Blog Archives

What to Do When Your Writing Sucks

Freelance writer worries her writing sucks

We all know what it feels like to read brilliant writing. It draws you in, awakens your emotions and leaves you feeling alive with personal revelations. Most of all, it changes you for the better.

So what happens when you read your own writing, and it doesn’t quite rise to that level?

Some writers will say, “I know I can do better.”

But too many will say, “This isn’t good enough, and never will be. I should just give up.”

This is the moment when self-criticism becomes unhealthy and debilitating to your career. Your writing is going nowhere because it can’t get past your toughest critic — you.

As a writer and new blogger, I’ve been there. I know negative thought patterns will always creep their way into my consciousness and threaten to shut me down. In order for my career to survive, I’ve developed a few techniques to help turn my harsh self-criticism into constructive learning and growth:

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Is This Insidious Affliction Shrinking Your Freelance Writing Income?

Multitasking freelance writer
Multitasking freelance writer

When you start out as a freelance writer, there’s a lot to learn. I know when I got back into freelance writing in 2005, I subscribed to dozens of email newsletters and spent hours every day, reading, watching videos, and attending live events.

But learning how to be a successful freelance writer is a bottomless pit. There’s always more you *could* know that *might* help your freelance writing career.

And often, new writers fall into this pit, and forget to get any clients. They get a creeping learning addiction that stops them from moving forward.

I see these writers leaving loads of comments on the Freelance Writers Den forums, or on LinkedIn’s writer forums, or commenting on every single blog post on popular blogs.

They ask arcane questions like these:

Should I create a mirror site to protect my writer website in case it’s hacked?

What’s the best SEO keyword tool?

Should I do marketing on autopilot with email autoresponders?

What are the best apps for coordinating writing projects with clients?

A year later, these writers sometimes quietly confide to me that they’re flat broke and had to take a day job. They were so busy learning everything about how to be a succcessful, 21st Century freelance writer, they fell victim to analysis-paralysis — and forgot that the top priority is getting clients and generating freelance writing income!

How can you focus, learn what’s essential, and move forward to earn as a freelance writer? Here are my tips:

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One Writer’s Fear-Busting Journey to $1,500 a Month in Blogging Gigs

freelance writer walks a tightrope to better pay

As a new mom trying to juggle a toddler and run a household, I blamed the busyness of life for my lackluster freelance writing success.

But that was a total cop-out.

Fear was the true culprit. It stifled my creativity, filling my head with “what ifs” the way only a failure mentality can.

I’d like to say I faced those fears strategically, or that I faced them head-on. But in my case, it was more of a happy accident. But that accident netted me $1,500 a month in new blogging gigs. Here’s how:

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A Short Prayer for Freelance Writers

class="alignright size-medium wp-image-3885" src="http://www.makealivingwriting.com/wp-content/uploads/Himalaya-man-exults-prayer-flags-199x300.jpg" alt="A freelance writer exults in prayer" width="199" height="300" />

I’m just back from a religious retreat where we were encouraged to compose our own prayers.

Reading all the inspiring and uplifting thoughts our group came up with made me think there should be a prayer for freelance writers.

Shouldn’t there be? I’ve never seen one!

Of course, it’s easier to do this sort of thing while you’re still at a relaxing camp with others in a group to help you.

Doing this on my own, I found it was hard to keep it short! There are so many aspects to the freelance writing life in which we might ask for divine help.

Here’s what I came up with:

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How I Got Over My Author Complex and Became a “Real” Writer

By Janine Sobeck I have built a career around the creation and telling of stories, but never felt like a writer. My story? I’m a dramaturg. If you don’t know, that means I help playwrights develop their ideas, characters, and

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How I Became a Productive Freelance Writer — After Failing in Year One

By Kim Jansen When I graduated from college, I knew a 9-to-5 position was not for me. I had dreams of becoming a happy, productive freelance writer — working at my own pace, toting my laptop to my favorite coffee

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