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
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.