How to Overcome Your Fear of Writing

Overcoming Your Writing Fears

Starting a new career is an exciting time in anybody’s life, but there’s something about the vulnerability of freelancing that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Dealing with fear as a new freelance writer really isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.

Before we go any further, ask yourself: What are you afraid of?

Failure? Rejection? The world recognizing you for the fraud you really (think you) are?

It’s time to lay those fears to rest. Go ahead and roll up those sleeves, then scroll down when you’re ready to learn how to approach your new freelance writing career with confidence and poise.

Identifying healthy vs. unhealthy fears

A little bit of fear can actually be healthy for a variety of occupations — it’s what saves us from complacency. It’s what stops us before hitting ‘send’ to do one last check for typos. Healthy fear can be an excellent tool for any freelance writer to have, so long as they use it properly.

Things get a bit dicier when you let your fears grow and fester into mountains of anxiety and self-doubt. The more you obsess and worry over minuscule things, the less time you will spend actually writing.

You’ve probably heard the cliche “paralyzed with fear” so many times that it has lost all meaning… but think about it, really think about it.

Reassess and readjust your expectations

Unless you’ve had an extraordinary amount of exposure to the freelance writing world, you’re probably a bit unsure of what to expect. Whatever you do, remember this corny rhyme: Goals are good, goals are great, but unrealistic goals will seal your fate. 

Be prepared to reevaluate your expectations on an unbelievably frequent basis. Trying to attain the unattainable will become a huge burden and source of stress. It’s important for new freelance writers to start within their level of ability and celebrate accordingly.

Expect rejection and learn to embrace it

Any experienced writer will tell you that if you aren’t getting rejected, you’re doing something wrong. Check out this quote from Stephen King’s part-memoir, part-manual On Writing:

“By the time I was fourteen … the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and kept on writing.”

Try thinking of freelance writing as a numbers game. For every five people that reject you, there should be one that likes your work. What the first five people think of you doesn’t really matter — they’re not paying you. Don’t brush off the clients that like you so much they are willing to pay cold hard cash for your words.

Build a toolbox of virtual fear-busters

This is absolutely crucial to your success as a freelance writer: Gather an assortment of quick pick-me-ups to save you from the abyss of eternal fear and torment. Maybe you would enjoy reading about the failures and triumphs of best-selling writers who made it big? How about treating yourself to your favorite beverage and snack? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll delight in Shia LaBeouf’s viral motivational speech.

Try standing in front of the mirror every morning and tell yourself: “I am a writer.” Many people have reported success with positive affirmations. Also, don’t forget to look after the welfare of your mind and body; this will help reduce the physical effects of stress, which should alleviate some of the chemical causes of fear and anxiety in the body.

Final thoughts and encouragement

No matter what scares you about freelance writing – whether you write for a small client through TextBroker or a large corporation – positivity and a solid approach will help see you through even your worst day. Remember, everyone makes mistakes. You will make them too, and you will survive.

Seasoned professionals: How did you personally overcome your writing fears?