How to Banish Feelings of Freelance Fakery
The day I strode into the PACU for my first shift as a Registered Nurse, I felt like a complete fraud. My brain was full of nursing theory, but my hands were nearly empty of practice. “I’m not a real nurse,” I told myself. “Any minute now, someone’s going to figure out I don’t belong here.”
You may feel the same way about freelancing.
Many writers experience “imposter syndrome.” No matter how accomplished they may be, they always feel they’re on the verge of being outed as a fraud.
As you transition from nursing (or another profession) to freelance writing, you may find yourself feeling like a freelance fake. You will need to overcome these feelings in order to succeed. Here’s how.
1. Act competent to feel confident
I learned this in nursing school, and I watched green med students do it all the time. When you act competent—no matter how tentative you really feel inside—you soon generate self-confidence. I never approached a patient, wringing my hands, and said, “Gosh, I’ve never started an IV before. I’ll try to get this right.” Instead, I acted as if I successfully stuck people with needles all the time, and this enabled me to approach the task with professionalism and confidence. “Fake it till you make it” works for nursing students and novice freelancers alike.
2. Educate yourself—but not too much
Sometimes, those feelings of fraudulence stem from a lack of know-how. When you read this blog and others by accomplished freelancers, you build a knowledge base that can form the foundation of your ‘confidence pyramid.’ But don’t overdo the education aspect. Some people devote all of their time to studying writing and never get to the actual writing part.
3. Practice, practice, practice
We gained confidence as nurses by engaging in intensive practice on a daily basis. The same holds true for freelance writing. The more you immerse yourself in every aspect of freelance writing, the more comfortable you will feel. Set aside at least an hour or two every day to practice the art of writing, marketing yourself and interacting with editors. You may feel like a fraud at first, but that will change over time.
To my surprise, no one threw me out of the PACU during my first shift as a nurse. In fact, I had a very successful day. By working with patient after patient, I gained a lot of confidence in my abilities.
You, likewise, will gain confidence as you proceed along the freelance path. If you feel like a fake or a fraud today, take action to banish that feeling for good!
Tell me: What practices do you engage in to banish imposter syndrome from your freelance life?
Wishing you well,