As much as logic is valued as a trait of intelligence, no one can be logical all the time. If we’re being honest, people are irrational, and this sometimes manifests itself as us being scared of things that aren’t actually a big deal. Personally, I’m totally afraid of balloons. I know. It’s absurd. Trust me, I know (globophobia… the struggle is real). They petrify me. And why? Because balloons explode! Like bombs!
Well, copywriting has its own set of fears. Some people struggle with showing off their work. Others may be afraid to be creative, fearing that it’ll result in a revision request. And then there’s the ever-present fear of being unable to fulfill your financial obligations.
But, as the oh-so-wise Hermione Granger so aptly retorts in J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, “Fear of [writing risks] only increases fear of the thing itself.”
Alright, so I may have taken a couple liberties with the quote; however, the heart of the sentiment really does ring true. It’s not unusual for some aspects of writing to come across as a little intimidating. That being said, there’s absolutely no reason to hate or give up on your writing, whether you write solely to make ends meet or whether you do it for fun.
Here are some tips for dealing with your writing worries:
Be A Sharer
Sharing and vulnerability are common fears associated with writing. Nobody wants to feel rejected, and everything we write we leave our mark on, whether it’s in the tone, the phrasing, or the ideas that go into creating it. That’s part of why it’s scary showing it to someone else.
If your writing says something about you, if you put some heart into it, it sort of raises the stakes, right? I mean, if someone tells you that your ideas are dumb–or that something you’ve written is stupid–and if you put real effort into it, it’s not just the article, blog, book, poem, etc. that it feels like they’re attacking. It feels like they’re disapproving of you as a person.
But just like with so many things, there’s no reward without some risk. Never let the fear of rejection keep you from sharing your writing. Without some vulnerability, there’s no way to improve or become a better writer.
As difficult as it might be to believe, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected several times before it was published. But a divorced and destitute J.K. Rowling, barely able to afford feeding her baby, kept at it. In the end, the daughter of an editor at Bloomsbury read the book and loved it, and Rowling was launched into fame.
Similarly, Stephen King (an extremely prolific writer, having written 54 novels and almost 200 short stories) was broke and living in a trailer before his big break. He actually had a company tell him, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
Imagine if either of these writers had given up after their first, or even fiftieth, rejection.
My little brother is the worst at spelling. And because I’m ‘the lit kid’ in my family, my mom always made me help him with spelling. One day, he was doing so poorly that I literally couldn’t think of another reason for it other than that he was misspelling the words on purpose. So, I picked up a marker and told him if he spelt the next word wrong, I was going to draw on his face. He spelt it wrong.
It was a Sharpie. And the next day was picture day…
Luckily, no one but an angsty 11-year-old would ever do that. Editors aren’t out to tear apart everything that’s wrong with a piece. Try not to focus on or worry about whether an editor will like your piece. In line with what was discussed in the previous section, don’t let the fear of the criticism you might receive keep you from writing—and writing how you want.
Yes, WritersDomain has some basic guidelines that you lot have to follow for copywriting, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun with it.
Maybe you’re nervous about the angle you took for a piece, or maybe you tried to do a humorous take and are afraid that the editor who receives it just won’t get you. Maybe you got a 4 on something you think should have gotten a 5 and it had one of those infuriating comments about articles and their controlling ideas. It’s still totally worth it to inject some of your personality into every piece you write. Because eventually it’ll all come together; you’ll get that elusive 5.
Trying out different styles, tones, and angles can be a gamble, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one. If it doesn’t work, adjust and try again.
The above issues wouldn’t be so scary if it weren’t for the money aspect though, right? When you’re paid per article, it’s understandable the time concerns you have. Telling you to not stress out would be stupid, especially if you’re the one who brings home the bacon. The best thing to do for this is to assess what factors (other than money) motivate you to write and to try and focus on that internal motivation while balancing the responsibility of making money. Ideally, this will make you more productive and allow you to think more outside the box.
Another tip that some of your writers-in-arms have used is planning financially on getting 3s but writing to get 4s and 5s. That way, you end up with extra money at the end of the month, rather than on less than you were hoping for.
One more method to think about is setting a goal for yourself, such as writing a specific number of articles that you know for sure are passable (even if they aren’t as entertaining or well-researched as you want), and then once you’ve hit that goal look for ways to stretch your creativity back out.
You’ll get the money you need and still be able to enjoy yourself and be less stressed.
These are only some basic copywriting concerns, but just keep these ideas in mind whenever you’re bogged down by a less-than-stellar review or you feel that debilitating stress of needing to make money. Don’t be afraid to let some personality shine through, and keep on being awesome!