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6 Ways You Can Accept Responsibility For Your Own Self-Worth As A Writer

self confidence for writersOver and over again, in comments, on forums, and in email writers and people who want to be writers express some sort of lack of self-worth.

One is afraid to submit to magazines, presumably out of fear of rejection.

Another hesitates to start a novel because they might not get it right, whatever that means.

There must be a million excuses not to write.

Most of the excuses reflect some sort of lack of self-esteem, some sense of not being worthy, some fear of something undefined that blocks a would-be writer from writing. And there’s a story behind everyone.

I know, because I’ve had most of the same excuses and same stories as every other writer in the world.

But, if we’re to be successful, if we’re to have a chance to fulfill our own dreams, we have to drop our story of why we can’t and push through to doing. No one can do it for you – it’s futile to ask because it can’t happen.

Here are 6 ways you can change how you view yourself as a writer, and in life as well:

  1. Just do it! Nike was right. Go ahead and query or apply or submit. Do it in spite of the fears and self-doubts.
  2. Stop the negative self-talk. Just as you talk yourself out of writing or submitting because you think you’re not good enough, you can talk yourself right into having more than enough confidence. The kind of self-talk you use is a matter of habit, and you can change it.
  3. Quit listening to nay-sayers. If you’ve got people in your life that one way or another are giving you messages that you can’t write well enough, or that you should be doing ‘real’ work, or are otherwise discouraging, at least stop listening to them. Even better, get away from them – not always possible, I know. Actually nay-sayers can give you a good opportunity to counter with positive self-talk. Try it… try it for several weeks or a month.
  4. What’s the worst that can happen? Carol Tice pointed this out in one of our webinars – ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. After all, the editor you submit to, the agent you approach, the webmaster you offer a guest post to aren’t going to shoot you. They also are unlikely to take out a full page (or even a classified) ad in the New York Times.
  5. How will you feel if you never do it? Think a dozen years ahead – what if you’ve never even tried to pursue your dreams of writing? Isn’t it worth risking some rejection or feeling silly along the way to at least find out?
  6. Model the cat. Yes, if you’ve got a cat at home you know what I mean. Cats never, ever hesitate to ask for what they want. They aren’t embarrassed if you say no – they just keep trying, usu sally until you give in. It’s never, ever occurred to a cat that they might not be worthy. No one has ever accused a cat of not feeling worthy – you can do the same if you’re willing.

Lori Widmer posted What’s Your Value? today (I swear, I wrote mine before I read hers 😉 )

You might also find 6 Freelance Writing Fears & How To Overcome Them worth a read.

What other tips do you have for increasing your daring as a freelance writer?

Write well and often,
Anne Wayman, freelance writer

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • I finished a book on unemployment back in the day.

  • My biggest problem right now is balance. Tired. I need a sabbatical to finish my book. Please, Publishers Clearinghouse, pick me!

  • Anne, thanks for signing up. Yes, cognitive reframing is a cousin to neuro-linquistic programming, only not quite as intense or complex (from what I know about NLP). Similar ideas, though, about how to retrain your brain. Interesting stuff.

  • Hi Joan, isn’t that cat pix wonderful!

    Just signed up for you newsletter… cognitive reframing sounds a bit like nlp… good process. Looking forward to reading yours.

  • Anne, you’ve heard the same stories I’ve heard, over and over! One of the things that I think is really key is digging deeply enough into yourself to understand what will work for YOU specifically to keep the non-writing demons at bay, and to create habits that work specifically for you to keep you at the writing desk.

    One of my favorites is cognitivie reframing, a prcoess in which you identify what you typically do that causes you to avoid writing and then you deliberately break the thought cycle in order to change your typical cognitive process. Sounds more complicated than it is. I’ve got a free e-book with this and 4 other strategies in it for staying at the writing desk if anyone’s interested. No obligations, just some good free info. 🙂 http://www.literaryliving.com

    Love that cat, by the way!

  • lol, one editor who had given me an assignment and I’d tried to impress told me ‘no, no, no! I want your concrete charm!.” Took me awhile to realize he meant my normal writing voice.

  • Great minds think alike, Anne. 🙂

    My best tactic has been to write with a “Oh, what the hell” attitude. If I screw up, so what? The world will still spin. I think one of my first queries to be accepted came after I just decided to stick tongue in cheek and be myself. The editors ate it up. Beginning writers tend to stay safe in order to please, when in fact the opposite is what’s needed. Rare is the time when you pour yourself onto the page and fail miserably. Taking a chance is scary, but it’s so rewarding.
    Lori recently posted..Whats SmellsMy Profile

  • Just do it is one of my favorite slogans – ever! Wish I thought of it! 🙂 The thing I struggle with (although I’m getting there) is putting my writing first. Funny, I don’t have a problem at all standing up for myself, but when it comes to writing that eBook, that novel or whatever other “person” writing, it takes a backseat.

    I need to raise the “worth” meter on my writing. Thanks, Anne (and Lori-just came from there). 🙂
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Video Marketing’s Top 10 Don’tsMy Profile

  • Yes, act as if. I’d forgotten that one, but I’ve used it often enough. Learn by doing is another one. I’ve also been known to say “you can’t get worse at something you practice.”

  • Just do it, indeed. Act as if, I say, and it will become a reality. So I’ve learned. And it’s become a balance of doing things anyways, despite my thinking, believing in myself, despite what other people say, and learning from my mistakes by consistently doing things that allow me to make mistakes in the first place. Learn by doing.
    Kyrsten Bean recently posted..Where Can Creative People Afford to Live These DaysMy Profile

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