One Writer’s Fear-Busting Journey to $1,500 a Month in Blogging Gigs

Editor

freelance writer walks a tightrope to better payAs a new mom trying to juggle a toddler and run a household, I blamed the busyness of life for my lackluster freelance writing success.

But that was a total cop-out.

Fear was the true culprit. It stifled my creativity, filling my head with “what ifs” the way only a failure mentality can.

I’d like to say I faced those fears strategically, or that I faced them head-on. But in my case, it was more of a happy accident. But that accident netted me $1,500 a month in new blogging gigs. Here’s how:

Underqualified

Years ago, I worked in a local hospital — first as a patient registrar and then as an insurance claims collector.

But when I began writing, healthcare never even popped up on my radar as a topic to write about. I figured my three measly years left me severely underqualified to write about the topic.

I had been a member of a national healthcare association for a number of years, too, but had never pitched their magazine. The fear was always there, telling me I was too inexperienced to offer their readers anything worthwhile.

One day, glancing through the most recent issue, I realized I was familiar with 70 percent of the information being presented. A light bulb flickered. Perhaps I knew more than I thought.

Full of Doubt

Bolstered by newfound enthusiasm and with a topic in mind for the aforementioned magazine, I sought out a source to pre-interview.

And then I froze.

I had never pre-interviewed anyone. Sure, I had done interviews before, but that was when I already had an assignment. Fear and doubt flooded back in.

What if I can’t pitch the story successfully? What if the source gets mad when the story doesn’t get picked up? I was envisioning my demise before I even picked up the phone.

History told me that this rabbit-hole was deep and never-ending. So, going against every fiber in my being, I quickly scanned LinkedIn for a source and tapped out a message.

Imposter

When the source agreed to the interview, panic struck. Hard.

I’d be forced to chat with him — on the phone, in real time, without the safety net of a carefully orchestrated email. He would know the lingo, the most critical issues facing his industry currently.

What would he think of me when I was “umm”-ing my way through the conversation?

He would obviously see I was an imposter.  And rejection would inevitably follow.

Validation and Victory

When I called the source the next day, I didn’t flounder through the conversation at all. At the end of the interview, he was so impressed with my knowledge, he asked if I was looking for freelance blogging gigs.

The validation felt euphoric. It was like flipping fear the bird.

He’s now an ongoing weekly client and there’s talk of more work, too. Plus, he happily sang my praises to a colleague of his.

Guess what? His client is now my client as well. And I’ve boosted my monthly income by $1,500. Take that, fear!

In fact, I’ve been so busy with blogging work that I haven’t even pitched the story to the association magazine yet. But I will. Because as it turns out, I’m not an underqualified, self-doubting imposter after all.

How have you pushed past your freelance fears? Tell us in the comments.

Steph Weber is a former marketing specialist turned freelance healthcare, business, and food writer and blogger.  She does her darnedest to teach businesses how to get along with writers on the Blogosphere.

49 Comments

  1. Steph Weber

    Hi Jeremy,

    You’re right! You just need that one in, and then you can learn much more about the niche as time goes on 🙂

  2. Jeremy

    If you know more about a topic than most of a target audience out there, than you can write about a niche. Mastery follows in the months and years after that!

  3. Steph Weber

    Cherese,

    Yes, yes, yes! I think we are all heavily influenced by others’ expectations of us, so we go against our gut, often taking the “safer” route.

    As you and I both know though, that’s not always the most rewarding route 🙂

  4. Steph Weber

    Hi Stuart,

    LinkedIn does make things so much easier. Congrats on the success you’ve found with trade pubs. They really are one of the hidden gems in the writing world!

  5. Stuart Cantor, Ph.D.

    I have a Ph.D. and have been writing and editing for 18 years. I started out hearing lots of NOs waaay back in 1996, then an editor said yes, then from there I marketed myself in US/Europe to the trade magazines over time. Now, I have 54 publications, and dozens of chemistry editing assignments that pay $40/hr. Funny thing is, I still get rejected but I just keep on connecting and moving on. Haven’t gotten into blogging, maybe once Im retired. I know I can’t stop self-promotion because connections are needed to get either a f/t or p/t job, but we are fortunate to have Linkedin these days.

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