Fear of competition can make you crazy! Or that’s how it’s worked for me. It can breed suspicion among people who really should be friends or at least pleasant to each other. It can lead to butting heads to no avail resulting in a waste of energy.
Here’s what I mean – if you worry about or even move into fear about competing with other writers you’re saying you don’t have faith in your own writing. You may also be saying you don’t believe you’re enough, that you fear you won’t get enough of the pie as it were.
The myth of the pie
You know the theory – there are only X amount of freelance writing jobs out there (or anything else for that matter) which means you have to hustle like crazy to get your share.
There are two things wrong with this view.
The first is there are a gagillion freelance writing jobs out there – and more coming all the time. And there’s no real way to divide a growing pie – not in this sense anyway. There’s more work for writers and it looks like that will continue for some time.
Has the market changed? You bet. When I started writing there was no internet; most book publishers were privately held, as were many magazines.
Yes, there are areas in writing where competition drives down the price – Upwork (Formerly eLance) and Fiver are great examples.
The good news is you don’t have to find your writing gigs where the pay is low.
The second thing that’s wrong with the pie view of the freelance writing world is hustling, at least with its pejorative sense, isn’t the way to be successful in the writing game.
Yes, you have to work to find work, but it’s far from impossible. And you don’t have to cheat to do it.
The good news is learning to find writing work is totally learnable. In fact, over a life time of writing you’ll probably have to learn new ways to market yourself several times. So what? That doesn’t mean you need to worry about competition.
Yes, you can (mostly) ignore the competition
The real key is to recognize your worth as a writer. It’s a state of mind you can move into with some willingness and some practice.
Then the only reason to even think about competition is just to have a feel for the market – and you can run a successful, profitable writing business with out knowing what other writers are doing. In a very real way, it’s none of your business.
How does this feel to you? What questions would you like to ask?
Write well and often,