Overcoming Self-Doubt As A Freelance Writer

by Daley J. Francis

Rejection becomes a freelance writer’s best friend after a while, such is the number of knock-backs and rejections a writer will face in their career. It becomes second nature and the quicker you can learn to deal with it the better. Unfortunately, rejection is only one of the many distractions a writer will face in their career. A common enemy to a freelancer is self-doubt, and it has to be conquered if you are going to have a long-term career as a solo artist.

Overcoming Self-Doubt As A Freelance Writer

You are the Master of Your Own Destiny

Keep repeating the above line to yourself, because as Russell Crowe in Gladiator as it may sound, it is true. You have to look at your position as a huge opportunity and a privilege. There are a lot of people out there worried about losing their jobs because of the recession, or working in a job they hate purely because it pays the bills. Now consider your career: You’re doing what you want to do, you are your own boss who picks their own work hours and you are in complete control of whether you succeed or whether you fail. Not so bad after all, is it?

If you are good at what you do, you will succeed as long as you give it maximum effort. We all have our downturns and our moments of self-doubt, but if you are safe in the knowledge that you are great at what you do, you will pull through. Especially when other people realize you are as good as you say you are and start approaching you for work. A freelance life is unpredictable and tough. But it’s a great challenge to have, and a great position to be in. Fight through it.

Gain as Much Experience and Knowledge as You Can

The old saying “Knowledge is power” is definitely true. The more you learn, the more you can earn. That’s a simple fact. There aren’t many great writers out there who are experts on a subject that are not in demand (unless they want to be or they are too busy!). It is too easy to just “get by” and rest on your laurels. The world evolves and you can guarantee your niche or subject will too, so keep up on the trends and do whatever you can to know it inside out. You can do this by reading up on the subject or heading to conferences, seminars and workshops on the subject. You’re never too good or too old to keep learning.

Mix it up and Be Flexible

Writers can quite easily become stale, especially when they are writing about the same thing all the time. This is when it can really pay to become more flexible in what you write about, or the kind of writing you do. If you’re a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, why not try some PR work? Or maybe try and put together some eBooks on the subject of being a freelancer? The more you mix it up, the more your passion will come across in your writing. Nobody can write about one subject for the rest of their working life without getting bored and wanting to branch out, and it’s human nature to try new things. You could find yourself with a new challenge, a new expertise and it could take your career in new and interesting directions.

Don’t Become Desperate

We all have bills to pay, and that end-of-the-month feeling looms large in the mind of the every freelance writer. One thing it should never do, however, is be reflected in the way you work and the way you do business. If you’re good at what you do and are putting yourself out there using social media tools to promote the great writing you’re creating, then you are going to get somewhere. Don’t let self-doubt lead you onto the path of $1 per 500 word articles that will burn you out quicker than a cold wind on a match, and leave you with about 2 spare hours a month because you’re having to churn out content just to pay the rent. This is not what any writer deserves, and hopefully one day the people who are getting away with offering these ridiculous rates will vanish and every good writer will be able to get paid what they deserve. In the meantime, be confident, hold your nerve and keep pitching. Believe in yourself and others will start to do the same.

Daley is a freelance writer who wants to help his fellow writers to get out there fully confident and armed with great writing. He can be found struggling with his own career at www.daleyjfrancis.com

Image: Alexander Drachmann

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This post was written by a guest writer. We've had some great guest posts on writing on Get Paid to Write Online. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


  1. In my experience, freelance writing made a lot of sense about a decade ago. Now that people can pay $3 for a 400-word article, I think any freelance writer is better off to create his or her own content.

    • Alan, I agree we should create our own content; however, the demand for high-quality articles and blog posts remains. I know of freelance writers who are commanding from $50 to $150 for 500-700 word articles — and even more depending on the research involved or the perceived value to the client. 🙂