve my writing were covered. We would always count with the guidance and assistance of an A list writer like James. On top of that, it was an online course which was perfect for my schedule.
I was really determined to improve my writing so in my mind not taking this writing course was not an option.
It not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. I enjoyed being able to learn from James and from my classmates (this is a very interactive course!), the fact that it's online, and lifetime access to the course material. It definitely helped me improve my writing. It takes me less time to write sales content that has proved to attract more clients and generated more sales.
My sales have increased by 50%, and I'm expecting that to improve as I keep on writing more sales content using the techniques taught by DFW course.
If you want to write in less time effective sales content that generates more sales, this is the course to take. Highly recommendable as well even if you don't need to write sales content and just need to improve your writing. I also thank James for her assistance and guidance throughout this course. I loved her witty comments and sharing this course with my peers. It was a great group!:)
"Anxiety about writing has dramatically reduced, helping me be more efficient, which allows me to be more relaxed."
My lack of confidence when I have to write something causes a ton of anxiety. Which leads to procrastination. And lots of stress.
The high quality lessons and step-by-step worksheets helped me realize that all along, well before this course, I actually did know a few things about writing. That reinforcement helped boost my writing confidence.
I have truly appreciated the one-on-one feedback from James and my classmates. It has helped me see the areas I need to work on. I’m learning how slight changes make big improvements. Most importantly, anxiety about writing has dramatically reduced, helping me be more efficient at my job, which allows me to be more relaxed in my personal life.
DFW is much more than a 10-week writing course. It is a lesson that continues to give in many more ways than I anticipated. Such a treasure. When I look down the road, I see that I enjoy writing. I am a writer.
"From your lessons, I’ve created a system that allows me to reliably draft a blog post over the course of two days with almost no angst."
I loved your course and my writing was transformed. My husband—operations manager for a fast-paced HVAC service company now reads my blog posts regularly, and he’s told me they are really good. Although he loyally bought many copies of my book ‘Why Not Lead?’ when it was published, he’s confessed that he’s only read part of it because it was too long. Given that he’s one of my ideal readers, I think I’ve scored a home run.
Not only has my writing improved enormously but I actually enjoy writing every week. From your lessons and checklist, I’ve created a system that allows me to reliably draft a blog post over the course of two days with almost no angst.
Your course has had a significant impact on my writing and my life. Thank you!
"I now know that writing done correctly is more fun than struggle, and my faith was restored."
One of my biggest struggles with writing was the endless flood of ideas and inspiration flooding into my hopper, all clamoring to be noticed and developed first. Too much, too fast to keep up with led to brain-lock and frustration. And my obsessive drive for perfection through over-editing nearly crippled any project I undertook.
Free at last free at last, thank God almighty, I'm free at last!
The way James pitched her DFW course was compelling. She spoke right to my greatest needs, concerns and desired outcomes — without sounding like a salesman. I want to be able to write like that. She comes across as genuine, sincere and, frankly, really cool.
My expectations were based on the course description. It was what I was looking for at the time, and yes...my expectations were met, and exceeded. What's cool is that James states up front what you can expect from this course when the students are self-accountable, and by stating her expectations of herself to deliver a quality product. And deliver, she did!
James' coaching is personal and professional. I love her human-ness, insight and sensitivity. She steps in as a teacher by empathizing first, and then offering her expertise. I knew she had been where I was, and she made no pretense about that. She's a pro who remembers what it was like to struggle and is passionate about developing writers.
The lessons built seamlessly one upon the other. The progression felt right and made sense. And she taught us some great tricks of the trade I'd never heard before.
I very much liked the opportunity in the forum for interacting with my classmates, and the opportunity to offer and receive feedback on each others work. I'm quirky, and James gets me. As I read her interactions with the other students, it became clear that she 'got' each of us. That's cool and a sign of a great teacher.
The course helped me prioritize my ideas, tighten up my writing and prove to myself I could write to deadlines. I also gained confidence in my potential as a writer, I now know that writing done correctly is more fun than struggle, and my faith was restored in the quality of a course like this when compared to some others. It's a great standard for me to aspire to.
I'm having more fun writing now than ever before. I highly recommend this course to others. Why? Because it's a high quality product with far more potential for return than the investment you'll make. If you're an aspiring wordsmith, like I am, these are some of the essential tools of your trade. You will need them to even begin to master your craft.
"A great way to improve your business and writing skills..."
I had been looking at the course for the past 18 months and after lots of consideration, I joined. If you're the kind of person that likes to 'create value', you will definitely get that from this course!
I wasn't sure if I was a good enough writer, but having read James' emails over a long period of time and through corresponding with her, it made me realize the course would be good, so I took the plunge.
The course met my expectations. I got practice at writing in certain styles, and it's a great way to connect with other writers/people online. There is a good sense of camaraderie, and your peers give feedback and support.
James is a fantastic writing mentor. She is always there for you and will definitely give you the feedback you need, but also the space to explore. No fluff! No nonsense.
The course helped me to look at how I get validation, how to look at more appropriate titles for my blog posts and write ones that would capture the right audience. I also fine-tuned my target audience and ideal reader.
I recommend this course. It's a great way to improve your writing and business skills, and I really appreciated all the feedback from James and my fellow writers.
"One of the best investments I ever made in my personal and professional development. I love writing now."
The main obstacle for me was the cost. I’m not saying that your courses are overpriced. It’s just that most of us that have the greatest need for your course are probably the ones that are least able to afford them.
But I got so much from your course. The confidence in my writing skills skyrocketed. These skills are something that no one can ever take away from me. It was one of the best investments that I have ever made in my personal and professional development. I love writing now.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how active the forums were. Using the forums helped my get the most from the course. And your individual attention and feedback were priceless – a real plus.
I learned how to use a repeatable system for creating the best content possible using my ‘voice’. I gained confidence in my writing. It feels great to know that I’ve been able to overcome my business writing fears. I felt that the pace of the lessons were just right. I had to work hard but was not overwhelmed.
I have no reservations about recommending your course to others. The improvement in my writing skills is a testament that your course works.
I miss the camaraderie of being a part of the classes. And I miss your feedback, James. I think that we all develop a special bond with each other during these courses.
By the way – I’m working on my ebook, every morning from 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. I’m doing the first edit (lesson 15) and it’s turning out great. I can’t wait to share some of it with you.
"I landed one new client before the course ended and two more since."
With a young family, money flies out the door faster than it comes in. I didn't have a firm grip on the value of the course vs. the cost. Neither had I established a clear-cut need for it - for me or for my business. As a result, I was lousy at selling the idea to my husband and the cost would impact our family budget.
I woke up and realized I had the power to change my writing - it was mine, and not James'.
Did the course meet my expectations? Yes, yes, yes. And then some. Has anyone every explained how good something will be to you, and then when you experience it you realize the words didn't do it justice?
Every good word that is said about Damn Fine Words is 100% true. It's what's between the lines that could be missed. How do you convey the power of an online course with words? The difference is James...
Seriously, everything changed about my writing. That was the good part. But, the double-whammy awesome part was how it changed my mindset. How I approach my writing, the process, and the way it has freed my ideas from the prison they were in and given them permission to become something great.
The course helped me achieve structure, clear intent, meaningful ideas, excitement and a spring in my step. I now feel a craving for time with my keyboard.
Plus, I landed one new client before the course ended and two more since.
When you find something really, really good you want to keep it all to yourself. I'd love to keep Damn Fine Words as my secret weapon. But I also believe James is making the writing world a better place with Damn Fine Words. If everyone did this course it would lessen the pain of the mindless clutter that is the content we experience every day.
Writers, business people, bloggers, entrepreneurs - they'd all be oozing writing effectiveness. And their business results would benefit.
So yes, I'd definitely and unequivocally recommend this course to others.
"I achieved confidence that I could write something of value in a reasonable amount of time."
Before taking the course, I struggled with not knowing how to begin. Trouble narrowing the topic. Fear of the dreaded blank page. I hoped to learn how to do a blog or an email-based course on practices of natural health.
It was a pretty hefty fee, and since I run my own business and have no backup, the uncertainty of the amount of time required might have prevented me from joining. It just seemed like the right time and the right thing to do, so I signed up, and the time for this course came out of my very early morning hours and weekends.
I joined because I needed some way to have money coming in besides dealing directly with clients. I wanted to find a way to make a living by writing about natural health rather than practicing it. That is getting increasingly more difficult.
The course met my expectations, and then some. The lessons on three-sentence minis, followed by outlines, helped me solved the problem of where to start, how to narrow, and how to be sure I knew what my message was. The features versus benefits lesson was very helpful for clarity, as was the lesson on calls to action. The results-oriented thinking was good.
I achieved confidence that I could write something of value in a reasonable amount of time and that more time would result in a work that had more validity, credibility and value. I also correspond with my clients via email a lot, and I have a bit more confidence with them and find it somewhat less time consuming and stressful.
I have had many, many classes of all sorts and yours was one of the most highly developed, organized, and implemented that I have had.
"It's obvious James cares about her students, and that we learn."
Before taking the Damn Fine Words writing course I was struggling with writing sales emails for my workshops. I hated it. I felt like I had a hard time saying exactly what I wanted to say. It was difficult to feel I was writing compelling copy that would result in conversions while simultaneously maintaining my integrity. In other words, how to write compelling, converting sales copy without feeling like a sleazy used car salesman (no offense to respectable used car sales people).
I also needed to learn how to be more concise and clear about exactly what I wanted my reader to get from what I wrote. And more importantly, what action I wanted them to take.
I'm also am very interested in starting a blog to develop an online community for my business. to further serve my existing clients as well as start leveraging my knowledge to sell audio products online to a broader community.
The cost of the course was substantial, but in comparing Damn Fine Words cost other online business writing courses, I found James' fee actually very reasonable.
The format of the course really made sense to me. Other courses are intensive weekends or not live. I believe that having live, real-time feedback is extremely important.
The other very significant aspect was having the course spread over many weeks. Learning anything is much more effective and easily consolidated when done often over time. Intensive weekend workshops are more like "cramming for an exam". You may do well on the exam, but then you forget it all in no time.
The other thing that made me choose Damn Fine Words was in fact reading James' writing. I really appreciated James' style. One of the other courses I was considering had a good "syllabus" but honestly, when reading the teacher's copy, I really didn't like his style.
Damn Fine Words exceeded my expectations. I have to admit that for the first few lessons, I had my doubts. I didn't feel like we were getting to the heart of the matter quickly enough. But in considering how the course progressed and where we got to by the end, it is clear that James put much thought into each lesson, as well as the progression of lessons. Those first lessons laid a foundation for success.
In no time at all, the course got much more demanding. I can't stress enough how much I learned. There were many ideas/concepts I'd come across before. But the clarity James brought to these concepts and the exercises she put forth for us made everything come into sharp focus. Then there were many ideas/concepts that were new to me -- and absolutely invaluable to improving my writing.
But what really made the course stand out as exceptional was the constant feedback James gave us students in the forum. She was always there guiding, giving feedback and supporting us. And her feedback was great. It was always honest and useful. It is obvious she cares about her students and that we learn.
The forum was surprisingly fun to be a part of. I'm a bit of a nut for learning, so the whole course was great. But as one who does not spend time on Facebook or twitter or chat rooms or forums, I really was surprised at what an awesome space that was.
It was fun. People were awesome. Supportive. Funny. Honest. And, having the chance to read others work and James' comments on others work as well as my own made the course so much richer.
After writing my first really significant sales email near the end of the course, I had a longtime client of mine read it. Her first comment was something like: "Wow! You are really communicating with so much more clarity! Well done….." To me -- this says it all.
I've really improved my writing. This course has not only got me on the right path, it will continue to help me as I develop by blogging skills and eventually, rewrite all my web copy.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone serious about improving their writing skills. It exceeded my expectations. It was effective in improving my and my classmates writing skills. James' constant feedback is specific, honest and useful. The forum offers a much richer learning experience as one learns from others as well and it made the process much more fun. The lessons are very well laid out. Its a great course.
I just want to say thanks. I found the course so good, that in spite of the significant cost, I'm considering taking it again!
"This course has done more for my writing than any other resource... maybe even all of them combined."
As a writer/entrepreneur who's tried and hated many online courses (I prefer books), I recommend James and Damn Fine Words wholeheartedly.
4 reasons: Integrity, intent, capability, and results
Integrity: Unlike most courses, DFW doesn’t exist to make James passive income. It exists because it’s that thing James can’t not do. She wants this course to make you the writer you crave to be.
Intent: You have passion and value to share to the world. And it hurts - HURTS - James that you don’t, or can't, just because nobody taught you how.
Capability: James can and will. In fact, she invests A LOT of time and energy into coaxing you to do what you have to. And she’s damned good at it. Before Damn Fine Words, I would have been thrilled to get paid $25 for an article. James helped me write words that deserve more. And she made me believe it.
Results: Seriously, just check out this page.
This course has done more for my writing than any other resource. Maybe even all of them combined. But more importantly, it has done more for my psyche and confidence than my writing. That's really saying a lot 🙂 Highly, highly recommended.
"You bet your life I absolutely would recommend this course."
I really had to weigh up the costs/benefits as I was committing funds I didn’t really have spare. The other consideration was time – would the workload allow me to do the course justice?
I discovered that while I thought I could write pretty well, there was an awful lot I didn’t know, and an awful lot I needed to know. That convinced me to find the cash to do DFW on its next run.
The disciple and focus the course demanded made me stay on track and prioritize homework over other distractions to make sure I could get it in on time and make use of James’ feedback
Shitty first drafts were a learning curve, but one I am so glad I went on, as it was amazing how much that helped – I had always tried to perfect when writing so this was a revelation.
I learnt new writing techniques, and I learnt a lot – a lot – about writing in general. But the bottom line is that I achieved a dream – I wrote a book. Yay!
You bet your life I absolutely would recommend this course. I work with guys and girls who need to grab attention. They run blogs, write proposals, pitches and marketing bumph. The stuff they would learn in this course, even if their end goal is not to write a book, would move them forward massively. While they may wince at the cost, I can show them how the course pays them back many times over in terms of what they will generate from what they learn and what they will save by not hiring stuff in.
This course does what it says on the tin. Everything James promised, she delivered. And then some. I will be using the lessons for everything I write until it is so ingrained I don’t need the lessons anymore.
"It's THE course I recommend for everyone serious about writing for business or internet marketing."
I wasn't sure how to write. I wasn't sure if what I was writing was good enough. I wanted to have a structure - a clear process - for writing outstanding copy. I hoped to learn a step by step approach, from idea to the finished piece of content.
The price point was the only block I had. It was the most expensive online training I'd ever considered. Since I don't make that much money from internet marketing, and since I write mostly in my native language (Romanian), it looked like a huge investment.
I decided to join the course because the curriculum promised what I was looking for: a step by step framework for writing. That and my intuition. Gut feeling, you know.
Did the course meet my expectations? Hell, yes! In fact, the course exceeded my expectations in many ways. It's THE course I'd recommend for everyone who's serious about writing for business or internet marketing. This course goes before any other marketing training, in my opinion.
I learned a step by step process for writing, and I received a lot of value from the interaction with James and other students. I feel like I'm a writer now. I know how to think and what to do when it comes to writing. I am confident that I can write good content and get better at it even more by applying what I've learned in the DFW course. And I gained confidence that I can write both in my native language and in English, too.
I can't wait to share my message to the world through my writing. I now have a list of 64 articles ready to be put in my Editorial calendar, and I know how to write in much less time than I used to. I'm ready to start doing, in my business, rather than keeping learning (without much doing).
I'd recommend anyone who wants to make a living sharing his/her message to take the DFW course before any other courses. That way, you will start with the most important task for your business: actually writing good content and thus providing value to your readers.
All the other courses on marketing come after DFW. DFW is a course on writing for business, so it will give you a lot of marketing-related insights, too: how to find your ideal reader, how to find the pain points and write with benefits, to mention just a few. DFW is a foundation for a solid online business for someone who wants to write his/her own content.
"I knew this course would be a life-changer."
Prior to taking the course, there was always a sense of uncertainty about the 'quality' of my writing. I know this is not uncommon, but there was always that niggling doubt and voice in my head that made me question my ability. Did my writing stand up well enough for me to call myself a 'writer'? I think it was also the uncertainty of knowing how other copywriters write and work and not knowing if the way we were working in our business was 'on par'.
I hoped to learn some great writing skills and to gain confidence - both in my technical ability and in our ability as a business. To know my partner and I were on the right track and doing everything we could to grow our business successfully and competently.
Aside from cash flow(!), the only thing really holding me back was the uncertainty of doing an online course. It's not something I've done before and I wasn't altogether sure how it would work. It probably comes back to that confidence factor - of putting my work out there in what I perceived would be a group of top notch expert writers and worrying that perhaps I would fall short of their standards.
I always wanted, and intended, to do the course. I knew it would be a life changer. My business partner decided to join, and it made sense for us both to do it if we were to be in business together. And in hindsight, I can't imagine how it would have worked with only one of us doing the course. It wouldn't have! We both think and write much differently from before. It was definitely motivating for us doing it together, and that was a great incentive.
The Damn Fine Words course didn't just meet my expectations - it far exceeded them. Almost immediately, I recognized the course was just as much about personal insights, organization and growth, as it was about writing. I also learned that both go hand in hand.
The lessons were unpredictable, always insightful, and unexpectedly shifted my thinking in ways that reaped benefits. They came together like a clever plan designed to tip us on our heads, shake us up and put us back together as better versions of ourselves and far skilled writers.
I wasn't sure about the members-only forum at the start, but I came to really enjoy it. It is a huge part of feeling comfortable in my ability but also as part of the 'writing world'. And having a 'direct line' to feedback from James was invaluable.
I achieved so much in the course! Confidence, enthusiasm and itchy feet to get moving and grow our business and improve, improve, improve! I think the course has really given us the wings and confidence to get out there and really go for it. We believe in ourselves now. We have the knowledge and grounding beneath us. We're confident in knowing that we've learned from the best...so we have no excuses!
We have already won more business, which we attribute to our newfound approach and style - to writing and to business. We are also far more proactive in establishing our business plan and making ourselves accountable for seeing it through and really stepping things up.
We've introduced all the specific techniques to our writing approach - from minis to ideal reader to edit checklist. We set aside time to write everyday (well, we try) and we revisit our passions. We are more confident, more driven and more impassioned.
I would absolutely recommend this course to others. There is no risk. It has an incredible reputation and the testimonials speak volumes. As a student of the Damn Fine Words, you'll discover there's a lot more to writing than just putting pen to paper. You'll learn a hell of a lot about yourself along the way, gain an incredible toolbox of writing techniques, and focus your sights on growing your business with a clear understanding of how to do it.
You'll also meet a fantastic and supportive group of students who are just like you, and you'll have some fun, some laughs, some wake-up calls and some epiphanies
At the start, the number of students who were doing the course for the second time surprised me. I wondered why anyone would do that, and I absolutely understand now. For the 10 weeks of the course, it felt like we were in a different world, packed with learning and insights. It was hard for it to come to an end. Whilst the course provides so much information, it is up to each student to continually practice the skills and techniques learned. I can totally see the appeal and value in doing the course over. That is a testament to James and the tangible benefits the course delivers.
Thank you, James. You hope for great things from your students, and we now have the confidence to believe in and hope for great things from ourselves as well!
"It’s the best feeling in the world to sit down at your computer and know exactly what to do, every time."
Before I came to Damn Fine Words, I thought that if I wrote something smart or interesting, readers would come. They wouldn’t mind sifting through a jumbled mess of ideas…
I can admit when I’m wrong.
James has designed DFW to make your writing a breeze to read. The lessons on readability and shitty first drafts changed my life. Now my content speaks directly to the readers I want to attract. It’s engaging and entertaining, composed and accessible.
And it’s a breeze to write. It’s the best feeling in the world to sit down at your computer and know exactly what to do, every time. Because by the end of the course, you have your own writing template, and all you have to do is fill in the blanks with your great ideas.
Thanks James, for the confidence that your course inspires. Diving into a sea of bloggers doesn’t intimidate me anymore, not when I’m swimming outside of the school.
"Never tell James how high the ROI is; she'll blush."
I use the metaphor of a rowing team when thinking about my company: all the parts pulling in the same direction, smoothly racing forward. No thrashing. No wasted effort. Elegant and smooth direct at the finish line.
Damn Fine Words is about getting your writing completely on board.
Like all effective programs, James leads us straight to what works. She puts everything in the right order. Our attention is drawn to what we must do and how it fits together. And James has a very strong ability to facilitate a conversation and guide the students to put our eye back in the ball.
Never tell James how high the ROI is; she'll blush. Worse, she might raise the price before I get all my team through the program.
"As a result of the course, I had the opportunity to write a sponsorship proposal for an Olympic gold-winning athlete. I'd recommend Damn Fine Words in a heartbeat."
I was nervous of participating with seriously accomplished/talented writers. There are amazing marketers writing online, and I didn’t want to punch above my weight. Thank God DFW is a no-judgement environment.
I also struggled with the fact that other students had businesses/passions they blogged about. I write on behalf of other people – their businesses and passions – so was unaccustomed to using my voice.
My discovery: that it’s OK to write business copy as myself instead of trying to master “corporate-speak”. That I need to switch off my meddling Editor when I am writing.
Your considerate and often funny feedback topped my list, as did viewing the Forums to benefit from reading other students homework. The curriculum itself felt like a natural progression, and being able to access it online was a biggie.
My achievement? A complete change in my business writing style. The content is no longer all about me – it’s all focused on my reader. And as a result of the course, I was given the opportunity to write a sponsorship proposal for an Olympic gold-winning athlete.
I would recommend Damn Fine Words in a heartbeat.
"I quit my 30-year job and got the chance of a lifetime..."
I used the content I'd written in the DFW eBook course as a chapter in a Kindle book - and the book hit #1 in two categories. I also quit my 30-year job as head of HR at a steel pipe manufacturing company to launch two online businesses: content marketing services for HR and Kindle book publishing.
And I got the chance of a lifetime when I was shortlisted to join three other songwriters on a 4-month project, plus co-write with a Grammy-winning songwriter.
Nobody told me old age would be so exciting!
"I wanted the chance to learn trade secrets from a professional..."
I rarely buy on impulse. Whether it’s a kettle or a pair of speakers, I take my time; do my research, check out alternatives. Reaching a decision could take me days or even a few weeks. With Damn Fine Words, it took around five years.
And by the time I eventually signed up, my expectations were sky high.
The course promised personal, engaging, and hands-on involvement throughout the course. This appealed to me. I liked the idea of structuring the course around a forum. I wanted the chance to learn trade secrets from a professional – and as a self-confessed procrastinator, I figured I may need some external encouragement to push me along.
I am one satisfied customer!
Each lesson was well structured, and full of great advice. It’s clear how much time and effort has gone into developing it. The tasks were stimulating and I was never bored. James fostered a really positive atmosphere on the forum, with clear ground rules about being open and supportive. It’s no coincidence that it attracted a sweet bunch of students.
As promised, James provided prompt feedback, and when needed responses were long and detailed. That commitment made me want to reciprocate. She didn’t freely dish out empty praise, so when it came, I felt I’d earned it.
This course has made me a better writer. Damn Fine Words is a great product, thanks to its quality content and James’ personal attention. To use an English phrase, the course “does exactly what it says on the tin”.
"The returns on investment began before the class had finished. I needed to convince a group of fussy clients to spend a lot of money fast, and using DFW techniques, I wrote an email that killed it."
Writer's block was sucking the life out of my business.
Every day, I have to write convincing emails, proposals, web pages and more. It's not enough to be accurate - I need to be interesting. When the words stopped flowing, business started drying up. Something had to change, fast!
Damn Fine Words to the rescue.
I immediately felt comfortable with the DFW course. Each class teaches a practical technique you can apply to any writing project. From discovering your audience to polishing the final draft, I now apply the tools to every word I write.
The returns on investment began before the class had finished. Only a few weeks in, I needed to convince a group of fussy clients to spend a lot of money fast - no time for questions. Using DFW techniques, I wrote an email that killed it.
Not every email will be that lucrative, but they will be that effective! And if it can work for me, it can work for you.
Finding DFW was a lucky accident. Signing up for the DFW writing course was a brilliant business decision. If you like to write, take the class. If you hate to write, take the class. If you need to write well - take the class!
"This course opened my eyes and my mind to new horizons."
I didn't take my writing seriously. Just wrote articles and such that I never charged for. I really did my own thing. I wanted to do more and most off all, I wanted to do BETTER. I decided to take a gamble on ME. I was worth it, so I stretched the budget and did it.
It was the most exciting ten weeks for me. I'd wake up on Monday and Thursday mornings and realize a new lesson would be coming through. Each lesson was excellent and went into areas I hadn't worked on before, hadn't even thought about. This course opened my eyes and my mind to new horizons.
Through Damn Fine Words, I learned to be serious about my writing. Each lesson was excellent, and while I’m not a forum person, the one in this course was superb. Every time I went, there were other people asking questions and ready to answer mine.
This course helped me to have much more confidence in my writing. To reach out and to branch out. To try new areas of writing. It helped me also to learn a lot about what works and what doesn't.
I would, with all my heart, recommend this course to other writers. It will help in ways you may not even realize you need help. Each lesson is a beautiful surprise. I do have one caveat: Don't take the course unless you plan to do the work - and if you do, you WILL be a better writer.
"I used to spend hours on writing assignments, but Damn Fine Words gave me a lifetime vacation from all that. I walked away with a systematic approach I can use any time I need to produce quality content on demand."
I used to spend hours on writing assignments that should have taken half the time. When I sat down to write, I didn’t believe I’d produce something people wanted to read.
Damn Fine Words gave me a lifetime vacation from all of that. I walked away with a systematic approach I can use at any time I need to produce quality content on demand.
Every lesson, I learned something I could immediately apply to my business. Each “Use it Now” exercise provided with the lesson helped me apply what I learned to the “real world.” One technique allowed me to easily come up with more blog post ideas than I could use in a year. I also learned how to get in the “zone” so writing becomes effortless. I could get out of my own way and fly through any writing I need to do for my business.
I saw immediate results. too. My blog posts got comments. One person was so surprised at the change in my writing that he asked, “Did you write this?”
And after a single Facebook post using a simple strategy I learned, an organization approached me requesting I write for them weekly.
Now, I use the techniques I learned in Damn Fine Words every day to make my life easier and my clients’ writing more profitable. I love what I do, because James taught me the process that makes writing easy. This course is the best investment I’ve ever made in my business.
"Now I earn more money than I've ever earned..."
As a DFW alumni, I can say with bleeding sincerity that DFW came at a time when I just KNEW I was on the wrong path. That I'd never make a living writing. But James stepped in and literally held my hand through the course. By the time all that freaking homework was done, I was a different writer.
Now I earn more money than I've ever earned and I'm a contributing author to Chris Brogan's Owner Magazine to boot.
It just feels good to know I made a good investment.
I still use the minis, my editorial checklist, and the wash, rinse, repeat checklist you gave us at the end. I’ve really gotten clear on my ideal reader and I’m getting better a highlighting the benefits. I read everything I write out loud and my writing flows as a result, with rarely any typos.
I always knew I had ideas in my head but now I’m able to express them. The more I use what you taught me the easier and more enjoyable it is to write.
The results from what you taught me just keep coming. People are loving my writing! I get compliments all the time and my message is really resonating with people. I’m getting 100+ Facebook shares and Likes on my blog posts. And as my Twitter following grows, so do the Tweet shares. I’m also getting a decent amount of comments on pretty much every post. Plus, the subscribers are coming in as well.
Just feels damn good and wanted to thank you again.
I don’t think you understand how important writing is to me. Then again, uhm, you probably do.
"My goals and aspirations are coming together - the more I practice the techniques, the more I see results."
I wanted to expand my offerings to my clients. AdWise Creative specializes in radio commercials and audio/voice over projects - I wanted to add content and website writing to my services...it seemed like a perfect match!
My biggest stumbling block was writing about my own business. I could write about anyone else's business and have plenty of ideas for them...but I'd hit a brick wall whenever I thought about my own.
After Damn Fine Words, I now have over 50 blog topics waiting for me to finish!!
I learned a lot of techniques and tips, and I now have a FULL box of tools to use in my writing. I enjoyed the encouragement and safety to try and push through. Everyone in the class has their own barriers and hurdles and walls that we run up against, and James and my other classmates are beyond supportive.
My goals and aspirations are slowly coming together - the more I practice the techniques the more I see results. The resources and tools I have at my fingertips and can refer to anytime are invaluable.
Every day I write, I see things differently, approach the writing differently, I revise with a different perspective, I'll still have "ah-ha" moments thinking about the course... I think I'll be feeling its impact for a long time.
What I discovered as a result of joining the course is that I knew I was going to get to the next level in my writing. I have read so many books, article and courses on writing, but this one is tops. This is college-level teaching.
The lessons were wonderful, each one meaty and building on the one before. Not only that, they were fun too. Bright and sparkly. I knew exactly when the next lesson would arrive in my inbox, and I was ready. I looked forward to each one!
I have to mention my favorite lesson of all was the one on minis. Oh, that one sent me to the moon! It was exactly what I needed. I have used that method over and over as I write my articles.
And James is available to all of her students. Not only available but willing and able to check the work we turn in and give us wonderful critiques. Those critiques were extremely helpful. I could build on them.
This is not your quickie writing course. This is in-depth and covers every possible area of writing online. What I have achieved as a result of the course is a much more organized approach as I write each article. I am not an organized person normally, but now my writing flows better and better. If I could just transfer that organization to my office and my house, I would be thrilled!
Would I recommend this course? Definitely and absolutely. In fact, I took the course twice, right after the first time. And the second time opened my eyes even more. I just felt so good being back. I’d still take it again, and probably again. I always know I can get better and better.
I only have only complaint: It is so tough when it’s over. I feel like a tiny bird who has been tossed out of the nest.
I’d still be doodling ideas in my head. I’d have maybe written an intro, but I’d have been changing my mind 10 times over about how to structure it. And it would have taken me a week just to get out 500 words. Instead, I have written and submitted a first draft of 8,000 words written over the course of 3 weeks! Thanks!
Today, I'm sitting here reading my client's book on Kindle - the one I started ghost writing in your Damn Fine Ebooks class. Damn, it's good! I'm proud to say it reached #1 on Kindle business books.
The thing that really clicked for me in your class was how to finish a paragraph so that it flows into the next paragraph. That and adding personal reflections have made what could have been a dry topic actually sizzle.
My client is proud of the work I've done for her; she's even commissioned me to do a follow-up workbook, and I've had 3-4 other potential prospects calling for help on books.
A thousand 'thank you's' for your damn fine teaching, James.
“I have enjoyed reading your newsletters, especially the coverage on ManMachine which seems to be a very interestingly run business to say the least. All the best with that!”
“I thought the newsletter amply demonstrated your unique ethos as well as setting out what you can do very clearly. Congratulations. I have passed it on to a few people I know. It certainly merits a wide circulation.”
“I usually read client’s newsletters out of courtesy; but I actually really like reading yours.”
Thanks for all your teaching.
I like to say I’m in the disaster business. I am a crisis manager, I help companies plan for the worst, do what they can to prevent disasters, and then manage a crisis when it happens. The subject matter can be tough to pitch, tougher to sell… who wants to think about the worst?
I spent the summer strategizing with James, working with language. I had hope but no real idea how I would find the language for what was in my head. I thought I would need to pay someone like James to craft the base content for my website.
Then in the fall, DFW came around.
The DFW lessons were, are, tough. They stretched my brains. Forced me to keep digging, keep at it, wrestle, be brave enough to put the content out there, and to do the work. The forum community was also important, in some ways as important, as the lessons.
Then something happened. Content. Clarity. Voice. Focus. More speed.
My humble site came into the open today. The learning, the work, the process – it works… and for that I am deeply grateful.
I finally wrote a non-fiction book that has been sitting in my mind for last 15 years. I am in the process of outlining a novel that should be complete by January. And I am going to apply this to my screencast videos and my podcast.
DFW turned my life around and I enjoy writing now with my new skill set. 2013 will be an awesome year, thanks to you James!
The things I have learnt, I put to use – and to my surprise, the products I actually wrote the descriptions for in my own tone and own words are the ones for which sales are skyrocketing.
Does that feel good? It feels awesome. Does that give me confidence to write more for my biz? Abso’freakin’lutely!!!!
You have lit a fire in my writing belly that I cannot describe. So thank you. Damn Fine Words is one awesome writing course. And you are one damn fine teacher.
Having access to the forum means I can learn from what everyone else has said, and the feedback everyone has given. (Trouble is there’s so much good stuff in there!)
Just like last time, this class has been a blast. The lessons were fun (even the ones I struggled with), and you’ve all been great classmates. And James, I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing my teachers at school were all as good as you.
I have a few things I want to share – both have happened since I took DFW and since I started using several of the writing techniques you taught in class.
The article you encouraged me to publish with Natural Horse Magazine is now in print. It’s my first publication in a “real” magazine. And last week another major horse publication contacted me. It’s called Equine Wellness. They’re a competitor of Natural Horse Magazine. They asked if I would be interested in doing an article related to horsemanship. That’s one of my favorite subjects, so it will be a breeze to write.
Thanks again for everything you do for those of us who strive to become a great writers.
Editor’s Note: Click here to read more on Elizabeth’s personal journey in the course.
I especially appreciated your way of participating and interacting with us that seemed wonderfully encouraging and playful without lowering your accountability expectations. You managed to convey a genuine “I believe in you” attitude.
As one of the older members of the class, this was just what I needed. There are still waves of goodness rippling out of that wonderful course, and they go far beyond the excellent instruction. I've kept up with a few of my classmates and we have supported each other. Interesting and valuable how paths can cross and re-cross. Even after almost two years, I continue to be grateful for the Damn Fine Words experience.
Your class flowed. Each lesson built on the ones before. We used work from several weeks ago and then developed it farther.
I loved that you didn’t have any damn videos. What business person has time to sit in front of the computer and watch someone talk? I loved that the lessons built on each other. I loved that there were themes running through the course. I loved that the lessons had a pleasing layout.
I really see how masterfully you understand designing a class.
The final lesson became really important to finishing the process. And writing it put everything together. It made me realize how far I had come. What I learned coalesced.
The depth of information, the way it was organized, and the forum have been outstanding. Your teaching, coaching, and interaction has been stellar. I have felt your presence throughout the course.
You care. About the quality of the course. About your students. It’s rare to come across an individual with your integrity.
The effect that the course has already had on me is significant. It changed my feelings about writing.
It changed my feelings about myself as a writer.
And much more.
None of this would have happened without you. Thank you.
The MORE IMPORTANT stuff that I'm learning here (and didn't think about at all before) is the pscholology around what I'm writing, why I'm writing it, and how to get inside people's heads to figure out whether they'll understand the message that I'm trying to convey.
But most importantly, I’m writing with more confidence and fun that even my clients can sense. Needless to say, this has helped boost my copywriting business a lot.
Mostly I want to say a big thank you. You’re terrific, your writing is great, and I salute what you are doing.
Last year I did her private writing coach program and in addition to helping me get some clarity on various topics, pointing out the error of my optimistic ways and lighting a fire under my butt, she also taught me some of the most valuable writing tricks ever. By the end of our time together I whipped out what I call my “tricked out editorial calendar” for the entire year…and I did it for some of my clients as well.
That alone would have been enough to get me to keep going with James but all of the other strategies and tools I learned just sealed the deal. Writing for me began to feel like art and it just doesn’t get much better than that.
So, when I found out she had created a new writing/business course called Damn Fine Words it took me less than 10 seconds to decide hell yes.
I have worked with James personally, I have bought her programs and products and I can say without question that I have earned more than my investment back every single time.
The results have been excellent. I developed a core marketing piece that has been advertised on Twitter by industry thought leaders and I got a new client less than twenty four hours after publishing.
Oh and the client I got during Damn Fine Words from a report I wrote just hired me again. A 200% monetary return on what I learned is pretty good!
Then Damn Fine Words fell from the heavens – and thank you God!
James hired me as an educational consultant for Damn Fine Words and asked me to critique each lesson and suggest ideas to make the course more engaging. So before I offered a critique, I read each lesson and carried out the exercises to test them.
I’d make my recommendations, James implemented them, and I went through lessons again until we were both happy. For six straight months, I was in a constant state of working, writing and reflecting.
And as I worked, I noticed my writing voice became clearer. My blog posts improved. I developed strict criteria for every piece of writing I produced, as well as what it must include and achieve before it ever gets published.
Then it hit me – this course wasn’t just about writing; it was about business too. As I learned how to write more effectively, I was also learning how to pitch and connect with potential clients. As I learned how to edit my work, I was also learning how to design a business strategy built just for me.
And I didn’t just find my writing voice. I found my business voice.
I have the award badge to prove it, too. My business, Courses that Matter, just won an International Award for Best Learning Leader Blog, and I’ve been asked to prepare a seminar as well.
Not bad for a business that’s just six months old!
Damn Fine Words came to me at a pivotal moment in my career. You won’t just find your writing voice – you’ll find your business voice.
Which, quite frankly, is the only one that matters.
But I believed that I could grow into a gifted blogger myself. What one man can do, another man can too, right?
So I decided to invest in my writing skills. I bought a month of writing coaching from one of the best coaches out there – James Chartrand.
She promised to change my life and believe me, she did!
Shortly after that month’s coaching, I signed up for the Damn Fine Words writing course. It accelerated my learning, and gave me numerous indispensable skills:
- I learned exactly what I want to write about, I got to know my ideal reader and all my writing is now aimed at solving his problems.
- I learned the secrets of creating a tight outline for whatever I write, and I know it’ll withstand the scrutiny of my toughest critics.
- I learned how to get in the right zone to create my first draft, edit my work, improve readability and remain productive through the whole writing process.
In addition, I’ve learned how to handle anxiety – something that plagues most writers.
Writing well is the most-important skill an online entrepreneur can master. You can skimp on the rest, but if you can’t write well, you won’t be able to convince people to like and trust you – let alone sell your services.
I am thankful to James because Damn Fine Words has given me the confidence, ability and inspiration to finally craft my message and build my online business. I will be using the techniques I’ve learned in Damn Fine Words for years, if not for decades.
This is really freaking cool. I’m starting to feel calm and relaxed about my writing. That feeling of panic is fading and is being replaced with confidence.
Best thing about this whole process is that is makes the writing process simple, fun and organized. I feel like a personal organizer walked into my brain and whipped everything into shape.
James teaches us to structure our work almost in the same way you'd approach a business problem. Writing becomes easy, fun and especially effective! I gained new insight into my own business through the exercises. Also, I learned to optimize website conversion by creating compelling and relevant copy.
This course is as much a business course as it is a writing course, so if you are not a writer by profession, don't let that stop you: take this course and change your business for the better.
"That seasoned professionals use Damn Fine Words to hone their skills spoke volumes to me about the quality of this course."
I read a blog that said if you wanted to take a good course, Damn Fine Words was the one that was worth the investment. When I investigated further, the marketing appealed to me....bright, positive, friendly, but more of a soft sell. A great product speaks for itself, and I appreciated the straightforward approach.
I treated the course like I did my formal education, as an investment in my future. The course exceeded my expectations! I appreciated that I felt like a writer with a mentor instead of a student with a teacher.
I enjoyed the interaction with James and some of my fellow classmates. It really gave me perspective. The feedback was obviously well constructed and thought out. James put a lot of time and effort in the advice and critiques. I could feel that she really does care for each of us, and has an honest desire to help us each succeed.
Damn Fine Words will challenge you, teach you, inspire you, AND provide you with valuable, personal, and insightful feedback. I would recommend this course to everyone, whether they're just beginning their writing careers or already established professionals looking to step up their game.
I can tell a lot of time and effort went in to creating the course, and that James continues to update and refine it. That seasoned professionals use Damn Fine Words to hone their skills spoke volumes to me about the quality of this course.
"I now have a different approach to my writing and a different perspective on my business."
I am a prolific writer. I write a business etiquette column for the local newspaper and have for 20 years. I am the etiquette blogger for an international contact relationship company. I have a website. I publish a weekly blog—at least that’s the goal. I write articles that appear online. I send out a monthly newsletter to several thousand subscribers. I am even a published author with a reputable publishing house.
I was getting bored with my own work. Something needed to change. I needed a dose of inspiration and some expert help. So I signed up for DFW.
In the beginning, I was skeptical. As we rolled along, lesson after lesson, I became more excited and more committed. I found James’s advice not only helpful, but reaffirming.
I now have a different approach to my writing and a different perspective on my business. This is fun. Everything I tackle from this point on will be better than before.