Lori Widmer, creator of the Word on the Page blog, has an article today called Riding the Writing Excuse Train. It’s a good article that points out the excuses we writers sometimes use to avoid writing.
What really caught my attention, however, was the first comment. Written by health writer Eileen Coale, it opens with:
One of the biggest reasons I see for a freelance business to flounder (and almost exclusively in women) is a lack of confidence…
She goes on. In fact, her comment with minor editing makes for a great read just as the article does.
My heart responded to that comment with great big YES! I remembered when poor self-worth got in my way of my writing business. In fact, back then I really didn’t understand that writing was a business or should be, in addition to being a creative act.
Many paths to increasing self-worth
If you google phrases like increase self-worth, and improve self-confidence, you’ll find close to 20 million pages representing who knows how many methods aimed at helping us feel better about ourselves.
Like many I’ve tried a bunch of them and found they all helped at least a little bit.
Affirmations work, prayer and meditation works, vision boards help, it all can help us get to the place where we accept the discomfort that comes from change.
Lori’s article refers to Peter Bowerman’s post, What’s Your “Discomfort Threshold” for Growing Your Writing Business? He talks about how becoming successful isn’t comfortable. Barbara Stanny who helps folks recover from underearning says much the same thing.
Those suggestions are right on target as far as I’m concerned.
I’ve discovered something else.
Freelance Writers Can Choose Self-Confidence
Several years ago I realized that I can choose self-confidence. I can actually make a choice about how I view myself.
It happened for me like this. I had gotten trapped in a bunch of my own negative self-talk. You know the kind of thing – muttering or even saying silently things like no one will hire me; I’m always broke; I don’t have any close friends. Yada yada yada.
Now I knew then just as I do now that negative self-talk does nothing but bring me down. Yet time after time I’d catch myself thinking something negative about me. I couldn’t seem to break what had become a nasty habit.
I don’t remember if someone made this suggestion or if I read it. The idea was to put a thick rubber band around my wrist and ping myself every time I caught the negative self-talk. It worked like a charm – in less than three days as I recall. Yes, it hurt! That’s what made it work. I didn’t mind a moment of sharp pain as long as it helped me break the habit.
Recently my coach caught me in some negative talk about myself, particularly around numbers. He challenged me to stop and since the rubber band trick was hard to work over the phone, I asked for his help. He came up with a code phrase that he would use when I started nay-saying myself. So far, he hasn’t had to use them – just knowing he might has been enough.
The point is I discovered I can choose to have better self-worth.
I’d had some vague notion that it might have come from ‘my family of origin,’ of from early childhood experiences or was in my genes, or something. And indeed any and all those things may play into my view of myself.
But I’m an adult now and that means I have a great deal of choice about how I think and behave.
The good news is if I have choice, so do you. You can decide to find ways to improve your view of yourself. In fact all freelance writers can choose self-confidence.
It might be the rubber band trick, or gritting your teeth and just going ahead and doing what’s needed even though it scares you half to death. It might be doing affirmations or participating in the Writers Worth Week that Lori holds every year (subscribe to her blog to get notice), or any number of other methods.
There’s still time to get early notice for my ebook on freelance writing business problems – signup here.
Write well and often,