Don’t Give Up: 5 Motivating Tips for New Freelance Writers

Don’t Give Up: 5 Motivating Tips for New Freelance Writers

It’s almost like having a baby — you understand that the first few months are difficult. You just don’t understand quite how difficult until you’re desperately trying to keep your head above water while you learn on the fly.

Yes, I’m talking about the freelancing career you’ve just begun.

You heard that it takes months to land a job. That you barely make anything for the first year (or more!). You understand that you’ll be facing rejection or, worse, complete silence from the publications on your wish list.

You’ll feel demoralized. Your courage will take a knock, as will your self-esteem. You’ll have moments of incredible self-doubt. There will be days when you’re positive you don’t have what it takes to be a freelance writer and you’ll want to give it all up.

But don’t. Really! You have to keep going and you can succeed as a freelancer — there’s no reason to abandon your dream.

Here are five tips to help you keep going when the going gets rough:

1. Put the voices into a box (and lock the lid)

You know those voices in your head, the ones screaming horribly malicious words at you? Those voices that keep telling you that you’re a bad writer and you need to quit? Those are all just thoughts in your head and the best thing to do is pack those voices in a box and lock the lid tightly. Almost everyone believes their doubtful internal voice every now and then.

Here’s a meditation trick: turn your discouraging thoughts into clouds in the sky. Watch them as they drift by. They don’t have any bearing on your actual being (or writing) because they’re just thoughts. It’ll take practice, but the imagery can help.

2. Read new sources

Stuck in a rut? Have you written article after article, sent out pitch letter after pitch letter only to be rejected, or worse, hear nothing at all? Try seeking new resources.

Read books and blogs, look through websites, download eBooks, and browse your local bookstore or Seek out the self-help section as your local library. Learn more about methods to approach editors successfully. You can even search the continuing education classes at your local college or university. You’ll discover new information that will help you craft a successful method of approaching editors and clients alike.

3. Take a deep breath

Really. Right now. Take a deep breath. Take another one. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Breathing helps you take a step back. It allows you to step out of your current head space so you’re not so lost in your thoughts, the details, and your emotions.

Sometimes all you need is perspective to keep the dark thoughts at bay and keep writing.

4. Write every day

It’s easy to let lack of success steal your inspiration. Low spirits dry out your will to write.

But you’ll need to keep your creativity flowing to be in top writing form when you do start finding jobs. So write a little every day.

Write for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, even to a specific number of words. Free write, write on topics that interest you, or write something that could be useful down the road. But just write!

5. Just keep going

Really. When all else fails, just keep going. It’s true what they say — creating a successful freelance career takes a lot of work and a lot of time. You’ll hit bumps along the road and there will be many times when you feel like giving up. Even though it may not seem like it, you’ll get there. Every “yes” gets you closer to your goal.

Beginning a freelance career can be scary, especially when you have bills to pay. It’s also completely worth it to free your creative passion on a daily basis. Keep going—you’ll get there!

What tips would you add to encourage a new freelancer?

Filed Under: Freelancing
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  • Daniel Rose says:

    Hi Samantha,

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been struggling with the voices recently; isn’t it bizarre how we talk so much worse to ourselves then we’d dream of talking to anyone else? I think that realisation has helped me personally: if my inner talk is mean and non-constructive, I dismiss it as I would anyone else who spoke to me like that. I’ll be viewing them as clouds too now 🙂 Thanks again

    • Samantha Meyer Gallegos says:

      I’ve wondered myself why I would talk to myself that way when I’d never say something so discouraging to someone else. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading!

  • Hello Samantha,

    Thanks for the reminders! I really needed them today. I really need to focus on the “write every day” part!

    • Samantha Meyer Gallegos says:

      So glad the article helped and could be there when you needed it! We all definitely need some inspiration and motivation sometimes.

  • Wonderful articles in this post it’s very beneficial for me. Thanks to share this post.

  • Inspiring tips. Thank you. Another would be to find a part-time job to help pay the bills. Something at night helps, especially if you are at your most creative during the day. I work as a contract process server. When I got the job and told the manager I was a writer, she replied: ‘We have a few writers doing this job. Don’t writers make any money.’ ‘It takes time,’ I replied. I’ve just landed a publisher for my book and also have a regular gig with a magazine. …so yes, you will get there eventually. Don’t give up.

    • Samantha Meyer Gallegos says:

      Very true! Finding a part time job to help pay the bills can take the edge off of the panic that comes with desperately trying to find paid work. I’ve found that type of panic can rob creativity. Thanks for reading. Congratulations on your successes!

  • Cassie McCorvey says:

    I would recommend that all writers (not just the freelancers) put together a playlist of the most relaxing and/or inspiring music they love, and then turn it on whenever they’re feeling down, discouraged, or out of ideas. This always jumpstarts me when I’m having a bad day!

    • Samantha Meyer Gallegos says:

      I love this and use it often myself! I find movie score soundtracks to be especially rousing when I need a spark of inspiration.

  • Although I am a freelance editor rather than writer, the process of building a freelance business (and the difficulties thereof) are similar.

    I would suggest to new freelancers that not only do you have to ignore the “voices” in your own head that tell you unhelpful things, but you must also learn to ignore literal voices that utter such gems as, “You should be making more money by now,” “This would be fine as a hobby, but it’s not a real job,” or “With your talents, why don’t you do something practical.”

    It’s true that as business owners, we must sometimes force ourselves to face painful economic realities, but try to surround yourself with people whose response to those realities is to find workable solutions, not to close up shop and lay your dreams at the feet of some almighty corporation.

    I wish you all success!

    Trish O’Connor
    Epiclesis Consulting LLC

    • Samantha Meyer Gallegos says:

      That is such a wonderful point about learning to ignore the literal voices as well! I had someone once tell me that I was “playing around” when told I was going to focus on my freelancing career. On the other hand, those with positive solutions and positive attitudes have helped me through those times when the “voices” in my head and the literal voices take a toll.

      • Yes, and we must carefully discern who those people are with positive solutions and attitudes. I recently had a conversation with a relative who probably was sure he was suggesting “positive solutions” when he really was telling me that what I was doing was just a hobby and I needed to do something completely different with my life!

        Trish O’Connor
        Epiclesis Consulting LLC
        Freelance Editorial Services

    • Shanica says:

      This is my typical daily dialysis played out by the imminent snarky remarks by loved ones. I feel like we are people of the same genetics from different worlds. But yes, I learn to keep plugged into my daily sources of information and how to apply the metrics to stay in the game – long enough!

      Great tip!

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