The Freelance Writer’s Definitive Compilation of Fear-Busting Tips

Carol Tice

Freelance writers can learn about marketing.

They can take classes on how to improve their writing.

But without one ingredient, the whole thing is going nowhere.

What is it?


If you don’t think you can do this, then it’s a non-starter.

If you’re scared to put yourself out there, then you won’t.

Or not enough to earn a living at this, anyway.

Freelancing simply requires hustle. You need to feel you have something valuable to offer, that people should pay money for.

When I did a bootcamp recently on breaking into freelance writing recently in Freelance Writers Den, writers told me the most important session of the four wasn’t the one on story ideas, or the one on how to write like a pro.

It was the one on how to build your confidence to actually get out there and get gigs.

I’ve done quite a few posts over the years about overcoming fear and gaining confidence, so I thought I’d turn them into a quick confidence-building course.

Here are more than a dozen posts that offer my best confidence-building tips for freelance writers from this blog (and one I did as a guest post, too):

How are you overcoming your freelance fears? Leave a comment and add your tips.





  1. Jamie

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for a refreshingly helpful compilation.

    I think we start becoming afraid as soon as we stop writing and start thinking. We end up over analyzing our work from a third party perspective – who in our mind is a demonic critic who is just waiting to rip our papers to shreds and shout at us for wasting their time. For the newbies among us we need to spend more time writing, rewriting and submitting and stop wasting time with trying to read the minds of publishers.

    As you point out it is inspiring that in your own experience that writers troubles so often stem from a lack of confidence as opposed to their own ability. I take this as a real boost and that there really is nothing to fear so long as you keep trying your best until our becomes more of a habit than our worrying.


    • Carol Tice

      I almost never find myself in a situation where I think a writer should be told the problem is they’re just not a good writer. It’s all about the confidence, and the willingness to take criticism and keep improving.

  2. Theresa

    I’ve been freelancing for several decades in one form or another. Funny, I specialize in marketing (to a whole different crowd) and ghost writer “frequently.” You’d think I’d have this whole think and market outside-the-box down pat.

    Based on my current audience, they are thrilled. But everyone needs to grow or what’s the point…

    What I personally need to do is stop letting the day-to-day stuff get in the way. Self motivation to explore outside the realm of what I do now and expand my horizons.

    It’s strange, but my mind goes completely blank. I know I know a ton (and if not I know how to research), but weirdly when I think, “Okay pick a target and target,” that’s what stumps me. Suddenly I question everything about myself (other than what I’m currently doing and the clients I’m current doing for).

    Is it fear? Or that I need a good, swift kick in the butt? 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      I don’t know. Maybe you’re just happy with what you’re doing. A lot of writers, when faced with having to actively market their business vs just making do with the money they’re able to bring in now, simply pick the latter. The pain of marketing isn’t worth the gain to you of better paying clients. When you hit the tipping point where you can’t stand where you are now, you start marketing.

  3. Richard Myers

    I really don’t have confidence issues, due to the success I’ve experienced in the past, as a newspaper columnist and a freelancer. Whereas I have a fair amount of things published in the freelance arena, I have received only one rejection slip. That was for a satirical short story about Neil Bush and the Silverado Savings and Loan debacle. It was rejected due to bad timing on my part. The magazine editor said he would’ve used it, had I submitted it a year earlier. Not having written it at that point, it would have been somewhat impossible to submit. My problem is finding inspiration and how to market my future renderings. It would seem that much has changed since I last submitted anything for publication. I will be grateful and appreciative for any advice and criticism that comes my way.

    • Carol Tice

      See the blog tomorrow (Tuesday) for a new post that will help you understand how the freelance writing game works today, Richard.

  4. Megan Harris -

    Great post! I just talked about fear on my blog this week! We must be on the same wavelength.

    You wrote, “Freelancing simply requires hustle. You need to feel you have something valuable to offer, that people should pay money for.” Spot on, Carol! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Fear is something that’s hard to overcome, but it’s not impossible.

  5. J. Delancy

    Tiny steps is actually the name of a self-persuasion technique taught by Dr. BJ.Fogg. Consistently planned and executed small steps become habits, then both skill and confidence become embedded. I’m still getting used to the idea of writing everyday but with tiny steps, I plan to be richer from freelance writing next year than I was last year.

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