Today’s guest post comes from professional blogger and freelance writer, Glori Surban. Thanks for helping me make her feel at home here!
Things don’t always go the way we plan or dream them. They rarely do as a matter of fact.
No matter what we do in life, at one point or another, we are bound to feel that awful bite of disappointment. The feeling is multiplied when we realize that we not only let ourselves down but others as well. And it gets worse when these “little” misfortunes come after one another culminating in one big ball of negativity and despair.
This is the part where I mention how the last few months of 2012 were like for me. I was angry, envious of people, and resentful of my parents.
I was a boiling pot of negativity. A mess.
“I shouldn’t have quit my job.”
“I hate my responsibilities.”
“I’m not good enough.”
Now, why am I even talking about this? It’s a writer’s resource blog for crying out loud.
Let’s get real.
Not all of us are as successful as we want to be. At least not yet. We work hard but we get crappy pay and crappier clients and we grow resentful.
And that’s just it.
We’re a creative, mostly right-brained, bunch. And it’s easy to just let our negative emotions eat at us until it affects our ability to write, the one thing that we’re supposed to nurture in our freelance writing career.
If you feel you’re in the same position, I’d like to share some of the steps I took to make things better.
Let go of your anger
Up until then I didn’t realize how angry I was about “not being good enough” and “not earning enough.” I actually resented having to help my family financially.
But anger and resentment can eat at your soul and effectively stop the flow of your creativity, something we have to have a lot of.
Ever read the kind of posts you write when you’re in a bad mood? It shows.
No wonder I didn’t get new clients or write quality content. Negative emotions overrode my creativity and hindered my productivity. It also made me envious. So instead of learning from others, I envied and shunned them and their advice.
What are you angry about? Say it out loud. Write it down. Face it and accept it. Decide not to be angry anymore.
Decide to be positive
Force yourself to be positive if you have to.
How? By doing what you do best. Write.
Words can be potent drugs. We should know, right? We’re quite good with written words.
A few weeks ago, I decided to start a private blog. I call it my secret blog. No one else can read it but me. There’s no pressure from an audience or the burden of a word count. All I have to do is write for myself.
Every morning since I began it, I’ll write a post entitled something like, “Today will be happy and productive day: [date]” or “Monday Hustle for Clients.”
I fill it with encouraging words to myself and even a short list of things to do and things to be grateful for. I wouldn’t call it a journal or diary because it’s basically just me cheering for myself. And we really should cheer ourselves on.
It sounds simple, but I wish I’d thought of it sooner. It drastically changed how I approach my work and how I interact with my family. Putting positive thoughts into positive words can help change your perspective.
Of course, things didn’t just happen. My more positive outlook enhanced my confidence and creativity in marketing my services and inspired me to write better articles. I even picked up the courage to connect with successful freelance writers and ask for their advice.
Decent work and decent clients poured. And sure enough, I got more things done because, as I’ve come to realize, a happy freelance writer is a productive one.
Write for the right reasons
Yes, we write to make a living. We write so we can eat and sleep with a roof over our heads at night.
But my mistake was that I focused way too much on making money and getting more clients out of desperation.
My overpowering and misguided urge to “get rich” overrode my passion for personal development blogging and my will to help people through writing.
When you look at the writers or successful bloggers you admire, what do they have in common?
When I look at mine, they all go out of their way to help others. They don’t just do it for the money.
Oftentimes, I tell myself that I couldn’t possibly waste my time “trying to help” when I haven’t even figured things out for myself. Yet the simple act of sharing your experience and letting people hear what you have to say is a form of helping.
Combining your passion for what you do and your willingness to help others will show in your writing. It’ll also make the process of writing easier than you thought possible because you don’t have the burden of a hidden agenda.
Improve your work area
As a nurse, I loved Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory. One of the things I fondly remember about it was the importance of surroundings to a patient’s recovery.
She suggested not just posting paintings on walls but changing them regularly.
We do most of our work at home, but we don’t have to be patients to benefit from Nightingale’s genius. Even Feng Shui says that they way things in our homes are arranged influences our mood, and luck. I don’t know about luck, but my mood certainly improved.
A change of scenery or setting improves our creativity, productivity, and in my case, sanity.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I regretted not caring about my working area, which is located in my bedroom. (I know, I know. It’s not ideal, but I have to make do of what I have.)
So one day I just asked my brothers to help me move a few things around and get rid of stuff I didn’t need any more.
The change was amazing and instantaneous. More space. More breathing room. More… room to think.
So rearrange some furniture, post nice pictures on your wall, or find a new place to write. You don’t need to spend a dime or a whole day to change the way your working area is arranged.
Exercise before sitting down to write (or just move)
Unless you like to write in the wee hours of the morning, exercise, walk, run, jog, do some calisthenics, and then take a nice bath or shower before you do any writing.
Get your blood pumping and let those endorphins do their thing because these happy hormones do just that.
I stupidly refused to exercise and do anything that will require me sweating.
“I have no time for that” and “It’s not going to make any difference” were my usual excuses.
Again, I was too angry to listen and heed the advice of well-meaning people. And it made everything more miserable.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and take action. If you’re not able to leave your home for walking or running, search Youtube for videos such as this.
Exercise over excuses. Trust me, you’ll find yourself less grumpy and more energized to work.
It’s our choice
We all go through difficult and challenging times in our writing careers. We can get tempted to give up and just cut our losses or we can take steps to make it work and succeed.
Sometimes, we don’t even have to start with big life-altering steps. We can begin small while we dream big and take it one day at a time.
How do you get past negativity? I’d like to know your thoughts, share them in the comments below.
Glori Surban is a professional freelance blogger and writer. She’s passionate about helping readers through informative and encouraging articles. She also runs an introvert personality blog dedicated to helping introverts survive and enjoy this very extroverted world.
Thanks for having me, Sarah! 🙂
Thank you for your article. It is just what I needed this morning. As a freelance writer I can relate to getting downhearted when it come to bringing in a STEADY flow of income. It is a battle.
One way I keep up my spirits and my creativity is this…did you ever read The Secret? It’s all about the law of attraction. Your thoughts are your future. Think discouraging thoughts and you draw from the universe discouraging events in your life. Think positive thoughts and you draw from the universe positive events. For example, if you believe you will gain more quality clients you will. That’s just the tip of it. Read the book. It’s a powerful concept. Now, taking your advice to write down these positive thoughts in a daily journal will only enhance the good vibes and bring more good into my life. Thanks for the advice.
Would you like to be a guest blogger on my blog http://www.copyexpertise.com/blog
Just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
From one writer to another,
Thanks for taking the time to comment Dawn! 🙂
Keeping a steady income seems to be the main battle for most beginning freelance writers. It can get to us sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we should let it overwhelm us. I’ve never heard of the book you mentioned. I’ll look it up. 🙂
I may just also take you up on that guest post offer. 🙂
This post is a true life-saver. Like every other writer, I go through periods of negativity, when my first question is ‘Why me?’ My worst gripe is that I seem to find the lowest paying jobs in the world, which however, seem to be the hardest to research and write. At present, I’m working on a series of Life Skills books for children The way I deal with it is, I think of how much I’m growing as a writer while I’m working. I also think of what a reader can get out of it, and I feel all warm and fuzzy, and get back to the grind with a smile! Please keep this conversation going, and help us all!
Sarah (and Carol Tice and Linda Formichelle) has a lot of posts on how to get out of low-paying jobs and earn the money you deserve. It’s sad to hear how we always get exploited, especially when we invested so much on our learning as writers.
To be honest, although that warm, fussy feeling may get you through for now, it won’t be enough for the long run. Don’t get bullied to accepting low-paying gigs. Market your services and price accordingly. 🙂
Just have to chime in and offer a big “hells to the yeah” on everything Glori said. If I can charge higher rates for my writing, you can too 🙂
True, Sarah! Spend more time pitching and marketing. 🙂
And LOL at my “fussy feeling”! Haha! I didn’t notice it til now.
I’ve been writing seriously since September 2009. During this time I have published two books and I’m over 17,000 words into my third. But just recently I started to become bored with my writing routine. I wrote my second book in my living room. But with my third book I found I couldn’t do this so I use cafes and libraries to write instead. If I do not want to leave my house I’ll write upstairs in my bedroom.
Greta to hear that!
At the moment, I’m actually limited to my bedroom because I own a desktop PC. But instead of a hindrance, I think it’s good for me because I can focus more in familiar surroundings.
When I need a little change in scenery, I run off to exercise at the local park or someplace quiet. I also bring the good ol’ pen and paper when I’m out and about and an idea strikes me. 🙂
Thanks for sharing these tips on overcoming negativity. I especially appreciate the one about the effects of clutter on our spirits. Also, I have maintained a hobby blog for nearly five years now. I am long overdue to start writing for pay.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Dana!
Making sure the place you work in is clean, comfortable and conducive to writing is perhaps one of the most important things a beginning freelancer ignores. We get too focused on getting clients and jobs that we neglect where we we work in.
Good luck on your freelance writing journey! Sarah has a lot of resources for that. 🙂