4 (or 5 ) Ways Writers Can Stop Negative Self-talk

If I could do one thing in all the world for many freelance writers it would be to pump them full of self-worth and confidence.


Because it would make it so much easier for them to honestly evaluate if they have the talent and the persistence to become successful at this business and if they do it would help them:

  • Approach editors with clarity and even wit.
  • Refuse to take less than their real worth as a writer.
  • Run their freelance writing like the business it is.

Okay, I know I can’t literally inject you with self-confidence, which is maybe a good thing, but I do have four or five suggestions, depending on how you count them, that may help.

What is negative self-talk?

I strongly suspect that most people who lack confidence have a litany of negative self-talk running in their heads at all times. You know, it’s that little voice that, when you have an idea about writing an article for a magazine says “I can’t do that! It’s been done, besides…” or some version of that.

Or maybe it’s the voice that says things like “I don’t deserve more than $5 an article… after all look at the competition.”

It’s also the automatic rejection of any new idea or any other of an almost unlimited collections of things you may say to yourself, consciously or unconsciously that stops you from taking truly self-supportive action.

Notice your self-talk

Unless we pay attention to what’s actually going on in our minds, we’re apt to miss a great deal there, including the negative self-talk. Of course, the first step to letting go of such a habit, and it is a habit, is to really see, experience, that it’s there.

What’s the first thing you think when you get up? How about as your approach your computer to write? What do you say to yourself when you begin to write? Or when you realize your procrastinating? What happens when someone complements you, or asks what you do? What do you say and what do you really think?

Questions like this can help you discover what you’re really saying to yourself.

1. Get a big rubber band

Put a big, thick rubber band around your wrist. Make sure it fits loosely.

Every time you catch yourself doing some negative self-talk, snap yourself.

Yes, it’s a bit painful, but it works. I know because a couple of years ago I got stuck with some negative self-talk. I don’t remember what triggered it, nor do I remember exactly what I was saying.

I tried the rubber band trick and it took about three days and that particular stream of shame or whatever it was stopped entirely.

Pumping Up Your Marketing Plan in 3 Simple Moves

You have a marketing plan, right? So how’s it working? If you have had less-than-stellar results from your efforts, maybe it’s time to revisit what you’re doing. It could be that your efforts are going off in the wrong direction, or it could be you’re simply not focusing on what’s working.

Revamping your marketing plan doesn’t mean devoting days to pouring over data and conducting an extensive rewrite of your entire plan. If you’re like me, my marketing plan is a short, easy-to-implement set of strategies that take little time to read and even less time to implement. But even the simplest of plans needs a refresh. Start here:

  1. Get thee some analytics. You can’t understand how your marketing efforts are going unless you understand what’s selling and what isn’t. What have you done that has netted you the most work? What hasn’t yet worked and how long have you been trying? The best source for your own analytics – your invoices. If you’re smart, you’ve been tracking your client contacts and noting what ways you’re getting in touch with them. If you haven’t tracked your communications, you may need to go back over your emails to see what pitch you sent, what approach or style seemed to work most often, and what the revenue earned totaled. That’s it. Analytics don’t have to hurt.
  2. Brainstorm new ways to reach customers. It could be through social media, through sales, through what’s known as viral marketing – your name and services showing up in unusual places. Maybe reach out to new customers in a complementary business area. Don’t forget about what’s working. How can you expand what you’re already doing and increase on what’s already netting results? Jot down several ideas as they come to you. Don’t edit – just write. Even the weird ideas may hold kernels of great marketing strategies.
  3. Test your message on yourself. Would you buy from you? Pretend you’re the customer. What can a seller say to you that would grab your attention and compel you want more information? What would get you to buy? If it helps, replace your name/company name with a generic one. Sometimes for me, it helps to write it as though I’m writing it for a client. It gives me enough emotional detachment to say what needs to be said without feeling married to the wording. That can make it easier to edit.

In what ways have you pumped up your marketing plan?

How To Think About Setting Writing Fees

If you’re writing for newspapers or magazines, your pay is pretty much determined by the publication.

When, however, you start taking clients for your freelance writing services, you have to set your own fees.

Usually the first impulse is to find out what others are charging. People fresh from typical jobs expect there to be some sort of price range much the way there is with salaries.

For better or worse, freelance writing fees simply don’t work that way. For example, I recently followed a discussion on a LinkedIN group. A woman had been offered, as I recall, $20 for a 1,000 word article. She asked if that was a resonable rate.

Responses ranged from “$20! I only get $10″ to “I wouldn’t take less than $1,500.00!” Most were more in the middle but the spread illustrates the point.

So what does determine the fee you’ll get for a particular piece of writing?

You probably won’t be surprised when I say, as I often do, “It depends.” For the most part, the ability command well paying writing gigs depends on on these four things:

Your skill. To be well paid and command decent writing fees you do have to write reasonably well. That’s hard to quantify, but writing well involves vocabulary, grammar and your voice. You can work to improve all three. Classes and workshops, both online and off offer good ways to learn what you need to know about writing. Reading widely also helps. So does writing – lots and lots of writing.

Continue reading