Want to start freelance writing but lack confidence? Over the past two weeks, I’ve consulted with five writers who want to begin freelancing, but their fears hold them back.
Here’s the thing. Everyone gets anxious when they move out of their comfort zone.
Ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen?
Then ask yourself: what’s the BEST that could happen?
Freelance writing: what’s the BEST that could happen?
Perhaps you want to:
- Write a book;
- Turn freelance writing into a full-time career; or
- Create a money-making blog.
Take ten minutes and think about how your life would change if you achieved the best-possible outcome.
Write a quick description of your new life. Writing down what your new life will look like is the start of building your confidence in your writing—and in yourself.
Build your confidence by writing (there’s no other way)
My writing students cite many reasons for not writing, most of which boil down to a lack of confidence, which comes from… yes, you guessed it… not writing.
It’s a vicious circle: the more you don’t write, the more your confidence ebbs away.
This begs the question: how do you write when you don’t have the confidence to do it?
Let’s look at some tips to help.
1. Have fun with your writing: give yourself the freedom to write junk
Your writing is not a life or death issue, but somehow you feel that it is. This is because when you write, you access your right brain, your creative side. One of the most interesting effects of switching to right brain mode is that it makes you anxious and even depressed.
So creative types—writers, artists, actors—who use their right brain in their work tend to be less optimistic, and more prone to depression.
Here’s how to eliminate that: develop a “so what?” attitude. And write JUNK.
When you give yourself the freedom to write anything, without judgement, you’re giving yourself creative freedom.
You want your logical left brain to go to sleep so that your creative brain takes over.
Weirdly enough, while you’re “writing junk” you’ll surprise yourself when your writing takes a creative leap forward.
When this happens (it will) remember to keep telling yourself: no pressure. I’m having fun writing junk.
2. Schedule your writing, and train yourself to make writing a habit
As a writer, you write. So your first goal as a writer is to make the act of writing a habit. Nothing more, nothing less.
Here’s how do you do it: slot writing into your calendar. It’s easiest to write first, before your day begins. So set your alarm half an hour earlier, and in that half hour daily, WRITE.
Remember: write junk.
Tell yourself your only duty is to place your rear end in a chair and write for half an hour. You can write 30 minutes of junk, can’t you? Of course you can.
It will take you around three weeks to train yourself to write every day for half an hour.
Once you avoid judgement, allow yourself to write junk, and train yourself to write on a schedule, you’re well on the way to establishing a freelance writing career.
Your writing will give you confidence.
3. Get freelance writing clients and boost your confidence more
Proviso: writing comes first.
You’d be amazed at the number of writers who get gigs and wimp out. They ghost their clients. This is a bad thing. Don’t do that.
Build your writing habit first.
Once you’ve created a writing habit, so that you write every day, even if it’s complete junk (according to judgey you) you have confidence. You won’t wimp out on your clients.
It’s time to get known by introducing yourself to potential clients. As I suggested in Freelance Writer: 3 Steps From Aspiring Writer To Pro, create your calling card:
Introduce yourself: create your calling card
Getting known starts with an introduction to you and the writing services you provide as a freelance writer.
Go you! You’ve got confidence and you’re all set to build a wonderful freelance writing career. Have fun with it. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.