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8 Ways To Overcome Your Fears Around Freelance Writing

stop negative self-talkWhen I think about the fear I had around freelance writing, it seems only fair to tell you how I overcame them. Except I’m not exactly sure!

I mean I don’t have a specific program or series of steps you can follow that I know will ease your fears. Which isn’t to say I don’t know a few ways to let go of the fear and get writing. Here are eight ways to overcome a fear around writing:

  1. You are not alone in your fear of marketing your writing. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time you already know you’re not the only writer who has experienced sometimes paralyzing fear. Need more confirmation? I googled writers and fear today there are over 50 million entries. Feel better?
  2. As yourself What’s the absolute worst that can happen? I thought the worst that could happen was that someone would take out an ad in the New York Times – a big one – saying I had tried to write. Didn’t happen.
  3. Start noticing your negative self-talk. Stop it! Negative self-talk will bring anyone down and there’s no good reason for it. As a Man Thinketh is a classic book that’s worth reading over and over again.  You can get it free as an ebook.
  4. Get a writing buddy or two. Freelance writers tend to live and work in isolation. It’s the nature of the work. Having a writing buddy, a writing  Master Mind group and/or another writer or two we can be accountable to can makes a huge positive difference.
  5. Make a list of all the steps you need to make to submit a query or other project. Breaking a big or even moderate-sized writing project into small steps tends to make it look easier. Each step, after all, is only a little one and little steps are easier to take.
  6. Bookend each step. If the list hasn’t freed you from fear, or even if it has, bookend each step, creating accountability as you go.

  7. Carol Tice said in our recent webinar – get some friends to come laugh at you as you read or talk about what you want. She swears you’ll discover you’ll survive.
  8. Snap your wrist with a big rubber band. I got into a batch of negative self-talk. I put a big rubber band around my wrist and every time I caught myself putting me down, I snapped myself. It hurt. And it only took about a day-and-a-half to change the habit.

Obviously, there are lots more, including things like persistence and just pushing through.

What’s your biggest fear? How do you overcome it?


{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Anne, you’ve provided excellent advice for overcoming fear. I’ve only written for big magazines a few times, but I was always nearly paralyzed thinking that potentially hundreds of thousands of people would read my words.

    What helped was thinking of one supportive friend or family member and imagining them smiling and nodding approvingly while reading my piece in the mag.
    John Soares recently posted..2010 Book and E-Book Sales Data for the United StatesMy Profile

    • John, I’ll bet many of the readers here are surprised you were ever afraid… love you tip!

  • jorgekafkazar


  • Thank you for posting this one. I am about to embark on my own freelance writing journey and I am terrified. Lately there have been lots of emails from lots of sources who all seem to be addressing each one of my issues and fears. There is so much encouragement if we are open to it. Thank you again.


    • Glad to be of service. Keep us posted about how it goes.

  • Thanks for the mention, Anne!

    It seems like we can’t do enough to help writers conquer fear. It’s just such a BIG problem. Great list of tips here.

    My idea is actually to have friends read something you’ve written, and then laugh and make fun of it. I’ve never seen anybody do this exercise without ending up laughing their heads off — because you see it’s just ridiculous. It’s an irrational fear of something that won’t ever happen.
    Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing recently posted..5 Steps to Lucrative Gigs Writing for NonprofitsMy Profile

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