My oldest daughter just finished her first year of college.
During her second semester, she was taking an online combination biology-and-lab class. She had a test in that class almost every week.
And almost every week, she would say, “I don’t think I studied enough for this test. I’m nervous about it.”
And then she’d come out of the test, and almost every week she would say, “I don’t think that went well… at least I can drop my lowest grade.”
And then she’d check her score that evening and have somewhere between 100 and 105 percent.
It got to be pretty amusing.
But it also got me thinking about how much we as writers tend to second-guess ourselves.
If you’re anything like me (or like any number of writers I talk to regularly), then you find yourself saying things like, “I don’t think I’m ready for this kind of project.” Or “I don’t really know enough about this industry.” Or “What if I get it wrong?”
Like my daughter, you probably know more than you think. If you read regularly about your industry… if you make an effort to continually hone your craft… if you practice your writing and take feedback to heart, then chances are good that not only do you know more than you think you do… but you also know quite a bit more than your client.
You almost certainly know enough to say “yes” to a project and then do your best work and get paid for it.
Breaking out of this trap of second-guessing yourself isn’t easy.
It takes courage. And the commitment to just keep taking one step forward.
I think of the process as kind of like getting in line for a scary roller coaster. If you just keep inching forward, eventually you come to the head of the line. Next thing you know, you’re strapped in and having the ride of your life.
You could have bailed at any point in the line, but you didn’t. You bravely took one small step after another, and even if you didn’t enjoy the ride, once you were done, you could at least point to having done it.
And then the next time you line up for a roller coaster, it’s a little easier.
So be brave. Trust yourself. And keep moving forward, even if it’s scary. If you do, before too long, you’ll realize you have a full-fledged writing business. And then you’ll be able to rely a bit more on confidence than courage. (Hang on to your courage, though… it will always serve you well.)
New on the Site
Some writing projects are big undertakings. They are multifaceted, complex beasts that require a little wrangling. Even so, they can be totally worth it both in terms of how much you get paid and in the satisfaction you have when you’re done. In his latest post, John Torre shares seven things you can do to make large, complicated projects more manageable.
Certain things you need to know if you want the launch of your freelance web-writing business to go smoothly. Tracy shares the five things she’s discovered that have been most helpful in moving her forward.
Your brand is your online reputation. Defining it is the most important work you’ll do to succeed at attracting clients. And there’s no better place to create and amplify it than on LinkedIn. Use what you find here to make yourself impossible to ignore.
Mark Your Calendar
Just a friendly reminder about this month’s Practice Assignment. Try your hand at writing a blog post, and submit it to me for a chance to receive a live review. The deadline is May 15th. You can find the details right here.
Around the Web
Running a challenge is a great way to engage your audience while providing high value. Check out this case study from Problogger to see how it’s done.
Do you have a hard time saying No. Then you’ll love this — 19 scripts you can use to say No without burning bridges.
A 22-minute video of Jim Rohn on five fundamentals you need to succeed in every area of your life.
A quick and easy guide to using Facebook to grow your audience.
That’s all for now. Make it a great week!