Can You Help This Freelance Writer Find the Courage to Start?

Carol Tice

Can You Help This Freelance Writer Find the Courage to Start? Makealivingwriting.comAre you having trouble getting started in freelance writing? Maybe you feel unsure of whether your work is ready for publication.

Or maybe you’ve gotten started in freelancing and remember how hard it was to get those first few clips. If so, you might be able to help a reader out today.

I recently got an email from a brand-new writer. “Bunny” writes:

I have been reading you for quite some time now. I am still in those early stages of writing wherein I have nothing published.

I am more than willing to work on that. Your article to invent your audience was of some help, but again I fall short of good content (great is something far far away, I feel) whenever I sit to write.

In the early stages of writing, could you please suggest something just so that I can feel confident enough to publish my first blog post?

Warm Regards–

I was intrigued by this question, as I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a note from someone who has not published anything, even on their own blog.

My response:

Given the insecurities I’m sensing in what you’ve written above, Bunny, writing for your own blog is a good place to start.

When you first start a blog, very few people are reading it, so it’s a great opportunity to publish a little. Imagine that no one is looking — you won’t be far wrong.

Play around with your posts and experiment! Be creative. The only way to develop your voice and discover what you really enjoy writing about is to write a lot.

A couple ideas for overcoming your fear of publishing that first blog post:

  • Find a writer’s group or let friends preview your post. You need some feedback, girl! This will help get you ready for the comments and feedback you’ll get on the blog, and later from editors as you start looking for freelance writing gigs. You’ll also probably get some support and encouragement as well once you find a peer group.
  • Look in the mirror and say, “Damn, I’m good.” Seriously. My dad taught me to do that every morning, and if yours didn’t, you should start now. I honestly believe you can’t survive as a freelance writer unless you feel, at base, that you are talented and have something to offer the world through your writing. So take a moment each day to ponder the fact that you are the one and only, unique, special you in the whole world. No one else can write like you!

In the end, at some point, you have to start. You have to say an article is good enough, and let it out into the world. If you can’t do that, you likely can’t be a freelance writer.

You have to get over your fear that your content isn’t “good” and give it a whirl. See this post I did a while back for WM Freelance Writer’s Connection about overcoming writing fears for some funny stories about my own irrational fears when I started out, and this one for 10 strategies for fear-busting. We all had these fears when we started…but just did it anyway.

Get started, and the more you write, the more quickly you’ll improve. Know that most writers look back and cringe when they read work from years back. All you can do is keep striving to get better.

Can you help Bunny find the courage to press “send” and publish that first blog post? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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  1. Doreen

    Hey there!

    You know, I think people need to remember that everything starts small. If you look at an acorn and think, “There’s no way in hell this thing is ever gonna grow into an oak tree,” and you toss it in the trash – well, you’re right, it won’t. But if you plant it and water it and let the the sun shine on it, guess what? Before you know it, you’ll have a little shoot, and that shoot will grow into a huge tree.

    Thoughts are things. Make sure you uproot all those nasty little weeds that try to choke your tree, and give the tree-thought a chance. Or if you really believe those weed-thoughts, just put them on the shelf temporarily. Tell them they’ll have their turn, but you want to water your oak tree first and see what happens.

    This is not a guessing game. This is a science. If you do a, b, c, d, and e, sooner or later, f will follow, and then all the rest. Translation: If you make the right efforts, you will get results. Just don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you start the race.

    My sister told me another great analogy about the fly wheel. At first, you have to push and push and push, but eventually it starts to roll by itself, and then it gets so that you can’t stop it. I prefer a little more control, but that’s not a bad place to be.

    In other words, even if you lack confidence in where you are right now, have confidence in the process – and do it. Do each little goal you choose from start to finish, and I promise you that your skills, confidence, and opportunities will grow. And allow it a little time. Pretty soon, people will be picnicking under your oak tree. : )

    • Carol Tice

      Oh, love that flywheel analogy, Doreen — I think that is a lot like pursuing freelance writing. At first it just seems like so much WORK finding clients…and then it gets easier and easier, until word of mouth, referrals, and clients finding your website are all you need to stay fully booked.

  2. Sean Vandenberg

    A good friend of mine’s partner recently demanded this of me:

    “Dude, just freakin’ look in the mirror.”

    And you know what, Carol?

    Damn, I’m good!

    Thanks for the reminder me ;).

    • Carol Tice

      Right on, Sean — and remember, you are covered under my universal comment typo forgiveness policy. 😉

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