1 Powerful Way Writers (& Others) Can Improve Their Self-Worth & Make More Money

by Anne Wayman

self confident writersYou can almost divide freelance writers into only two categories: Those who know their worth and those who don’t.

Those who have a healthy love and respect for themselves and their writing find ways to earn a decent or better living writing. Those who are lacking in self-worth or self-esteem are always struggling and find themselves resenting the low-pay writing gigs they take.

Of course, it’s awfully easy to tell folks to buck up, and have confidence in both themselves and their writing. But if you’re full of self-doubt about your writing, just being told to change is unlikely to help, and may actually make it worse.

Writers are on display

The first thing to know is that a lack of confidence about your writing isn’t really surprising. When you post a blog, send a query, submit an article or prepare a proposal you’re putting yourself and your work on display in a way most others never do. Time after time you’re giving publishers or editors or agents or readers the chance to say ‘no’ to both you and your writing. Only visual artists who often stand beside their works in gallery openings and such experience roughly the same thing.


Sure, you can use a pseudonym, and sure you’re unlikely to literally stand in front of your audience and read (except at readings, of course), but the chance of rejection is high.

Self-doubt isn’t helpful

All these factors combine to make self-doubt easy, except, self-doubt doesn’t really work for us.

It’s one thing to do a realistic assessment and, for example, realize you’re not qualified to write about quantum physics, and quite another to deny your experience, say,  as a parent.

It’s perfectly reasonable to do a lot of rewriting, particularly in the beginning of your writing career. If, on the other hand, lack of self-confidence keeps you editing and never submitting you’re letting self-doubt stop you completely.

While it might make sense to accept low pay for an article or two just to get some experience (although I’m never sure even one or two at a subsistence level is really a good idea) if you find yourself never daring to submit to markets that pay more, you’re getting in your own way.

Try this

Here’s a challenge I was given by a spiritual teacher of mine – but you don’t have to be a believer to have it work for you.

Every day write down three ways the world is a better place

because you’re in it.

Here’s the sort of thing I mean:

Today I got my tires properly inflated (saving gas which is good for the environment); agreed to meet with a friend for coffee (cultivating friendship is good for the world – think about it) and wrote an article that helps people.

Nothing fancy and nothing I don’t do pretty often. But the simple act of writing it down makes me feel better about me – which not so by the way is also good for the planet because it’s one less person contributing problems and unhappiness.

Although it would be great if you did this every day for a week or a month, don’t put that pressure on yourself. Just do it once, right now and notice how you feel.  That experience will probably make you want to do it more often.

It can also be effective if you do this just before you write and send a query, or work on a proposal, or start an article.


After you’ve played with this a bit, take an hour and write down 100 ways the world is a better place because you’re in it. Yes, taking out the trash and not kicking the dog count. None of these ways has to be impressive or hard. Oh sure, if you happened to donate money to a worthy cause or help an old lady across the street (after being sure that’s where she wanted to go) by all means include them. But it’s the little things we do almost unconsciously that add up to 100 or 50 or whatever large number you choose.

How this makes more money

As I let go of my poor self-worth, my income steadily increased. I’ve heard the same thing from I don’t know how many others, writers, artists and even people with regular jobs included. There seems to be some direct connection between feeling good about ourselves in a genuine way and income.

On the other hand, I also can’t count the number of writers I’ve heard complain that they’re broke and immediately tell me all the reasons they can’t approach better paying markets or ask clients for a higher hourly rate. Lack of self-worth fairly drips from them!

It doesn’t matter, really, why your self-esteem is low, if it is. You’re the only one who can change it. Sure working with a professional can help; so can a simple technique like this one. What are you willing to do?

Writers Worth Day

Several years ago, writer and blogger, Lori Widmer established Writer’s Worth Day, which has now become, I think a full two weeks in May. Her goal is simple – to encourage writers to take their writing seriously and see and claim the value they bring with their sill with words.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until May to start celebrating your worth as a writer. If you want an extra push, consider Lori’s ebook, The Worthy Writer’s Guide to Building a Better Business for less than $10.00. You can’t lose.

Join the conversation. Have you noticed a link between self-worth and income? How have you improved your view of yourself and your writing? Let’s talk it over in comments.

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Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Yuchao.L


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashe January 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for this article, Anne. Sometimes people are afraid to attach income to something spiritual but I think you have made it clear that it is about value of all things. Valuing yourself is only going to help you to help others in the end. This is a great message.

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annew January 20, 2014 at 11:02 am

Ashe, I see spirit, however you define that, as all and that all includes money… seems to me it has to.

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Lori January 21, 2013 at 7:20 am

I need you for this year’s Writers Worth posts, Anne. This is golden.

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Amandah January 18, 2013 at 8:56 am

I will!

I like to meditate as well. I caught American rapper 50 Cent on “Katie” yesterday, and he said that Deepak Chopra taught him how to meditate. He shared his technique which is to focus on “who am I?” For example, he’ll sit quietly and say his mother’s name, grandmother’s name, then his grandfather’s, and so on. He said it reminds him of what is important and who he is.
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Cathy Miller January 18, 2013 at 5:03 am

I love how simple this is, Anne. And what great validation it provides for our profession that the simple act of writing also elevates our self-worth.

Luana- unwrap your gift of writing to restore your faith. We are all thinking of you and holding healing thoughts just for you.
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annew January 18, 2013 at 7:03 am

I loved it when I learned it… and it felt a bit risky the first couple of time.

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Amandahblackwell January 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Thanks for sharing the technique about writing down three ways the world’s a better place because you’re in it. I’ll add it to my daily journaling.

I think your self-worth is tied to your income. If you don’t believe you deserve to get paid what you’re worth, you won’t get paid what you’re worth. All of us had or have had the ‘monkey mind’ take over and beat us down. The key is to forgive yourself and turn a negative into a positive. I know this may seem easier said than done but it is possible.

@Luana… I send you light and healing. Know that you’re worthy and deserve the best in life.
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annew January 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

Amandah, let us know how well writing that down works for you… I also find meditation helps.

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Theresa Schultz January 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I just finished reading an article about developing a positive mantra about writing success that I can write down and recite multiple times a day. I actually felt better after writing it down 10 times, and I plan to say it out loud at least once a day. Then I sat down and read this entry. Hmm! Is the universe trying to tell me something?

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annew January 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hmmm, do you suppose? Yeah, writing positive mantras can also work.

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Luana Spinetti @ Writer's Mind January 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Since I’m still dealing with my spiritual depression, I haven’t really worked as a good freelance writer in several weeks. My self-esteem is still quite low, although I know God sends trials to make us stronger. But I’m still down and it might take a while. I’ve been doing sponsored posts and ads, and that’s all. Haven’t been submitting a pitch of a proposal in a long time and I’m yet to complete some overdue assigments that I’m still doing just because my clients really care about me as a person and not just as a worker. But it’s obvious it can’t go on forever.
I hope I find my spiritual strength again soon, because I need it. To live. And because there’s no real issue with me… just me thinking I’m a walking issue. The worst.
Take care, darling.
~ Luana
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annew January 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Luana, depression is tough and sometimes needs medical attention. No clue if that would help. Know I’m holding you in light and love.

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Luana Spinetti @ Writer's Mind January 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Because the cause of the depression has to do with faith, my medic is my spiritual director. He’s a wonderful guide and he’s helping me see through the fog I carry within my chest. But I have to admit it’s a lot better now than it was back in August. I have ups and downs but I’m (re)learning to live the present and to stop being afraid of God. And of myself, it seems.

Thanks, darling. *hug*
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