7 Proven Ways to Deal with Overwhelm as a Freelance Writer

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, lost, anxious, or stuck when it comes to your writing? Me too.

Freelance writing can be nerve-racking and overwhelming at times. It may bring mixed emotions from nerves to excitement, even if you are a seasoned freelance writer, but especially if you are a beginner.

You are not alone. We’ve all been there. Sometimes we all think too much without actually pitching, developing new ideas, or writing much. Sometimes we all procrastinate. Sometimes we all feel like an imposter, inadequate, or judged, especially after submitting work for a new client. Sometimes we all get overwhelmingly excited about a new opportunity that it leads to anxiety or a mental block. Trust me, all writers can relate to whatever you are feeling and have experienced similar emotions.

But how can you deal with a flood of mixed emotions without feeling completely lost?

Here Are 7 Proven Tips to Deal with Overwhelm as a Freelance Writer:

Know Your “Why”

You need a strong ‘why’, a reason for doing the work you do. “I want to make money.” may not be a strong enough reason, especially when working as a freelancer. Dig deeper. Why do you need money? Why do you want to be a freelancer? Why did you choose your niche? What will this path allow you to do in life? What are your aspirations, goals, and desires?

I am passionate about holistic health and wellness. I am fascinated by the power of healthy nutrition, positive lifestyle choices, mindset changes, and emotional healing. Helping people to transform their lives and companies that are spreading the message of health uplifts my spirit. Working as a freelancer gives me daily flexibility and international mobility I desire. Writing itself feeds my soul.

No matter what your ‘why’ is, write them down. Place a sticky note on your computer screen, stick it on your bathroom mirror, or put them in your journal. Keep your motivation insight to keep you focused, driven, and inspired.

Educate Yourself

No matter how much experience you have, you can always learn more. Read books and professional journals, follow blogs in your field, take courses, and go to conferences. To stand out from the crowd, improve your writing skills and gain deeper expertise in your niche.

As a self-proclaimed nerd, I love immersing myself in new information in holistic health, nutritional sciences, and medical research. Scientific journals and books are my best friends. I also make sure to keep up to date and continuously learn more about content writing, copywriting and content marketing.

If you are worried about money, don’t be. Though investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. You can also deduct essential courses and conferences from your taxes. However, there are many free and affordable resources out there on youtube, on blogs, and educational platforms, such as Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera.

Make Friends and Connections

Get to know other writers in and outside of your niche. Join online groups, comment on blogs, and attend networking events. More experienced writers can offer advice, and writers with similar or less experience can bring a fresh perspective to bring your writing to the next level.

I am part of several writer communities on Facebook. It has been nothing but amazing. I can honestly say that I have never been part of such supportive, positive, driven, and inspiring community in my life. Writers have a heart of gold.

Your peers can give you constructive feedback and heartfelt support. They can encourage you on your journey. Writer communities can be the most powerful resource to improve your writing and your freelance career.

Don’t Compare Yourself

Everyone is different and unique in their own way. You have something to offer others don’t: your specific expertise, your unique voice, your talents, and your personality. Stop comparing yourself to others. You can’t compare yourself to someone who is way ahead of you in their career. Everyone’s journey is different, and trust me, everyone makes mistakes than become fantastic learning experiences.

Being active in certain writer communities, it would be easy for me to compare myself to my peers. Someone else’s niche may be more profitable. Others may achieve more success than I did in a certain period of time. The list goes on, and if I looked for ways to bring myself down, I could find some seemingly successful and confident writers to compare myself to. But you know what, I have no interest in feeling down about myself, instead I celebrate my success and other people achievements the same.

Be motivated by others’ hard work, dedication, skills, focus, and success. Educate yourself. Improve your skills. Work hard. Celebrate all your small steps along the way. Learn from your mistakes and use them as your driving force. Embrace what’s unique about you and what you have to offer to the world.

Practice, Practice, and Practice

It may be a cliche, but practice makes it perfect. Create a blog to practice your writing skills in your niche. Share your thoughts and expertise on the Medium and Linkedin. Start guest blogging for other writers, bloggers in your niche, and high authority websites. This will not only provide you with experience but help you create a fantastic portfolio.

My health writing career started with a health coaching blog, guest blogging, and writing for the Elephant Journal, Tiny Buddha, and the Huffington Post. I had no intention of becoming a freelance writer at the time. I didn’t even know it was a thing. Over time it grew into something more, something different, and something that lights up my soul every day: being a full-time health writer.

Practice is not only about writing ‘for free’ for your own blog or guest blogging, but each new client and each new assignment gives you another opportunity to practice and to perfect your skills. The more you write, the more comfortable and confident you will be as a writer.

Remember to K.I.S.S.

‘Keep it simple, stupid.’ or ‘K.I.S.S.’ is what my former psychology professor used to say. It is so true. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if you are just starting out or exploring new opportunities. The reality is that you don’t have to do everything.

As a health and wellness writer, my options are seemingly endless. There is a neverending flood of holistic health blog, nutrition companies, dietary theories, fitness methods, and health products. I can write about plant-based diets, veganism, paleo, keto, juicing, detoxification, high-fat, low-fat, raw food, cooked food, recipes, detoxification, chronic health, natural remedies, traditional healing methods, mindset, emotional healing, spiritual healing, down-to-earth, and super ‘out there’ topics. Though I write about versatile topics, I cannot do everything and I certainly don’t have to. You don’t either.

Find your niche, define your ideal client, consider the topics you are passionate about, figure out areas your experience lies in, and hone your skills. If you are new, you can try yourself in various areas, but be patient and don’t drive yourself to thin. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many tasks and projects. Create a schedule that works for you and focus on the task at hand.

Have Fun

Having fun is the most important part if you ask me. You didn’t become a freelance writer to hate your work, but to leave a soul-sucking 9 - 5 behind, gain more flexibility, have more control over your work, be more creative, and to do what you love.

Writing uplifts my spirit and puts a smile on my face every single day. My niche, health writing is not only important to me, but it is a powerful choice of career, as it can influence, shape, and improve many people’s lives. I whole-heartedly believe in transforming lives one word at a time.

Find a niche you live. Find join in all aspects of your work from researching to outlining, from writing to proofing, from job searches to cold pitches, from your first assignment to your millionth. Celebrate each gig, each client, each assignment, each stumble, and each success.

Being a writer can be challenging, but it is extremely rewarding too. Work hard, but play hard too. Have fun.

What has helped you to reduce overwhelm and enjoy your work more as a writer? Share your experiences, I would love to hear your stories and exchange ideas.