Writing Contest: Share Your Biggest Freelance Fear to Win

Writing Contest: Share Your Biggest Freelance Fear. Makealivingwriting.comNOTE: Writing contest extended until Dec. 3, 2020. What’s your biggest freelance fear, and how did you overcome it? Enter our writing contest for a chance to win.

Fear has a way of holding you back as a freelance writer. It suffocates creativity. It gets in the way of taking risk.

Let it dominate your thoughts, and fear prevents you from putting yourself out there, marketing, sending query letters, connecting, pitching your dream clients. Sound familiar?

When fear plagues your freelance writing career, it’s like being in the middle of a Stranger Things episode. You’re expecting the Mind Flayer or the Demogorgon to rip you to shreds at any minute. Only it never really happens. It’s all in your head.

But if you don’t face your fears, fight back, and pursue your freelance writing goals, the results can be devastating. You roll around on the floor. You procrastinate. Days, weeks, months, maybe even years go by in this state of mind. Your freelance career goes nowhere. And that’s a terrifying thought.

In this writing contest, we want to hear about your gnarliest freelance writing fear, and what you did to overcome it.

Check out the rules for the writing contest and prizes for winners.

Punch fear in the face like this freelancer

Punch fear in the face, and do it anyway. That’s advice from pro freelancer Linda Formichelli. She’s kind of like Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) from Stranger Things, for freelance writers.

During her long career as a freelance writer, she’s written for more than 150 trade and consumer magazines, a long list of copywriting clients, and several books.

Is she somehow impervious to the fears most freelance writers experience? Nope.

She just made a conscious decision to recognize fear and move forward, one pitch, one assignment, one day at a time.

Sounds like crazy mind control powers, right?

What are you afraid of as a freelance writer?

You’re not going to face the Mind Flayer or the Demogorgon. Your life isn’t at stake as a freelance writer.

But real fears that can hold you back as a freelance writer include things like:

  • Cold calling
  • Raising your rates
  • Dropping low-paying clients
  • Fear of failure
  • Learning SEO and blog writing
  • Working with a new client
  • Leaving content mills
  • Writing a book
  • Building a writer website
  • In-person networking
  • Using social media to connect with prospects
  • Landing a type of writing assignment you’ve never done before
  • Or simply getting started and fear of the unknown

Writing contest rules: Share your best fear-busting story

Question: What’s your biggest freelance writing fear, and how did you overcome it?

Answer the question for a chance to win. Here’s how:

  • Tell us about your biggest freelance fear, and what you did to overcome it in the comments below.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Contest ends Sunday, Dec. 1, at 11:59 p.m.
  • We’ll review all the submissions and announce the winners here, and the Dec. 4 blog post.

Prizes for the best fear-busting freelance story include:

Grand prize: A one-year membership in the Freelance Writers Den + Pitching 101 (A $97 value, but currently on sale at 50% off).

Runner up 1: A one-month membership in the Freelance Writers Den.

Runner up 2: All my freelance writing e-books in a complete set.

If you’ve faced terrifying freelance fears and won the battle, enter the writing contest for a chance to win.

What’s your biggest freelance fear, and how did you overcome it? Comment below to enter the writing contest.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.

Your Shortcut to Success. Freelancewritersden.com

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58 comments on “Writing Contest: Share Your Biggest Freelance Fear to Win
  1. Adejare says:

    I’ve always loved writing since I was little. Frequently , I get a “brain-rush” snd the only way to calm it is by writing down ideas or storylines that I’ll develop later.
    I started developing fears when I entered this competition last four years. I felt confident that I was going to do well, show what I’ve got and win a prize.
    But I didn’t.
    Not first prize, not second, not third. It was so depressing. The competition really got to me.
    Gradually, I began to have this fear of not doing well at all. So whenever I came up with an idea or tried developing one, I felt it wasn’t good enough. This totally limited my creativity.
    For years to come, writing and sharing it with others became a big problem for me. It hindered my work and soon I had ‘brain-rushes’ less frequently. I even stopped writing at a point.
    My breakthrough came when I was asked to read one of my old stories aloud in a class of over 50 students (It was the same story I submitted for that writing competition). Initially, I was scared. I thought I would bore them. But I didn’t. They were all held spellbound till I finished my story.
    I was commended and applauded for my good work (which I had considered a failure).
    So I learnt one lesson. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough. There were many other people better than me. Since then, I work harder at developing my skills in writing.

  2. Karen Dabney says:

    My biggest freelance writing fear was talking to people I didn’t know–interviewees and editors. It was agonizingly hard to make myself pick up the phone, type the email or walk up to the person and start talking. I feared rejection, negative reactions, and simply being ignored. But if I didn’t get the interviews and quotes I needed for the article, I’d miss my deadline or fail to produce the quality of article my client expected and deserved. So I also feared failure. I started freelancing for a local newspaper with a large, devoted readership. To my surprise, people were delighted to be interviewed for this newspaper, which specialized in upbeat, positive local news, people and events. But I was still afraid. Inspiration struck–I could be like an actor and act the role of a confident, cheerful writer and interviewer instead of my scared newbie self. Somehow it helped me work around my fear and begin the conversations. Over time, my interviewees’ and editors’ positive responses helped me gain confidence and develop good interviewing skills. I started having fun, and realized that most people were responding to me with the same respect and interest that I showed them. My fear of interviewing people is gone, and has faded to nervousness when pitching to editors.

  3. Natasha Ade says:

    I am from Kenya and my greatest fear is I can’t stack up to the global market demands.

    I want to do freelance writing and eventually build a money-making blog but this fear pulls me back. Not to mention, my family always mentions how unrealistic my dreams are.

    It makes me wonder, what if they’re right? What if I’ll remain in this low paying agency job until my writing career is over? What if I am in over my head?

    I genuinely don’t know what the future holds. But I’ll keep writing.

    And hopefully, if I get the guidance I need in these desperate moments, I’ll do more than I ever imagined.

  4. Mike Ogulnick says:

    There are several things I’m not afraid of, such as self-doubt, procrastination, and the ability to find an excuse for every suggestion or situation. I am the proud owner of many fears but the one that stands out is the inner voice that tells me I’m just not good enough.

    I do most of my best thinking as I’m trying to fall asleep. While my wife dreams, I come up with numerous ideas. I’ll write a children’s book about a little boy who won’t give up his blanket. I’ll write an article about what dealing with depression and doubt daily feels like. I’ll write a screenplay about a kid in high school who was so shy, he stood there while a friend asked a girl if she’d go to a dance with him. She said no, by the way. When I wake up and open my laptop, my mind goes blank. Suddenly, those ideas seem as far away as Saturn.

    That children’s book, article, and screenplay won’t be good enough. When my words are read by those in the know, I’ll find out that I’m just not as talented a writer as I’d like to think. As long as those words remain in my head, my potential is unlimited. Wrapping myself in that cocoon is quite comforting. It’s a place where nobody can judge my work except me, and of course I’m going to be supportive. After all, I’m my biggest fan. If only I didn’t become my harshest critic when I sit down to write.

    There is nothing I desire more than to break out of that cocoon and find out just how good a writer I am. This exercise is a wonderful first step. The stage is set, the house lights are down, and the audience is ready. Now, it’s up to me to create the show.

  5. Jake Myers says:

    Letting go…letting go of the past, letting go of things that I think bring me security, letting go of what is comfortable and familiar. That’s my biggest fear in freelance. I had to leave my job in order to make space for the time and energy it takes to really devote to freelancing and putting myself out there. When I have something that I think brings me a sense of security or comfort, I clutch it so tight. But by letting go, I could freefall into my true, congruent self and the universe is able to open up and catch me.

  6. Landon N Prothro says:

    My fear is the here and now. You see, this posting is the first step in my journey to overcoming my fear of writing for a living. I have always loved the notion of writing and reading publications of writers from all walks of life. That said, an overwhelming fear of failure has been debilitating, leaving my pursuit nothing more than a romantic pipe dream.

    I have years of experience in writing and filing legal briefs but that has been my cover. In the realm of legal briefs, you understand and accept that it is a failure business. You lose a lot and only win a few. This has allowed me to accept the rejections with little internal reflection.

    Over the past week I made the decision to move forward with writing for a living knowing that self-reflection and internal persistence would be of the most important writing tools upon my desk. After much research online, I discovered the Make a Living Writing website.

    I found the content and information provided to be genuine and Carol Tice’s passion to be engaging. Immediately, I was inspired. I am looking forward to becoming a part of the Freelance Writers Den and learning from those who have forged the path of writing for their careers.

    So, this is the facing of my fears. And so it begins….

  7. Rebecca says:

    My journey began a few years back. My biggest fear is fear of failure. I wanted to be a writer for so long but this fear paralyzed me for years. I had this picture in my head I wouldn’t find any clients and end begging for money on the streets.
    How I combated it was I took extreme measures. First, I realized that living in NY was going to make it a lot harder to step away my day job because it so freaking expensive there. Around about the same time I contemplated becoming a writer I had read Your Money or Your Life. The author suggested you may need to relocate to less expensive area to realize your dreams. Over the next two or so years I started combing the U.S. for a city that was growing yet inexpensive. I landed on Louisville KY because I had some family there. I downsized my living situation to be able to save. I had many ups and downs over those two years but stuck to my goal. Eventually, I saved up a year’s worth of expenses. Upon my arrival in Louisville, I took a part-time job to help cover my living expenses. I’m still pretty new to the freelance scene but taking the financial stress out of the equation has helped me to focus on my writing business.

  8. Don Carpenter says:

    2020 will mark my 25th anniversary as a published writer. I’m looking forward to celebrating in many ways including sharing memories and hopes for the next 25 years.

    But as I approach this milestone year, I’m scared of the future. Part of that is how the brain of an old(er) person such as myself works. Change scares me. To make matters worse, it seems everything about the writing world is changing.

    I want to learn new skills, but my struggles with learning SEO writing has not encouraged me to think I can accomplish that goal. I know I have to master those skills to make myself someone businesses and others will want working for them. Sometimes it seems accomplishing this seems so far away.

    I worry about competing with younger folks who have more drive, more knowledge and are just flat out more talented than I am. I had that youthful drive when I was their age. I know what an advantage it can be.

    I worry about writing the same old things in the same old style. I know new voices are what sells in the creative world. I am aware my voice is no longer new, but hopefully readers aren’t tired of it yet.

    I worry about my 25th celebration being only about remembering and not celebrating the future because of what’s listed above.

    But here’s the thing about everything I’ve told you.

    I’ve had doubts and fears during all of the past 25 years. There were many times when I doubted everything I did, from the writing, to the business side to anything else involved in the publishing business. But I’ve done okay. I’m not rich or famous, but I’ve had a solid career involving the one thing I have some skill at. Despite all of my concerns and worries today about the future and whether I’m good enough, I know I’ve conquered those things before.

    Wherever you are in your career. I know you the have the skill and courage to also face your challenges. I don’t think it’s possible to be in the writing business and not be scared. But you also can’t be in writing business for any length of time and not be a bad ass when it’s required.

    Here’s to all of us being bad asses in 2020.

  9. Nancy Finney says:

    My biggest fear has always been reception. As a freelance writer, sometimes when I pitch something that is controversial, it can be scary. Especially when it’s a new publication. I tend to lean towards political issues and it’s certainly done well but I always worried about the editor of the publication or overall exposure when my name is in the byline and what people might think. I always conquer this fear with the thought that “the pen is mightier than the sword,” and figure the truth should persevere.

  10. Ernest says:

    I came across Carol’s blog right after I got scammed by two different clients in Freelancer.com. Honestly this experience took my soul away. $1780 is what I was to be paid. I worked my soul days and nights but I ended up with nothing. See, makealivingwriting.com is my refuge. Some sort of temple where I connect with my ambitions and dreams. I visited this blog every single day since April 2019.

    Have I had the guts to make that one step forward and start a blog despite all the tips I gained from Carol’s blog? Have I even contemplated going back to freelance writing again? No need to tell you that the common answer to all these question is simply NO.

    Surprisingly, I am not afraid of what other freelance writers are afraid of. I never fear rejection – at least not now. Because I know I can make it to the top. I have all it takes and I am energetically driven. My biggest fear, indeed, is to SUCCEED. Just like most people out there, I am a victim of the Society. Society’s taught me to fear money.

    Most people would normally get excited to the idea of making six figures. That’s not my case. Instead, I’m wondering if this five figures month thing is for me. I am wondering why in the heck would a great magazine hire a writer of the third world like me. I am wondering if my peers here wouldn’t think I have ridiculous ambitions when I talk about the six figures I’d like to make off writing. I am even wondering if I shouldn’t just cope with the pennies I can get from Content Mills since in my country those can make me have a decent life.

    These things are not all doom and gloom, though. I decided to take the bull by the horns. That’s what every single successful freelance writer did – I guess. Here are things I did:
    – I searched for social proof: I looked for someone who has been through what I did. I quickly found out Bamidele Onibalusi. I sent him tons of long emails and he gave me answers. He gave me the courage to kickstart.
    – I started a challenge: I challenged myself to write one article of any kind a day. I have started 45 days ago and now I kind of rock at writing. I am quite better at typing.
    – I decided to let go of my past: I forgave my scammers and said thanks to them. Thanks for making me realize that my future is not in Content Mills. I have also quit content mills.
    – I gave myself the guts to start: I told myself I have nothing to lose if I embark on this journey. I decided to create a blog. I made a list of my first articles and I wrote them. Now I am waiting for some technical issues to be handled so I can start posting.
    – I decided to settle for more: I decided I don’t want to be the queen of the block – you know, the block of people enjoying a decent life – I am in now. I want those six figures and I am on my go-getter shoes. I am going to make it.
    – I repeat this quote every morning: “Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It’s our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in every one. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson
    I am not at the zero-fear level. Yet I am confident I will overcome most of my fears. I don’t worry about the others, after all we’re all humans, fears make us feel so. This is not just about the contest. This is my way of telling the world that I AM COMING TO GET WHAT IS MINE. And as soon as I get started I will rock. Then, I will be happy to share my story with the World.

  11. Rhona Lewis says:

    My biggest fear? Fear of failing…again. You see, I almost closed a deal with a dream healthcare client. High profile, well-paying, long-term. The client had all I could have asked for. And then I messed up by handling the rate negotiation all wrong. This astounding failure made me question if I’m heading in the right direction. Sure I write well, but my fear of failure makes me wonder if I should just stick to what I know and not stretch myself by venturing into a new area. So how am I ovecomgin my fear? First, I reached out to people who love and care for me. Hey, mom! My mom reminded me that if I didn’t get the job, it wasn’t mine to start with. Next, the team at the Den gave me practical tips on how to keep going. Right now, I’m determined to fail successfully. That means turning this failure into a learning experience. In the words of Stephanie Couch, we “should really be thinking of failure as part of a process of iterating toward success.” Here’s to failure…and to your health!

    • Aden Curtis says:

      Hear, hear! Here’s the quote behind my agreeing with you:
      “…here’s the thing about fear: It hides all of the really good stuff. All of the exciting ‘next steps’ and the big life changes are crouching behind some amount of fear, no matter how small. We will never find out what life has in store for us if we don’t learn to walk through it.”
      ~ attributed to Ashley Arcel

    • Carol Tice says:

      Rhona… nothing astounding about bidding low, or having rate challenges! It happens every day, and to every writer. We all just learn how to do that better as we go. 😉

  12. 7 Ways I Conquered My Freelancing Fears

    For some, going or shifting to freelancing work from a comfortable, predictable, and secure office job can be pretty scary because I’ve been there. Going online means you are independent. You have no boss or supervisors to remind you of deadlines and tasks at hand (You have a boss sometimes in freelance work, but they won’t you do it any time of the day as long as you do it, and you do it well).

    There is also that 15th and 30th salary that you will miss. And also to mention the Christmas bonus and 13th-month pay and all the other benefits. That’s why, before diving into freelance work, you must thoroughly prepare both mentally and financially to be able to hurdle the obstacles that come along the way. Sometimes, you might also miss the company of charming and kind people in the office (hehe).

    After I resigned from work last February 2019, I went into freelancing after almost two years of studying how to do it. It took me ten long years. Others would have done it in a matter of a couple of months, or years, but in my own experience, it was long. In 2009, I saw my neighborhood friend doing something on her laptop in their front yard while I was rushing to go to my 8 to 5 job.

    I asked her what she was doing, and she told me, “I had enough of my nightshift call center job and decided to quit. I was lucky to find this great client of mine online from the Netherlands.” I said, “Wow! Is this possible?” “Yes, it is. You need a good and reliable laptop and a fast internet connection.”

    I sure did envy her that day and the years after. Being able to control her own time is one. She can work anywhere, and she’s probably receiving way higher than what I was receiving at the office. Moreover, she doesn’t have to contend with annoying officemates, overly demanding, and unreasonable bosses (there are also like these online, but you can choose carefully). She can avoid the tiresome commute and traffic to the office. I thought to myself that she must enjoy a lot of the benefits of working from home or virtually anywhere. There are just too many advantages of freelancing, like being able to spend time with family while working. Have more time with friends and people we care about, and enjoy what hobbies she may have and also travel anywhere she wants to.

    I felt like a coward. I tried a few times to apply for online work through my old laptop and a slow internet connection. After just a few failed applications, I hung up the gloves and gave up. I went back to my comfortable but ironically (hehe) 9-6 job.

    But I didn’t give up. Through all those years, I bought books, read and studied every online freelancing job and business I can, and even enrolled in an online Virtual Assistant work. There came the point when I was no longer able to handle all the stress, office politics, heavy daily traffic, and small pay (to me, at least).

    After resigning from my job about four months ago, I decided to do it once and for all. I know it isn’t easy, nor is it hard. I know it wouldn’t be handed to me in a silver platter as everything in life is. Hard work, patience, grit, a lot of help from online communities, and more study and practice is needed. Here’s what I did to prepare and overcome my fears in online work and how to get freelancing jobs.

    Start with a positive mindset and know your why. I programmed my mind early on that I will do everything necessary to succeed in freelance work. I also always remind myself as to the reasons as to why I went into freelancing in the first place. So that when the going gets tough, I have the strength to move forward despite all the hardships.

    Saving at least six months’ worth of income to cover for the months that I am going without a job and out hunting online clients. Much better if you also have health insurance to cover for health and medical emergencies.

    The workstation is also essential. I designed my workstation in a way that I am comfortable sitting for many hours and facing my computer. It should be soft enough that your back is not slouching (prevents back and spinal injuries).

    Investing and enrolling in quality online courses helped me a lot in propelling me against the many fears and dark corners that I have had regarding online freelance work. I even had concerns about scammy clients, hackers that hack my online accounts, viruses that might infect my files. But as time went by, this is not always true because as I was very cautious in choosing my prospective clients well. For viruses, I am careful not to click on suspicious links inside emails and questionable websites. These gave me a lot of confidence as mentors and the community that comes with it are usually supportive and help each other out. Online courses typically cover topics such as writing effective cover letters and resumes. Some courses also tackle focusing on a niche specialization to take, how to price your rates. Others cover finding high-paying online clients.

    What if clients assign tasks beyond my knowledge and level of skill? I go to my community. That’s why it’s essential to build and nurture your online communities and attend local meetups whenever possible. Networking will not only add to your skills and knowledge but will also nurture your soul and mental well-being. Finding real, great friends is genuinely invaluable.

    What if clients don’t pay me as agreed? Well, I usually discuss with the client first the terms of the agreement, such as: in the case of projects, the scope of work, timetable to complete the project, the rate package for the project before agreeing and signing in to the agreement. In the case of home-based regular online jobs (usually 8 hours), I thoroughly discuss with the prospective client the scope of work, salary (weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly), communication tools, working hours, teammates, if any, among other things.

    One way to make sure the client approves of my work or not is by doing diligent research and doing it bit by bit. Say, for example, my client asks me to write an email sequence for her email campaign, and I’m starting to have doubts. What if she does not approve of my email copywriting and not pay me and all the hours and effort I poured into it goes to waste? Doing one email at a time and presenting it to the client for review will result in them providing feedback and will significantly improve the quality of my work. This way, I not only save time, effort, and money, but I gain a lot of confidence as well.

    These are just some of the fears that I have encountered in my freelancing journey. Ever thankful also to my online communities and helpful friends, this proved invaluable this help pave the way for a successful and enriching online freelance experience.

    Filled with lots of obstacles and hindrances, it takes courage, lots of preparation, tons of help in the road to successful and meaningful freelancing work. As about anything in life, if we persist, persevere, and focus daily in improving ourselves, we will prevail in the end towards achieving a more rewarding and fruitful freelance work experience.

  13. Toketemu says:

    Starting was the hardest part.

    I had been a writer for 2 years, getting underpaid and overworked before a friend introduced me to freelancing. She sent me a ton of resources to read through including makealivingwriiting.com.

    As I pored through the material I couldn’t imagine myself in the shoes of these people who were making thousands of dollars writing. It seemed impossible to me.

    The more I dug, it slowly dawned on me that it was possible, but I became faced with another problem. How do I start? More importantly where do I even start from?

    I had some writing experience but was that going to be enough? For months I stalled, coming up with excuse after excuse not to start then I got an email from a writers forum I follow. It was the testimonials of 5 young writers who had started from nothing, then going on to earn thousands of dollars a month. That’s when I made the decision to start. My driving force was simple. What did I have to do lose?

    One thing that stayed with me in the email was ‘if you are afraid start small’. So I did. Breaking down the freelancing process into several small steps. Ticking each one of always felt like a win.

    Buy domain name. Check. Set up website. Check. Write guest blog posts check. Find a niche. Check. And so on I went until I started to pitch. Even with that I started small too. Targeting small companies with a 1-10 employee size, then 11-50, then mid range companies. I’m currently working up to taking the next small step to target even larger companies so I can increase my rates and earn more money.

    Ever so often I find myself in the process of starting something new. Whether is a writing course to strengthen my grammar or a writing challenge to keep me sharp. The most important lesson is if you are afraid to start, start small but make sure you start.

  14. Aden Curtis says:

    I’m an unusual one. I’ve no fear whatsoever pertaining to freelance writing. Unfortunately, the process to win out over any such fear is not one I would recommend to anyone.

    Years ago, this type of fear (and others) was a problem; but being an unexpected victim of panic attacks led me to a solution. However, since the PA’s lasted for years, that solution was slow to come. Still, come it did, mostly because of an absurd situation it put me in. That situation led to a realization that no matter what, I’d be okay – that I could handle that type of fear and extreme anxiety. In fact, that type of fear eventually vanished. It was dispelled without further effort.

    So why won’t I recommend the solution? It’s that without experiencing the panic attacks, and the absurd situation, the solution would be ineffective. The path I traveled was vital to the solution!

    There is one expression that I still bring to mind, one that’s outside, but reinforcing, to my solution. Most will recognize it. To me, somehow, it’s comforting:
    “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

    That said, now, if I could only find a solution to my current nagging problem, a combination of frustration, interruptions (they’re necessary and won’t change), and lack of time!

  15. Denese Young-Williams says:

    My greatest fear is not being good enough. I have been writing for the last forty of my fifty years and had never had the boldness to venture out. My first attempt was for a free critique from an editor of a pre-pitch-war query contest. First, attempt, a bad review, the storyline was great according to the editor, but my grammar was terrible. As a descendant of a Scottish and African mixture, I believed I was doing alright, well until that moment. since then the same words that flow through my mind to forms prose and poetry tend to turn to negative taunts, such as, I will never make it out there with my background or I am not good enough. what if someone requested a blog and I had to write something on demand, maybe on spot.
    I combat this fear by allowing the same channel that tends to bring negative words to flow through with positive instead. I think instead thoughts like ‘what’s the least that could happen? a NO never killed me before, you are still alive and still writing too. if they don’t like you, someone else will.’

  16. Bob McCarthy says:

    I had been a freelance writer of video scripts for a couple of years. I wrote scripts for marketing videos, training videos, public relations and more. Moreover, I was good at it. All the scripts I wrote went into production with few if any revisions. Then for one project, I was told to wear another hat. The producer said I had to play the role of accountant exec and writer with a client that built shopping malls. I was scared the client would see me as a rank amateur. Then it dawned on me!

    The morning we met, I put my tape recorder on his desk, looked him in the eye and asked him to tell me everything he knew about the retail business. He was in his glory. He talked for the better part of an hour about a HHI, demographics and facets of an industry he knew and obviously loved. When I returned a week later with the completed script, he was so happy with it he called his staff into the office and read it aloud.

  17. Grace says:

    Since starting serious freelancing this year, I have had many fears. The biggest one has been – Will I find clients? Coming from a background depending on content platforms, this freelancing experience is like Alice falling down a rabbit hole.

    But a fear that came out unexpectedly was interviewing people. I had never thought much about it, but the better my pitch became during pitch clinic, the more I procrastinated. It was probably a fear of the unknown so I studied ’10 killer interview tips for amazing articles’ like mad as well as ‘How to get the most out of an interview.’

    I researched my topic as well as my expert and wrote down questions following the guidelines. Feeling prepared now, I breathed in and out and wrote my first email to an expert with the promise that I would only take 15 minutes of their time.

    And clicked send.

    Then silence. One day. Two days. Three days. And then I couldn’t take the wait. I was on a time crunch.

    There is no way I am going to fail at this because I don’t want to go back to the content platform.

    So, I decided not to put my hopes on just one person. I would email three more people. Surely, one person will reply. I researched some more and choose three experts.

    And, I received all three replies within 24 hours. I just couldn’t believe it.

    Wow! If knew it was so easy I would have started this a long time ago!

    Then the panic came back.

    Do I interview all three experts for just one pitch letter?

    Why not? They have all said yes.

    Then another worry and frustration came about scheduling the calls between the different time zones with the expert’s busy schedules. I worried constantly about getting the interview times wrong, but found an online converter that was nice and visual. I believe you can schedule this on google calendar too.

    I noticed that for the experts that I mentioned my physical location in the first email, there was a shorter communication loop. So, put all the important information in the first email. You don’t want to spend days emailing each other back and forth.

    By the end of the next week, I managed to interview two out of the three who contacted me.

    And I realized that people are actually very DELIGHTED to have you talk to them about their life’s work.

    Also, people are very KIND.

    And really, there is nothing to fear.

    It’s just another four letter word.

    And you know what? I’m one step closer to vanquishing my biggest four letter word.

    • Aden Curtis says:

      Congats, your extra effort paid off! It appears you were pleasantly surprised at what you already found “on the other side of fear”.

  18. Jared says:

    My biggest fear was believing that I had the skillset and expertise to create compelling content as a freelance writer. Throughout my education, I had occasionally been heralded as an exemplary writer. Nevertheless, I never had any traditional training in English or journalism, and because of this, I felt unsure of my abilities to create content with credibility. Once I began writing, the process flowed naturally and I developed a structure and style for my client that proved effective and competent. My client is satisfied, and because she continues to offer me additional work, I feel a sense of validation, relief, and affirmation!

  19. My biggest freelance fear was so huge, it was less one fear and more three-headed hydra.

    I live in Nigeria, a country whose infamy for corruption, African Prince scams and internet fraud routinely left me reluctant to follow up with potential clients situated in countries that are prime targets for Nigerian internet fraudsters. Did I really think these people would trust me enough to hire me and then pay me electronically after the reputation my country has? Fat chance!

    Then there was the issue of experience. Just how knowledgeable was I to confidently reach out to companies and blogs to handle their content? And in the event that I did have some knowledge on a subject matter, enter the final fighter: imposter syndrome.

    I’d like to say there was a one-size fits and cures all solution to my freelancing fears, but this is the real world and there’s no getting off that easy.

    I’ve found that to overcome my fears as a budding freelance writer, there’s nothing to it, but to do it. Damn your country’s reputation, it’s not yours. Do the research so your knowledge is unquestionable. Keep writing, editing and perfecting your piece even though your imposter syndrome hovers around your shoulders assuring you, your work will bleed with embarrassing edits and will never make it past a Google doc filled with unimpressed editors.

    Just do it regardless, practice will make perfect. Eventually, everything good will come. Keep at it. You’ll thank you for it.

  20. Demola Otun says:

    My biggest fear was that different people are gonna see what I wrote even when I’m not there and these could be anyone from anywhere.
    I overcame by assuring myself through the Lord Jesus that I’m gonna write good and all the readers of what I write are gonna be motivated and satisfied by the food I will feed their eyes in Jesus name. Amen.

    • Carol Tice says:

      So interesting — I came out of songwriting and live performance… and my biggest fear was that I had to BE there while everyone experienced my songs!

      When I discovered writing prose, I was THRILLED. I could write and polish and then send it off… and NOT have to watch people reading my words! 😉 So it worked in reverse for me.

  21. Nissrine says:

    I have always wanted to be a writer. When I thought about starting as a freelance writer, my biggest fear was failure. The thought of being awful or “not talented enough” is holding me from writing and sending pitches.
    I don’t write or send many stories only because I’m scared they don’t get accepted or even read.
    I’m still not there yet, I haven’t fully overcome that…

  22. Sabahat Piracha says:

    The fear of failing my country but patience and determination made that possible.It’s just the beginning.

  23. My biggest fear of becoming a freelance writer is that no one would read my writings, or would fine my writings good enough to pay for. I recently decided to take some time off of a full time job so that I could spend more time writing. I am not a rich person with any savings but feel that I need to finally take the risk and spend some time alone to write. I just need a foot in the door and to lay all my stories down on paper (virtual of course) … But my fear of failure is quite heavy on my shoulders.

  24. Carol Cool says:

    Imposter syndrome is the best description of my freelance fears. Whether starting a new project for a current client or providing an estimate for a prospective one, I wonder, “When will they realize I’m a fraud?”

    The best way I’ve found to overcome it is to keep an accolades folder. When I get a positive response email from a client—like the one last week that said, “You are a freaking writing genius! I LOVE that you GET ME! I love this draft.”—or even kind words on a rejection, I print it out and place it in the folder. When fear arises, I peruse the folder, read the comments, and then dig in. I start writing the project. I up my hourly rate for that new client and hit send. I move forward because I am not an imposter!

  25. Taryn says:

    Jack of all trades, master of none. Never gonna get good at the things I really want to do.

    It’s an irrational fear St best. I have a job, I get paid, I have a place to live and a car to drive. So why does this bother me so much?

    I want the recognition. I want to be that good. And the only way to conquer the fear is too keep moving forward. Keep learning. Stay focused on the goals. And just live life the best you can.

  26. Jane says:

    I decided to be a writer later in life -42 – after being a scientist and having had a baby. I didn’t want to work long hours, I wanted flexibility. I wanted to work for myself. I had lots of fears but it was 2009 – newspapers and magazines were folding – the publishing business was nosediving and one fear stuck out bigger than ever:

    Fear #1: Can anyone seriously make a living doing this?

    I decided to give it a shot. I put a timeline on my “experiment.” What Chip and Dan Health would call a tripwire and had plan B’s in place. I read books, I dove on in head first. My tripwires (there were many) were just to show some progress, a defined amount. I wasn’t aiming for a top salary straight away 🙂 The first few years were scrappy but I made it. The first article I wrote (on spec – silly me) my husband described as simply awful. I’m a product of the English education system and I quite simply, hadn’t written a thing in more than 20 years. I was, quite honestly, pretty useless.

    Fast forward I now make a reasonable living doing this considering I cap my working hours (this was my first criteria). I write for top pubs, I’ve traveled to report stories, I do contract work. I frequently turn work down – very frequently. I love the thrill of pitching and I can even write sentences that don’t make people recoil in disgust or fall asleep. It’s a good life and while I still have many fears and unanswered questions I have overcome my greatest fear: YES, you can make a living doing this.

    So, in retrospect, what made it possible for me to overcome this fear.

    1. Having no ego around this business or writing. I didn’t “want to become a writer” I wanted a part time job that was fun and meaningful.
    2. Having a beginners mind. I was crap at every aspect of this but knowing that made me like a sponge – I read books, blogs, listened to other people etc.
    3. I dove on in. I didn’t care what editors said, other people said, I was doing this because I wanted time at home with my kid. You know what mothers are like when it comes to their kids, don’t you? We forget ourselves, our fears, we do the next best thing.
    4. I continue to learn, stay nimble etc etc. That is why I subscribe to this blog. You need to be fast on your feet in this job – the market is always changing.
    5. I play to my strengths: I’m good at research and structuring my writing. I do those well.
    6. I make myself the easiest possible person to work with. Editors will take ease off Faulkner any day.
    7. If a contract is more trouble than it’s worth, I do stellar work, then regrettably (:-)) terminate it, making sure to end on good terms. I never hang on to work out of fear. A void ALWAYS gets filled.
    8. I work on my weaknesses.
    9. I aim to do work I am passionate about – it makes it so much easier to write.
    I0. I balance out well paid gigs that lack a bit of passion, with passion projects.
    11. I make it my business to really care about a publication and the editors – they feel that. In their world I try to give the impression that their project is the only one in my life.

    I could go on, and on and on. Overcoming this fear is a journey rather than a destination and human nature being what it is new fears pop us as quickly as old ones leave.

    So to “make it” at this job, three things work: Learn, Serve, Enjoy
    To overcome fears: recognize, accept, small targets, be your own best friend.

    • Monica Romano says:

      Great advice especially about interacting with editors, thank you! I know they are just people too but pitching can be intimidating. That is why I keep forcing myself to do it. Yes, this is one of my favorite writing blogs to follow too. Lots of practical advice, resources, and encouragement.

  27. Angela Dowdy says:

    After working as a counselor for many years, I got on disability due to arthritis in my knees and sometimes I have to use a cane. At age 60 I decided to become a freelance travel writer. My biggest fear was that my lack of credentials would dash all hope of landing the great interviews.
    Well, reading several of Carol’s articles boosted my confidence. After I had two published articles, both unpaid, I got busy on the phone and by email. I planned a 12-day trip to Mississippi and Louisiana.
    I just got back from that trip. I managed to do 27 interviews!!! It was AWESOME! In fact, three of them told me it had been the most pleasant and enjoyable interview they had ever done.
    Now I proudly and confidently tell everyone, “I AM a travel writer.” Life is good and I am loving this new chapter of my life.

  28. muhammad sabir says:

    My biggest Fear Is F
    ” not being good enough”
    Yea i Am a new Freelancer ,am currently struggling with My career, But now a days i Have Thoughts in my mind that i can overcome my fear bcz No One Is Perfect In This World,Am currently chose freelancing as part time but am giving my 100% On Freelancing , I Am hopeful i will get what i want in future and i will overcome my fear as well.

  29. Amna Nawaz says:

    “My greatest fear is to look back and regret not having done something because I was afraid.

  30. Janet Rae-Dupree says:

    “Contest ends Sunday, Dec. 2, at 11:59 p.m.”

    Does the contest end Sunday Dec. 1 or Monday Dec. 2?

  31. Jeanne Stapelberg says:

    Me, become a writer? Why me? I am one of millions of people across the globe, so who will ever read my stuff?
    Me, yes why not me? For it is written in the Word that I am uniquely made. Carefully woven in my mother’s womb. So, yes me!

  32. I need to start watching Stranger Things so I can understand the references 🙂 I read once that fear stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” If this is true then I can disprove my doubts by taking action, right? Easier said than done.

    It’s Thanksgiving eve and I’m marinating in self-pity. How did I think I could pull off freelancing over age 50? This was supposed to be my second act and I have no clue what I’m doing. That is my fear, that I have no clue what I’m doing. But, yet I wake up every morning and convince myself that I AM A FREELANCE WRITER. It has to be true because I have a sparkling new email signature that announces it, my Twitter and Linked In profiles are also updated to include my new confidence-building mantra–I AM A FREELANCE WRITER.

    After stumbling across Carol’s site, I subscribed to her newsletter and listened to a few den success calls. On one of the calls, a writer joined her Chamber of Commerce and found local writing jobs. That prompted me to attend a community Chamber event the next day. Everyone was trading appetizers for business cards and I chimed in telling the others. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER.They smiled and nodded. Am I starting to believe it? Maybe. The next day I pitched an editor my personal essay. It was accepted and assigned. The pay was $200 for 800 words. That was way more than the $30/per article I had been making writing health articles. I refuse to “pay my dues” in the content mills. I believe that my life experiences as a nurse, mother, survivor and discerning chocolate connoisseur have to count for something. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER. That has become my mantra and antidote to the fear that keeps me frozen at times.

    • Aden Curtis says:

      Loved your write-up, Monica! The pursuit of freelance writing is not a threatening quest, so please continue to set any doubt aside… you’re already seeing the results as that happens.

      • Monica Romano says:

        Thank you, Aden. Yes, one step at a time. It felt so liberating breaking free from the content mills! That was a step in the right direction and a confidence booster. I like what you posted from the publisher because there are so many reasons our pitches may be rejected. I do need to take Carol’s pitching clinic. I like working with editors because I learn so much from them in the editing process.

  33. Florie Barry says:

    My greatest fear was leaving a wonderful Accounting career to continue my passion as a Freelance Writer. I have so much to learn: pitches, LOI, creating websites/newsletters, SEO & keeping up with technology. I joined several organizations for Writers.

    Being a member of Toastmasters International club is extremely helpful. It is an organization to help members improve their communication and leadership skills. Additional benefits are self-confidence, organizational skills, and building a social network with fellow Toastmasters.

    A member is teaching me how to create websites and newsletters. With the skills I learned here as a speech contest Judge, I became a Judge for an annual Writer’s contest for another organization. At Toastmasters, after I present a speech, I submit the written form to magazines and newspapers.
    It is a Win-Win!

  34. Kathy Pierce says:

    My biggest fear in freelance writing is getting starter and trying to write a book and trying to get a job also I’m fear that it want happened in my life cause I love to read book and write a book reviewer I’m in onlinebookclub.org but I like to get more paid for doing something I like the most.

  35. Melanie Zolenas-Kennedy says:

    Hi Carol and Evan:

    My biggest fear was that I didn’t have any writing talent. This thought was paralyzing. I would sit at my computer and try to force out brilliance. Turns out, this is nearly impossible to do.

    Then, I realized that focused work is more important than talent. It is better to write a rubbish first draft than not produce a draft at all. Now I sit down with the goal of writing something that captures the brief I’ve been given. Then, once I have something tangible, I edit, edit, edit.

    Thank you for this opportunity to share what has worked for us!

  36. Kianna Byrd says:

    I’m really looking forward to entering this writing contest. I think through my craft, my creative outlet being writing acknowledging my fears in my natural gifting will help me push past the obstacles that fear sets before me. I’m entering and I’m excited about this.

    • Evan Jensen says:

      Hi Kinna. Just to clarify, here are the contest rules:

      What’s your biggest freelance writing fear, and how did you overcome it?

      Answer the question for a chance to win. Here’s how:

      -Tell us about your biggest freelance fear, and what you did to overcome it in the comments below.
      -Only one entry per person.
      -Contest ends Sunday, Dec. 2, at 11:59 p.m.
      -We’ll review all the submissions and announce the winners here, and the Dec. 4 blog post.
      Evan Jensen recently posted…Writing Contest: Share Your Biggest Freelance Fear to WinMy Profile

      • Colleen says:

        My biggest fear isn’t rejection at all-it’s the opposite.

        I always worry that somebody will love my pitch, and then I’ll have to face horrid first draft anxiety. Or (gulp) that what I write won’t live up to expectations.

        How I overcome this fear: what works best is not taking myself so seriously. In the pitching process, I remind myself that writing is a learning process that takes time, and that I’m not an amazing, perfect writer who gets it right every time. And that’s okay.

        The only way to get better is to do it, mistakes and all.

  37. My other fears have all been overcome. In college, any fears of being seen naked or otherwise unclothed, vanished in the dormitory showers, where all bodies showed a state of undress or nakedness, rushing to make an 8:00 AM class. Then as music major, there were the all-too-often recitals which required performing a memorized piece on piano, not my forte (pardon the pun.) Getting over that required 1) fortitude, 2) will power, and 3) sheer ‘Just DO It.’ And I did! I’ve lost all my inhibitions. Yaay!
    Now, applying all three of those to freelance writing, I still have a fear of rejection. The way I get over that is convincing myself, as I did with performing; “Those people judging my writing are human, put their pants on one leg at a time, just like I do. If they choose to reject my writing, it’s not a reflection on me, personally. My writing just didn’t fit into their parameters at this time. So, I’ll try again next time.” That works for me as well.

    • Aden Curtis says:

      Judith, here’s a partial quote, from a publisher, I often share to ease the fear of rejection:
      “Just because we pass on a particular submission does not mean it does not have merit… this often means turning away strong work. Sometimes it’s as simple as an essay with similar theme or style was recently published. Do not take editorial decisions personally. Just sitting down and getting your thoughts on paper is a task for which you should feel great pride—not everyone can do it. Every piece of writing has value. We feel it is important to spread the message of being persistent and diligent in your search for publication. Never let rejection discourage you from sharing your story. Just because it is not right for us or right for us at this time does not mean it will not find a more fitting or timely home. Write on.”

      I hope that sheds a different light on rejections. They’re commonplace, should be expected, and opens another chance elsewhere to get published! We freelance writers outnumber all publishers’ needs – there’s just too many of us for them to handle.

      • Aden, thanks for the publisher quotes and your supportive comments. You helped me know again that what I thought was true. I especially like your last comment about there being too many of us for them to handle.

        There has to be an answer to that one as well. There needs to be a place for all writers to display their work if it warrants being displayed. Then, that means another publisher to decision. It’s a vicious circle, one for which there isn’t a simple or easy answer.

        I will write on and hope someone finds a place for my writing. Best wishes.

  38. Jennifer R. Banks says:

    When i think of all the fears that come with freelance writing it can be overwhelming. And often times more questions and confusion than clarity. The being obsticals. I want to write but will I have followers. Is my story good enough?

    Next is how do I market myself, find a publisher, make this a career for myself. Do all that is needed to become a successful writer.

    I have no degrees in writing and journalism. I find a story or a thought that comes to mind and I run with it. And the truth is not everyone is going to like my story or relate to it and honestly that is okay.

    The biggest thing I can say about every writing fear is research your options, read the stories and advice from experts in the corrosponding fields, ask for help and trust your intuition.

    And lastly, never stop writing. If it is your passion continue forward in your pursuit the rest will come to you in time. It helps teach patience and improves you as a writer.

  39. Shoshana Steiner says:

    I have the requisite training and a bit of hands on experience, but my fear lies in promoting myself and putting myself out there to get clients. It seems easier to just plug away at a 9-5 then to suffer through the potential rejection of not passing muster. So even though I think I know what I need to do to market myself as a copywriter, to promote myself on social media and to reach out to my own contacts and let them know I am in business, I hold myself back from that kind of work. Sure I set up a portfolio, and constantly read up on the tools, tricks and techniques. But all that is nothing without client flow. I’ve been told to just take a job at a marketing agency to build up my confidence but I don’t want to get measly cash for my hard earned certification and skills. So this past week I took a leap of faith and sent out a proposal for two writing projects. I was so amazed at myself that I actually pushed through, found the write wording to market my skills and actually hit send. Now I am in middle of one client intake, with a meeting scheduled for next Monday. Wish me luck!!!

  40. Felix Abur says:

    Oh so many fears I have had to face and overcome. And still I face more. It’s been a struggle harnessing my david to face the many Goliaths in my freelancing path. Carol and Evan, I’m in.

    I doubt I could be picked as a winner once more for the top prize (I enjoyed one-year free membership from such a competition a couple of years ago. Though, just recounting my fears and how I overcame them can encourage others to face their own.

    • Monica Romano says:

      Hi Felix,
      I hope to follow in your footsteps and win some time in the den. It’s nice to hear from den writers about the challenges they have faced and come out on the other side. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor and we sometimes feel as if we are the only ones struggling with challenges unique to writers.