You know those moments when you feel too paralyzed to press the Send button, or where you think “I actually suck at this”?
That’s your fear breaking out, and it sucks. I know my many fears surface on occasion, but guess what? Star Wars taught me how to beat them.
For thousands of years before the Star Wars trilogies, the Jedi fought the Sith, a terrifying force who built an empire relying solely on their powers from the Dark Side. Because of their dangerous legend, Yoda is careful to warn young Anakin Skywalker (later known as Darth Vader) in Episode I that the origin of the Dark Side is fear.
Just as the Jedi had to deal with the Sith for thousands of years, freelance bloggers have to deal with their own Dark Sides on a daily basis (which, on a bad day, can feel like a thousand years).
We always have some sort of mental or physical fear we need to overcome. Let’s look at the top three fears that most freelance bloggers have, and how to battle them with the dedication of a Jedi.
Fear of Ignorance and Inexperience
Your fear sounds like this: “I’m not an expert.” Or, “I don’t know enough.”
Sometimes the best-paying blogging markets aren’t ones you know about, and instead of going for them you back off. For example, I have lots of first-hand experience using social media, but I feel like I can’t write about it in-depth like the “experts.”
Tara Mohr, an inspirational speaker and writer for women, recently addressed this topic on her blog in a few different posts, and in various articles around the web. She says, “Again and again I see talented people with ideas they want to share – books they want to write, talks they want to give, businesses they want to launch – holding back because they think they ‘don’t know enough’ about their topic.”
In other words, if you were a Jedi who just let the Dark Side keep intimidating you, you wouldn’t be much of a Jedi.
“Immeasurable contributions are lost because many of us think that [formal training/work experience] is the only kind of legitimate authority,” Mohr writes. She believes that if you’re called to do something, you will inevitably make valuable contributions despite your so-called lack of expertise.
So when you’re encountering this fear of not being an expert, stop and ask yourself this question:
Do you feel called to be a freelance blogger?
If your answer is no, you need to re-evaluate what it is you really want to do. But if your answer is yes, then start acting like a freakin’ Jedi would and attack that Dark Side head-on with a wicked Jedi mind trick.
Lots of ways exist to get a basic knowledge of the markets you want to blog for. You can quickly use Google or Wikipedia, ask friends and family what they know about the topic, ask your client about some of their favorite related blogs or websites for inspiration, or draw on your personal experiences related to the topic. Tom Ewer got a well-paying blogging job with WPMU.org simply because he leveraged his personal experience with using WordPress.
If you truly feel called to blogging about a specific market that you’re not an expert in, remind yourself that you can still make valuable content and then jump in full Force (using the Light Side, of course).
Fear of Being Completely Worthless
Another very typical fear that freelance bloggers encounter is that they are only one among millions of people who claim to be bloggers.
It’s all too typical to feel like others are better writers than you, and that you don’t deserve blogging clients, when you see their phenomenal work.
Personally, I deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the winter months, which can be pretty debilitating. If it’s been overcast for several days in a row, I notice a significant lack of positive thinking about myself and my blogging skills. This mentality even flows over into other areas of my life where I no longer have the motivation to wash even one dish.
However, there are some steps I take that always get me back on my mental feet. I first simply refuse to believe that I’m worthless – seems simple, but lots of people don’t do this. If this step doesn’t do the trick right off the bat, I do something that makes me feel better physically, like exercise or soak in a bath.
Finally, I remind myself that though others may actually be better writers than I am, I became a writer and blogger for a reason. When I remember that I became a freelance blogger so I’d never have to work for anyone else again, I can easily conquer my SAD-induced fear of feeling worthless, so I can move forward with my business.
After all, there was more than one Jedi in the Old Republic, each with their own unique set of skills.
If you focus on what makes you feel like a worthwhile person and blogger, this acuity can help you feel confident in yourself all over again. It also helps prove to potential clients that you have faith in your writing abilities and can deliver them the content they need, no Jedi mind tricks required.
Fear of Rejection
Rejection is probably the most crippling fear for freelance bloggers. You don’t want to do the work of finding clients just to be refused the job.
I think about this a lot, too. Instead of contacting potential blogging clients, I think about how I could instead be spending my time cleaning the house, working on my blog, pitching magazines, or even just relaxing.
But then I remember that even Anakin Skywalker himself was once rejected.
By the time Anakin was discovered at nine years of age, he was considered too old for Jedi training. The Jedi Council considered his mind too full of fear and hate, and certainly not malleable enough to properly understand and implement the Jedi ways.
And yet what happened? Anakin became a powerful Jedi under the guidance of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, he eventually embraced the Sith ways and became Darth Vader. But the point is that he became one of the most famous names in the Star Wars universe, all because he didn’t let rejection stop him.
If you think you can be one of the brightest stars in the freelance blogging industry, rejection should be considered just one more step towards your destiny of having so many blogging clients you don’t know what to do with them all!
So pull out that lightsaber and slice through your fear of rejection. You’ll find success more quickly when you embrace rejection as part of your journey to Jedi-like blogging mastery.
When it comes to dealing with freelance blogging fears, just remember some final words of wisdom from our beloved pointy-eared Yoda:
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Dealing directly with your fears is the only way to get past them; merely “trying” will get you nowhere. Just like a Jedi who maintains the fight against the Dark Side, you’ll progressively become better at fighting your fears the more active you are in doing so.
May the Force be with you, bloggers.
Images: Maximus_W, leg0fenris, Kalexanderson
Savannah Caden says
Bree, I was grinning like a fool at my screen the entire time I was reading this post. I especially loved this line:
“Start acting like a freakin’ Jedi would and attack that Dark Side head-on with a wicked Jedi mind trick.”
The best trick I’ve found for dealing with my insecurities is to do it anyway. Even if I’m not sure I’m going in the right direction, just doing one small thing gives me the confidence and courage to do the bigger things.
Savannah, I was hoping this post would have that impression on people. 🙂 And I agree with your method of attack – simply moving forward means you aren’t stuck!
Hi Sophie, the force is strong in you
Lack of experience is a tough one. What we need to remind ourselves is that every blogger and writer our there once had the same fears – but wrote and blogged and pitched anyway.
As Carol Tice says – we might not be able to write for the $100 per hour clients from day one – but there are other blogs that cannot afford premium rates but can afford a less experienced blogger. Only by working your way up from these small business’s and blogs will GIVE US the EXPERIENCE in time to go after bigger fish.
You mention Tom Ewar – he notes that although he wasn’t an expert in wordpress – he knew “enough” to be of help to users who were just starting out and was able to write useful posts for them. His 6 month old blog gave him enough to land clients to earn him over $5000 per month.
As writers and bloggers we sometimes have to fake it until we make it. One of the most important skills for any writer to have is the ability to RESEARCH topics to write about. Once you are established in a field you know a bit about – then you can go on to learning from others and using previous work to sell your researched (as opposed to experienced) material.
As for Rejection. Stephen King tells us from “On Writing” that he fixed his rejection slips on to a nail on his wall. He used them and any feedback as inspiration for continuing writing. He also had to replace the nail (more than once). That is dedication. That is how to succeed.
KEEP WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT
KEEP RESEARCHING WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN ABOUT
KEEP PITCHING YOUR BEST IDEAS AND WORK REGULARLY
USE REJECTIONS AND FEEDBACK TO INSPIRE FUTURE WORK
BUILD ON YOUR SUCCESS TO GET FURTHER WORK
Base your goals on what you have control over. Don’t aim to get 50 paid guest posts in 3 months. Aim to write and submit X pitches or written posts per month. That way you are accountable to yourself – and responsible for your own success. You are not depending on another person “judging” you. This is success you have 100% control over.
Keep it up Sophie
Jamie, this is great advice on the whole! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for contributing your ideas here for others to learn from.
Tony Jones says
Excellent advice on goal setting and keeping to a set of achievable goals that can you can control (or at least try to!).
I posted a piece on goal setting that I might dig out and check if it’s still valid.
Willi Morris says
Hey Bree! Way to utilize the Star Wars ‘verse! I’m so guilty of feeling like I’m not an expert, and I even have the “professional credentials” people think are required. It is so tough to not feel like a nobody.
Hubby will be glad you chose a Sith Lord 🙂
Thanks, Willi! Here’s another thing I think about when I feel like I’m a nobody: I was put on Earth for a reason, and writing is somehow involved in that. I realize it’s partially my job to find out how/why.
And yes, he’s a fan of the Sith empire, so he is glad. 🙂
Victoria @ My Daily Cuppa says
Hi Bree / Sophie,
Great post. I would have to agree with the bit about feeling that you are not a good enough writer. I feel that my writing is good enough for my blogs but sometimes (always) worry that it is not good enough to command a decent fee from someone else.
I have to admit – I haven’t seen all the Star Wars movies (sorry) but I still understood the underlying messages. Thank you. 🙂
It’s great that you still understood the post, anyway!
Just realize that if you are willing to do the work to right, you deserve to get paid professionally for that. Many people don’t do the work, therefore don’t deserve to get paid professionally. Just decide which type of person you are and stick with it on a consistent basis, and it’ll help develop your career more soundly.
Yes the fear of rejection is one that has really held me back but that said; it is time to get off this fear and really start pursuing my goals as a freelance writer. May the Force be with you too Bree. Needed this
Glad I could help!
I can personally identify with struggling with fear. Sometimes it can block me for days and can impede my momentum towards a more fruitful blogging career.
Your advice to just reject the fear of rejection and go ahead contact future clients is practical and doable immediately.
The Star Wars backdrop resonates with me. In many of my profiles, I call myself Jedi-Writes.(“,)
All in all, an excellent piece of work.
Go fight the dark force Jedi.
I’ll be here to support.
Signs with a lightsaber,
Anthony, I love it. 🙂 Keep up the good work and yes, just move forward when you’re scared – it’s actually simple, so don’t overanalyze it. 🙂
Thanks for reminding me it’s simple.
It’s true, I over analyze sometimes.
Looking forward to more of your posts.
Sheila Bergquist says
Bree, I love your tips and comparison to Star Wars! I especially love the “Do or do not. There is no try.” We all feel these fears and your tips on how to conquer them are great. Thanks for such a useful post.
Sheila, that quote actually was the exact reason I started thinking about this post. It all just seemed to fit into place!
Edson Hale says
all the three reasons are quite genuine but the most genuine are their solutions; not even single of them is irremovable fear; it means one can become a successful freelance blogger IF ONE REALLY WANTS. Great post and impressive style; thanks
That’s exactly my point, Edson. If you REALLY want to be a freelance blogger, you won’t let anything stop you!
Holly Bowne says
“Do or do not. There is no try.” Love it. I’m sticking this on my forehead. ;o) Nice post.
That’s pretty much the gist of it all, right? 🙂
Dawn Marcotte says
What a great post – I really relate to the whole, “but I’m not an expert” fear. There have been so many projects I haven’t submitted bids on because I didn’t feel like I knew enough. No More! – I am going to go Jedi on these people! – Thanks for the inspiration.
Fake it ’till you make it! Not that you can fake being a Jedi, but yes, in this instance, you have to try it. 🙂
Olatunji Femi says
Thanks for this highly motivating and very inspiring post, honestly it’s making the back hair on my neck stand. this kind of post makes one to believe in his/her self more profoundly. And i’ll like to see it as a wake up call to those who are yet to claim there crown in the freelancing writing world. “Even if you’re not there fake it”. This word only reminds me of Steve Jobs who worked from his parents garage together with his partner and he had his voice mail sent up in silicon valley. just to let anyone have the impression that they’re dealing with a big company. what i’m saying is just that, even if you’re not there yet, believe you’ll get there and you’ll eventually find yourself there. remember that as a man thinketh in his heart so his he.
Lauren Tharp, BAFB Community Helper says
Glad you found the post “highly motivating” and “very inspiring.” The hairs on the back of your neck are undoubtedly standing on end due to the power of the Force. 😉
Thanks for commenting!
This is wonderful!
I find myself telling people a lot: if you can physically do things (and I’m talking ANY activity here -from post writing to bathroom cleaning – you can probably make money a) doing it, or b) teaching it. But so many people let lack of “professional experience” shut them down.
Hey – do you think it’s this fear people have of claiming expertise without massive experience that has let the evil unpaid internship and co-op industry thrive for so long? That’s what I call the dark freaking side.
Lauren Tharp, BAFB Community Helper says
Very true, Megan. So many people–especially writers–get so wrapped up in paying their “dues” that they never move forward with their careers.
As for unpaid internships replacing good ol’ minimum wage work… Definitely the Dark Side at work! 😉
Pinar Tarhan says
It’s funny how you can have different degrees of self-doubt. Just like saying “Am I any good?”, we also find ourselves thinking “I’m good, but am I good enough?” But that just goes to show that we’re improving our confidence and skills.
I also like thinking about the rejected great:) Fictional or real. I mean people did reject Michael Jordan, John Grisham, Oprah….one way or the other…
Lauren Tharp, BAFB Community Helper says
Very true, Pinar.
Though a lot of the examples you just stated remind me a lot of Impostor Syndrome: http://beafreelanceblogger.com/impostor-syndrome
Keep improving your confidence and skills! And thanks for commenting. 🙂
Thank you so much for this post!! I just got my first guest post rejection earlier this week and I was in tears and almost ready to give up. But reading this post has me fired up!! I know that I can do this. The Force is with me!! Thank you so much!! 🙂
Lauren Tharp, BAFB Community Helper says
That’s the spirit, Tiffany! Don’t let rejection get you down. If you’ve been rejected, it just means you tried–and that’s more than a lot of “writers” are doing.
Perseverance is a huge part of successful freelancing. So get out there. Get rejected. Get rejected again. And again and again. And then…succeed! 😉
“May the Force be with you!”
I cannot say enough how much I love this particular blog. Incredibly inspiring, open, and helpful. I received it via an email update from Sophie’s site just on Friday and I am in awe. Thank you so much for addressing the pangs we all go through and sharing your experience with positive methods to address them.
Ashley Kimler says
I love Star Wars analogies — the way you wrote this particular post inspired me as much as the advice. I’ve written a ton of articles covering similar concepts, but your creative spin blew mine outta the water. Can I be your Padawan, Bree? 😉
Robyn Smith says
Thank you for writing this! I really needed to read it. I am just starting out as a freelance writer and I’m quite frankly terrified. I received my first job offer today and although I know that I can do it (it is about the field in which I work and an ailment that I suffer from), there’s a voice inside my head that tells me to say no.
Luckily I overcame it, but it’s still nagging me. “What if I can’t provide what they want?” “What if I totally suck at this and they give me a bad rating?” “What if I’ve taken on more than I can handle?”
I know I’m meant to be a writer. It has been a dream of mine since high school. I’ve just got to get over my fear of failure and my anxiety over whether or not I’m capable and just do it. This will be a good opportunity for me to get experience and add to my portfolio, which already has one published article. However, that fear still lingers.
Thanks again for this; it has helped me immensely!
I came to your blog from a post written by Alicia Rades on blogginwizard. She mentioned about how you write your intro. I just simply gone through your blog and find this article. Itz basically about fear. You are absolutely right this is one of the major issue we newbies face. I don’t know how I’m dealing with it. I believe I’m ok now. You said fight like a jedi, even though i never saw a star war movie i’ll fight like a jedi, at least i’ll try . I gonna stick here for some time ….if i find something interesting i’ll comment.
Carrie Fisher says
Impressive advice. How I love how you used Star Wars to put your point across. Thank fr this, it was a pleasure to read it.