Would you like to know why I looked for freelance writing work for two years before actually applying for a gig? It’s because I doubted myself. I was very shy and to apply for something out of the blue took me out of my element. That’s also why I stayed with a couple of jobs I didn’t like for so long. I doubted my ability to land another job. In the real world and in the freelance world, I let negativity get the best of me.
I was afraid of rejection. I thought there were better writers applying. Finally, I saw a job for a humor columnist that was right up my alley. I applied and got the gig. The first freelance writing job I ever applied for, and I was accepted. I can’t tell you what that did for my confidence.
Not too many people I meet nowadays would consider me shy, because I’ve learned to overcome many of my insecurities in order to succeed outside the salaried workforce. Freelancing and working at home may look perfect for introverts, but I’m here to tell you it’s not for the meek. If there’s one thing I learned over the past decade, it’s that the right attitude makes such an big difference.
We’ve talked about confidence on many occasions in the past. Today’s let’s look at why positivity matters.
People Dig Good Vibes
Enthusiasm is contagious. Have you ever noticed how people with a certain effervescence attract others? It’s contagious. Confidence is a turn on. Think about who you would rather hang out with. The upbeat, positive person, the shy wallflower, or the ranty malcontent who always has a gripe. Clients feel this way too. They can sense confidence. A writer who knows she can do a job to the best of her ability is always more likely to land the gig over someone who exudes doubt. Potential clients can read body language and they can hear hesitation in your voice. Confidence even comes through in the written word via email – but when your positive it shines through.
If You Think You Can’t, You Won’t
To say you can’t do something won’t get you anywhere. “Can’ts” keep us from finding gigs or getting out of our home offices and meeting the people who pay the big bucks. “Can’ts” keep us from stepping outside our comfort zone and applying for more prestigious opportunities. Say you can…and then try. I won’t lie. You may receive rejection at first, but perserverance pays off. If you say you can’t, you won’t. Think positive. Say you can. See if it makes a difference.
There’s a Difference Between Confidence and Arrogance
Being confident is terrific, it means we have faith in our ability. Being arrogant and pushy is a whole other story. People who are positive display confidence because they absolutely know they can get the job done. Arrogant or pushy people aren’t confident, they use aggressive, almost bullying behavior to get their way. This may land them some great gigs, but it also keeps people away. By all means, go out and get what you want but be mindful of how you’re doing it. Think about how others see you. You’ll see there’s a difference.
My theme for 2010 is positivity. I wrote the word in big block letters and have it taped over my desk. Every time I doubt myself, every time I want to fire back at someone in anger, every time I make a quick judgment or say I can’t, I look up and see “POSITIVITY” staring me back in the face. It may sound simple, but having a mantra and creating a new positive goal is making a big difference in how I see myself, and how others see me.
Can’t isn’t part of my vocabulary. If I’m not sure of a situation, I analyze the reasons why and act.
Positivity does make a difference. Don’t believe me? Try it and see what happens. I’m confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
How has positivity changed your life?
Anne Wayman says
Another great post Deb. I too went for years afraid to submit. Finally I did and immediately got rejected – but I took those two rejection slips and put them on the wall because I knew I’d accomplished something important.
When I get down, which happens, my stats go down, my bank account goes down and I get fewer requests for my work. When I remember that my world generally works well and remember to be grateful, things turn around.
Gratitude is probably the closest thing I have to a secret weapon.
After landing my humor writing gig, I was met with several rejections too. Glad I didn’t let it get me down. I saw it as a rite of passage.
And yes, negativity shows in everything we do. As bloggers, we have to consider how our community reacts too. The FWJ community votes for positive and I’ll bet the AFW community does as well.
Amy Nowacoski says
Fear of rejection and fear that people won’t like my work keeps me from even starting the process. Like, I’m afraid my book will never get published so I can’t even get beyond the title. That’s nonsense. 2010 is all about pushing thru that nonsense.
About fear of rejection and the dreaded “no”- A friend recently said to me that you have to expect a certain amount of rejection, a certain number of “no’s”. The problem is, you don’t know the exact number of “no’s” you’ll get on your way to a “yes”. So see each “no” as an accomplishment – one less “no” on the way to your “yes”. What a novel idea!
We have your back, Amy. If you feel like you need encouragement come back here and we’ll cheer you on. I want to read your book!
I like your logic for handling “nos” and will apply it to my positivity plan.
Wendi Kelly~Life's Little Inspirations says
Love this Deb,
Positivity…that’s a great word. I like saying it out loud. It sounds powerful.
POSITIVITY!!!!! I can just imagine shouting it out with a magic wand in hand to get magic positive power.
Seriously, I jest ( a little) but you are so right, we need to find the ways to keep our faith in ourselves strong to overcome the fears that we all have. And I do think we all have them. It’s natural.
Saying it and feeling it makes such a big difference, Wendi. My problem is I let negativity consume me. I always take the bait and fire off in anger. In 2010, my mantra is to be positive and it’s working. I can do anything, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me.
I second the 2010 theme! Positivity goes way far in influencing your work and even the people in your life.
Probably the hardest thing to do is stay positive even during those not-so-positive times. To get me by, I always remember a quote by someone who I can’t remember:
“It’s never as good as it gets or as bad as it seems.”
That’s a quote to live by, for sure, Johnny. Thanks for sharing with us.
I tend to get kind of down in between jobs, as well. What I do is save the positive comments that previous clients have sent me and when I feel like I’m not a great writer, I just reread them and feel much better!
That’s a terrific idea, Genesis. I know someone who keeps a brag book for times like those as well. When she feels life getting her down, she opens her book to note all her accomplishments. Thanks for your positive suggestion.
Your post served up a big dose of inspiration and is much appreciated! As an aspiring humor writer, I was wondering if you had any guidance on how to find jobs in this genre. I have started blogging and am completely overwhelmed with what channels to pursue next. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciate.
Hi Ann Marie,
So happy you’re inspired – the FWJ community inspires me in return.
The humor writing job was a challenge, it’s not easy to be funny every day. If I can offer a tip is to have other people choose your funniest sample – sometimes the things we think are funny aren’t so funny to others? As for where to find the jobs, I’d look for blogging and columnist opportunities as these are the ones that allow for humor.
Mary E. Ulrich says
You’re right! Positivity and enthusiasm are contagious–and so hard to sustain.
I’m guessing our general fatique, the media’s emphasis on what is terrible and wrong, our sense of helplessness, the isolation we feel during winter, old age, the complexity of our lives, jelly donuts…who knows? No, not the jelly donuts.
Think you’ll like this. Your post reminded me that I recently found a “positivity body mist” spray by The Healing Garden. Yep, it’s called “gingerlily therapy” and contains “extracts of rosemary and St. John’s Wort.”
Hysterical, isn’t it? I’m going to put them next to my computer and whenever the negativity slug tries crawling up my arm, I’m going to splash myself with the “positivity mist.” Should change my life.
BTW: The Healing Garden also has “juniper therapy” a “CLARITY body mist” spray with extracts of geranium and ginko leaf.” I figure I need juniper therapy “clarity” spray all day long!
I can see the cartoon representation right now: the poor depressed writer is sitting at her computer, there are newspapers on the floor with headlines about the publishing industry going to hell. She is reviewing her rejection letters, working on draft 59 of her novel. She puffs the gingerlily and juniper therapy body mists over her head and–shizam, she now has positivity and clarity!
Wonder if these sprays are what they call the “cloud” or “Writer’s Fog”?
Thanks for the positivity shot in the arm this morning.
I tell my kids No. 2 all the time. I also used it when coaching grade school girls basketball.
Phil, I learn something new about you every time you comment! I think your daughter and her team are fortunate to have you with your positivity as their coach.
Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says
Having the right Attitude is essential to ALL parts of our lives. My tagline is It’s about the Attitude, Not the Scale. But attitude spills over into all areas of our lives. We all have things that hold us back from going after what we want. It takes positivity to make any changes that will last. I have wanted to do freelancing for a LONG time. I had to develop the attitude to quit finding excuses….Whether I can or can’t is my choice!
That’s the Right attitude, Jules. Thanks for sharing.
Ha! This is exactly what I needed to read today – woohoo for great timing 🙂
I was just getting established as a freelance writer some years ago, when circumstances swept me into a completely different direction. Now I’m in a nice, cosy, secure J.O.B. …. and wondering how I’ll ever get the confidence to launch myself back into freelance life.
You reminded me that it’s all a matter of attitude. Nice!
I know it’s corny, Janette, but this business can be so disheartening sometimes. If we let every bit of negativity get to us, well, I don’t think there would be as many freelance writers right now.