People come to me when they’re all, “HALP! This piece of copy sounds like a robot wrote it! I’m so embarrassed I could cry and then quench my sadness with two – maybe three – pints of Schöfferhofer.” When they feel like their words need a little wordsmithing. A little humor. Some freakin’ personality already.

And I’m there, casually leaning against a wall, wearing my sunglasses in a rainstorm, going, “Yeah. You totally deserve copy that sounds like you and that’s fun and that you actually WANT to share. Let’s jazz that shit up.” I bless them with copy confidence.

(Was that blasphemous?? 🤔)

Seriously. This is the kinda stuff my clients actually say:



“All I can say is: THIS. IS. AMAZING. Your thoughts and ideas and sample language were SOOO helpful, and feel like there's so much more energy and personality springing forth from my work.”

“I love how you took my jumbled thoughts and turned it into cohesive, linear, and engaging copy that my targeted audience can resonant with! I love how you intertwined my words into this story. The way you did this showed me that I actually can write, but I just have to learn how to put my thoughts in order and do some editing.”

“I’m happy to say that now, because of Tracie’s suggestions, my emails sound much more like me…I’m so much more confident now, and can't wait to share my new self-assessment with the world!”

“I feel so much better about my sales pages. I will be promoting them with pride now!”

“A huge THANK YOU!!!!! You care about the quality of your feedback, and it shows. There’s not a lot of back and forth to get to the bottom of things. Now, I have the confidence to share my sales page. And I remembered that it’s okay to ask for help.”

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Okay, that’s cool and all, right? But, if you’re wondering if I’ve got any actual credentials instead of people you don’t know spouting flattering things about me (and me taking creative liberty with some meet cute story there…), you bet your sweet ass I do:

  • Bachelor’s in English Literature (with honors and distinction – and a very long thesis on the double works of the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in case you’re wondering 🤓)

  • Former newspaper and book editor

  • Shit tons of content creation (and proposal development – yikes) thanks to (long) stints in marketing and PR

  • Featured in and ghostwritten on places you *might* have heard of, like Time, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Positively Positive, Bad Yogi, Food Matters, and Classy Career Girl

  • Copy coach in a badass business coach’s group program

  • Founder of Okay, Okapi (that counts for something, yes?)

Between you and me? That shit doesn’t mean nearly as much as this: 

After nearly 30 years of academic and corporate writing (jeez, that makes me sound old AF), I felt like all the creativity had been sucked out of me. Every last drop. And I was pretty sure I’d never be able to write something creative or fun – aside from a supremely witty text – again.

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I think I was probably born with a pen in my hand (if only I could hold the damn thing…) and thousands of ideas that had been incubating – I guess literally – for nine months. 

As soon as I could form sentences that didn’t sound like absolute gibberish and mastered the use of the opposable thumb, I was writing.

I wrote poems. Terrible poems about Christmas and my dad’s tie that were published in my school’s newsletter.

Short stories about ants and anteaters being friends. Before my time on that one. You’ve heard of a little show called Unlikely Animal Friends, right?!?

A stinky skunk named – get this – Stinky (classic eight-year-old originality right there) who was trying to woo his (also stinky) girlfriend by finding the *perfect* flower. And horrible nonsense from my high school creative writing class that I’ve since blocked from my memory.

I wanted to be a writer. Or a psychologist. (Also later something to do with art history. See: thesis.) But that doesn’t really fit into this story so ignore that random factoid and let’s stay focused.

So, naturally, I went to college and declared, emphatically, that I was an English major. Well, after I not-so-emphatically declared I was an education major and quickly backpedaled after teaching summer school…🙅🏻‍♀️

I must have convinced myself that a dead-end English major was better than a dead-end creative writing major. (What? I can say that. I WAS an English major.)

I spent 3.5 years studying Shakespeare. The Odyssey. American Pie (the song, not the movie). Australian lit. Contemporary lit. Poetry. Greek mythology. Art history. 

None of which was creative in the least bit. Yeah, okay, I had to be creative in coming up with something original(ish) to say about this stuff in the countless papers I wrote. 

But it was academic. Polished, structured, well-researched and cited, you know, per the proper guidelines.

Somewhere, I don’t know, probably around the first month of my freshman year, I stopped writing anything for myself. (It probably really happened after that creative writing class, honestly.)

No more random poems about dumb shit clueless teenagers convince themselves is life or death. No more clever couplets, happy haikus, light limericks. No more attempts at stories featuring animal heroes (and heroines) of any kind.  

And that’s the way I thought it had to be. If I wanted to write, I had to *write* for a living. And, for me, that didn’t mean I was the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King or Sylvia Plath. Hell, I wasn’t even gonna be a journalist.

 

Writing meant being serious. 

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Which landed me in the corporate world. (Anyone else land there?!)

I literally stumbled into the world of marketing. (Not Coca-Cola marketing with cute animated polar bears and sexy slogans but professional services marketing for engineering firms, mostly founded by dead white guys and with their very own style guides that didn’t include much wiggle room for anything new. Or much actual writing. Even though my role was described as “writing.” 

Very, very, very loose definition.

I felt like, every time I tried to write something a little different, I was shot down faster than a palmetto bug daring to infiltrate my sealed-up house. Listen, we literally had folders upon folders upon folders…upon folders of boilerplate text that we cobbled together to create long-ass documents that listed our firm’s qualifications. Ad nauseam. 

Sometimes, I got to write NEW boilerplate text. Wahooooo.

But – most of the time – I wasn’t doing much that required the right side of my brain. (That would be the alleged creative side, the side responsible for intuitive and free thinking. In fact, one time, a boss actually told me I was too left-brained. Which was a huge slap in the face for someone who had been writing FOREVER. Like, as long as I can remember. Ouch.)

There was a veritable parade of jobs that were same shit, different day. I got even better at writing in a professional, stick-up-my-ass style. 

And I was bored as hell. 

(I feel like I should also tell you I was a bit of a troublemaker. You might not think so when you meet me, but I’m a rebel. 😈 I wasn’t afraid to voice my real, honest opinion and yell back when yelled at. I may have made a coworker cry – not bragging, I was just acting out – and I routinely butted heads with most of my bosses like it was Office Fight Night. I clearly wasn’t where I belonged.)

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One time, I improv-ed my two weeks’ notice during a marathon chastisement during which I may have (lightly) pounded my (open) hand on my boss’ desk. Another time, after being tattled on (not joking – a grown-ass man literally told on me) for talking to a coworker (among other indignities), I handed in my notice the first day back from Christmas break.

After too many years of stifling my independence and my autonomy and my creativity, I’d finally had enough. I realized I needed to be doing my own thing.

(And, yes the rumors are true, the first “on my own thing” I attempted was a health coaching business. Let’s just leave it at that, k?)

Except…that brought its own highly unforeseen problems. 

I was constantly thinking stuff like:


  • Is my style of writing connecting?

  • Does this even make sense?

  • Who the hell am I write about this?

  • This is the most disorganized, stream of conscious abomination ever.

  • No one’s going to read this. Or give two shits.

  • Does anything think this is funny? 

  • Does anyone think I’m clever?

  • Did anyone else get that joke?

  • When should I stop swearing? Or inserting indie rock lyrics? Or mentioning random pop culture trivia?

  • Is it appropriate to drink smoothies for two meals a day now that I’m a busy business owner?

(Okay, that last one is probably just me. Nonetheless, it was – who am I kidding…is – something I contemplate on the regular.)

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And all those thoughts kept me second guessing what I was doing. Every word I wrote, every joke I cracked, every single blog post I published, every guest post I landed, I never thought it was good enough.

This coming from someone who’d written for YEARS. Someone who had the academic and professional writing chops. Someone who was published (don’t go looking…you won’t find it, and it’s not impressive…I’ll let you know when it is impressive) for fuck’s sake.

Listen, WE ALL HAVE DOUBTS. Anyone who says they don’t or they aren’t afraid is pouring you a frosty cold mug of absolute BS. Drink up. 🍻

But, at some point…

Let me just stop myself right there. This isn’t a neat little story. There wasn’t one epiphany. One moment. Rather a collection of moments: people wanting to work with me, people telling me I should be a writer (well, huh…), people laughing at what I wrote, people telling me what a good writer I was.

It was also a friend and a coach calling me on my bullshit a year into trying to build my health coaching business. They literally asked me, “Tracie, why don’t you have a writing business?”

I didn’t have a good answer:

Writing was hard? I don’t write like other people? I’m chickenshit?

And that was when Okay, Okapi was born.  

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Today, I spend my days behind the scenes, unapologetically owning the shit outta who I am and how I write and teaching people to do the same. I help my clients write better than okay copy. Blog posts they can confidently publish. Sales pages they can launch with pride. Email sequences that sound like them. 

I help people write copy that’s not boring. Stuff that makes people crack up, stuff that people want to share with their friends, stuff that’s 100% them and 0% embarrassing. 

When I’m not sprinkling personality and energy and funny things into people’s copy, I’m usually at the gym, rogging (a special term for running/jogging that I totally just coined), reading all the books, or slamming smoothies while binge watching all my fave 90s music videos on YouTube. Also: Stalking other people’s dogs and trying to cop a pet.

Ready to write like this? 👆🏻

Learn more about how we can work together!

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