How Writers Can Conquer Uncertainty

Carol Tice

Jonathan Fields

Have you ever taken a writing gig you didn’t really feel qualified for? I was rapping with Renegade Writer Linda Formichelli about this recently.

Lately, we’ve both found we keep getting asked to do stuff that’s pretty far out of our wheelhouse. I just recently rewrote 400 pages of government transit-agency documents, when I’d never covered transportation or done a government contract before, for instance. But we keep taking it on and loving the adventure, and the challenge of stretching our skills.

It takes that kind of daring to be a successful freelance writer. You have to be willing to step into the void sometimes and just try to write something. Maybe it’s your first e-book. Or your first big corporate client, or national-magazine byline.

Jonathan Fields, author of the new book Uncertainty, has been studying how successful businesspeople overcome the fears that dog most of us and keep us from taking that leap of faith that could move our business forward.

In case any writers are missing my drift…whether you know it or not… you have a business.

How can you get over the fear hump and get out there? Fields has some ideas for you.

As regular readers know, I learned a lot when I got lost trying to go hear him speak at SOBCon. Here’s what I learned once I finally found my conference and got to hear him talk:

Stop thinking you’re the only scared one. Interviews with risk-takers have debunked the myth of the fearless leader. Successful innovators are scared just like you. They just push through it and do the hard thing anyway.

They’ve trained themselves to feel their anxiety and still move forward. This can be learned.

Be willing to bet on yourself. When Fields had a yoga studio, he ended up getting the studio mentioned in a national magazine. The editor said, “It’s too bad you don’t have a video — then people all over the country could benefit from your yoga techniques, and you could earn from them, too.” Fields had no video, but responded, “It’s funny you say that — we’re just in post-production on our first video.”

Then he hung up the phone, and got going to make a video. Obviously, it was a risk to claim he had a video. He’d never made one before. Would he be able to do it? Fields trusted he could. The video went on to become a hit and took his yoga business to a whole new level.

Change your tape. Fields says the biggest problem most creative people face is that deep down inside a tape is playing. Often, it’s saying, “I suck, and this thing I’m working on sucks, too.”

Kill the negative self-talk. Fields says many of us are just playing that tape so that we won’t have to step out of our comfort zone and feel the nervousness of confronting something difficult.

Unleash your creativity by reducing anxiety. When you’re anxious, your body is in fight-or-fight mode — and the creative side of your brain is in lock-down. Whether it’s learning to meditate, going for morning walks, or a calming cup of tea, find what helps restore your calm. You’ll accomplish more and grow your income.

How are you overcoming uncertainty as a writer? Leave a comment and let us know.


  1. CJJohnsonWrites

    I’ve had some luck connecting with local Publicists and distributing post cards that offer a free 30 minute consultation and 10% off my per project fee 🙂

  2. Darren

    So true! Fear limits all of us, whether we like to admit it or not. Overcoming that fear is necessary so we cat take the actions required to make us successful.

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