Why I Want to Quit Freelance Writing

I’m going to let you in on a little secret — so come closer and listen carefully. Ready?

I almost ruined my freelance writing jobs before they even took off – should I quit my job?

I was about to quit my job and start another adventure as a work-at-home mom when I suddenly had a wake-up call (but we’ll get to that later).

Why I Want to Quit Freelance Writing

I’m glad I didn’t because after only a short time marketing my business as a freelance writer, clients are coming to me for help.

Why I Want to Quit Freelance Writing

So what was it that almost made me want to quit freelance writing?


It’s paralyzing.

It’s fearful.

It’s crippling.

If you’re new to freelance writing, then I’m sure you’ve experienced doubt in your ability to write well at one time or another – especially when you have a interview.

And you don’t have to be new to writing to have uncertainty and apprehension about your skill. Many seasoned writers, like Dean Koontz and Alice Munro, experience self-doubt to the point of almost ending their success.

For us, a lot is riding on our career choice, right? Especially if you’ve given up your full-time and quit your 9 to 5 job to pursue a freelance writing career.

Maybe you’ve thought these questions when you were battling cold feet in your new career choice and thinking, should I quit my job?

Will I make enough money?

What if the freelance client wont pay?

I have three children to take care of and a house to run. Do I have time to write?

Am I even good enough to write professionally?

Why did they not hire me for more work?

Should I raise my rates or will that scare off my clients?

Will my pitch get businesses to hire me?

I’ve had my fair share of self-doubt, cold feet, apprehension and fear of rejection more in this profession than at any other profession I’ve had in the past.

Plus, I felt alone because none of my friends understood what I felt or did.

All of this made me want to learn how to quit my freelance job before it was too late.

Struggling to land clients? Check out my complete course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k.

I learned over time, though, to squash any doubts I had about my writing and to never think twice about choosing to write professionally.

If you are battling doubts in your freelance writing career, look no further!

Learn what made me almost quit my job with freelance writing (so it doesn’t happen to you) and I’ll show you how to overcome your doubts so you can be a writing success!

I Want to Quit Freelance Writing (Having the Naive Disease and Second Guessing Myself)

When I started freelance writing, I was on a high. I finally decided to jump in and start writing. I made a website and a blog. I wrote three articles in a week! I was pumped and excited to start this new venture.

Little did I know, I was about to get a dose of reality.

In the process of setting up my website and blog, I also created social profiles on all the big social platforms.

I quickly began sharing my content and asking for feedback and suggestions from whomever would give it. I was new to blogging and, although I had read about how to blog effectively, I wanted to make sure my writing style, topic choice and blog structure was easy to read and easy to scan.

I never thought I would get rude comments from sharing my blog posts. I only posted at other freelance writing places and thought since they know more than me, perhaps they can offer constructive criticism.

Unfortunately, I had come down with what I like to call “Naive Disease.”

This is when you believe everyone in your online groups is there to help you with improving your writing and offer guidance to new freelance writers.

Although this is generally true, there are some professionals that might have unresolved issues or have had bad experiences in their careers and feel it’s necessary to criticize other professionals.

I got a taste of rude comments when I posted this blog post on a freelance writing group at LinkedIn.

I checked on the group later that day to see if anyone commented and someone did.

‘Excellent advice’ if you want to brand yourself like a McD’s Big Mac rather than, lets say…an actual ‘writer.’


That was what I was thinking. I honestly did not think my post warranted such a negative comment. This person went on to attack ME saying,

I believe you are neither “new to writing” nor do I believe your real name is “Elna.” You have zero connections on your LinkedIn profile. You are a pseudonym for one of many predatory companies trolling Linkedin, and this group recently, whose sole purpose is to sell “services” from the corporate site that “Elna” actually represents. Neither your “advice” nor your “writing” skills will help anyone.

Come again? My real name is not Elna? Please tell my Danish father that! I was livid.

This made me say, “I want to quit freelance writing” for good!

I can understand his views on my blog post. It may not be everyone’s style or preference, but to start attacking me because I had no connections? Excuse me for just starting a LinkedIn profile and not wanting to connect with my friends or family.

I created a profile on LinkedIn to promote my new business, network with other freelance writers, and to connect with potential clients. As I was new to freelance writing, of course I had no connections.

I started second guessing myself at that point. I started thinking,

Maybe I’m not cut out for this? Maybe I’m not a good writer. Maybe I can’t write. Maybe I should quit my job right now.

I had let this one person almost ruin my career and make me want to quit my job. I’m not a teacher and I don’t have a journalism or creative writing degree and this person’s comment started to create doubts about my ability to write for a living.

How Doubt Can Weaken Your Confidence

I sat on that comment all day. I kept thinking, should I quit my freelance job?

I chose not to attack this person and just commented back that everything this person said was untrue. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I seriously considered whether freelancing was for me.

Having doubts can shake your confidence when you’re new to a profession. When doubting yourself settles in your psyche, you start to:

  • Avoid putting yourself out there. No more pitching, guest posting or sharing your blog posts for fear of ridicule.
  • Think you have nothing unique to offer potential clients. Why would they hire you if other freelance writers say your blog posts are junk?
  • Undervalue yourself as a writer. You start thinking that writing for $.03/word is all you’ll ever get.

If you ever had doubts, then you know it can be tough to snap yourself out of it. For me, my wake-up call came with all the positive comments I got from that post. Other writers enjoyed my post and the exciting part was that I provided useful information for new bloggers.

When I realized that my content was valuable and people were actually reading it, I started to think that writing is for me and the thought of wanting to quit my job as a freelance writer subside.

I decided to stop thinking about the negative feedback and only think about the positive feedback from that point on.

Your wake-up call might be different from mine. If you’re struggling to gain confidence about your writing, here are some other ways to ditch doubts and welcome triumph.

5 Ways to Gain Confidence as a Freelance Writer So You Can Quit that Freelance Job

Find Out the One Thing THat Can Ruin Your Freelance Writing Career

1. Keep Writing

The number one confidence booster for me was to keep writing. The more I wrote, the more I learned about grammar, structure, tone, style and engagement.

I also learned a thing or two about writing faster and better.

When you practice writing, you actively learn more about your niche and it can help you as a freelance writer to know what you are comfortable writing about.

 And the added bonus is, when you practice writing, you become better at writing.

Take a look at some good resources to help you on your way to better writing:

2. Change Your View From, “This is what I offer,” to, “How can I help you?”

As a freelance writer,  you might be under the impression that clients want to know what you have to offer, but what clients really want to know is, if I hire you, how can I make more money?

When you start thinking how you can help other businesses, all doubt about your writing ability will vanish. Allison Mansfield, who guest posted on Be a Freelance Blogger, puts it nicely when she said,

The attitude shift from profit to service can change your life — and it can change other people’s lives.

Allison goes on to say,

A blogging client doesn’t pay a blogger just because he has the money to spend. What motivates a paying client is his problem: he needs timely, engaging copy that will build a relationship with his customers.

He’s motivated to solve his problem, plain and simple. He’s willing to pay for a solution.

Thinking about yourself as a solution to other people’s problems will get you to start thinking about how you can showcase your abilities and create more business for your clients.

And when you think this way, you will grow your business as well.

With this new thinking paradigm, you are no longer guessing whether or not your writing is good enough. Instead, your only concern is, “How can I help you?”

Check out some more blog posts on changing your mindset to create more business as a freelance writer:

3. Face Rejection With a Smile

That’s right. Smile away as you open your third email of the week and see that your pitch did not wow a potential client … again.

All freelance writers have faced rejection numerous times. It’s part of the requirements for being a writer: must get rejected.

But this doesn’t mean you let it change your perception of who you are.

Remember, clients aren’t rejecting you as a person. They’re probably rejecting you because you are not the right fit for their company, at this time. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t be the right fit later.

You win some and you lose some. The point is, you have to move on and learn from rejection.

As Jane Champagne, the artist, once said,

The effects of rejection can either kill your muse or change your life.

Don’t let rejection give fuel to your doubts. Instead, use rejection as a time for reflection.

Reflect on why you’re not getting clients and work towards perfecting your pitch and developing your portfolio.

Let rejection inspire you to create even better content and to work harder at making your business a success.

Here are some blog posts about handling rejection as a freelance writer:

4. Get Out There… Slowly

Even if you’re faced with countless rejections and the feeling of doubt, you can still promote your business.

When you start thinking of yourself as a business that can fix problems, then you can market your business as such and build your brand up slowly.

Take a look at your pitch and incorporate ways you can fix problems for potential clients. You can also create content on your blog to promote your services. For example, you can create a post about why small businesses need a blog or how to add engaging and unique images to blog posts.

In any case, try to be online, promoting your business daily. It will attract potential clients and will give you the much needed confidence in your writing ability.

Take a look at some blog posts on how to promote your freelance writing business:

5. Gain Your Confidence by Reading Other Freelance Writing Blogs

A month into starting my freelance writing business, I came across some ‘big’ online writers/bloggers.

I started reading what they were writing and became absorbed in their lessons, tips and words of advice.

I also read other freelance writing blogs like Kirsty Stuart’s blog and Laura Spencer’s blog as often as I could.

When you take time out of your busy schedule to read other people’s blogs you not only grow your connections within your field, but you can learn:

  • Different writing styles
  • Other ways to engage an audience
  • Insights into freelance writing

Above all, you gain confidence in yourself as a writer because when you read other people’s writing, a little of it rubs off onto you, making your writing better.

No More Thinking, “Should I Quit My Freelance Job?”

Once I realized I was helping other bloggers and I was getting positive comments on my blog posts, I started gaining more confidence as each day passed and I knew I didn’t want to quit freelance writing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s normal to still experience doubts in freelance writing. I still do have doubts, especially when I have to “sell” myself to prospective clients to seal the deal.

But it’s all a learning journey that everyone first starting has to go through.

And I hope my story and my confidence boosters can help you achieve your writing success today.

Let me know in the comments if you had a similar experience and almost quit freelance writing because of it.

How do you remain confident in this line of work? What’s working and what isn’t?

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

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Reading this in 2023 and still just as inspirational as it was in 2020 and 2021!! Thank you for doing what you do.Reply to Misty
LOL! Yes, I did write this a while back but I always go back to tweak or change some sentence structure to update it. But, I do try to create evergreen content so it’s relevant no matter what year! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post I hope you don’t feel like you want to quit freelance writing!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Reading this in 2021 and your evergreen content is always relevant and spot on. I just want to make sure you know that you inspire me! Thank you for doing what you do because it really does help other people. I see you all over the internet, and I see I’m not the only one that looks for and follows your empowering advice. Sending lots of love out into the universe for you Elna girl πŸ™‚Reply to LeAnne
Hi LeAnne, Thanks so much. I just went into this post to update it even more with the right links! Thanks for commenting on an older post! I try my best to write evergreen content so that it can be relatable any time.Reply to Elna
Reading this in 2020, Elna. Let me tell you, your advice is timeless. I am so scared to get my feet wet. Not because I’m not good enough..but because..well..what if I AM? It sounds ridiculous. What if it all becomes too much? –But isn’t that what I want? To have clients? To write. To live. Reading that even you are not immune to comments like that person’s helps put into perspective the power of keeping writing and knowing yourself. Thank you for sharing this humbling moment with me. Maybe…once I get off the ground I’ll come back here just to gab about what happened to me too.Reply to Athalia
Hi Athalia, Thank you for commenting on this old but like you say, timeless piece. Fear and doubt is timeless and affects everyone! Even though I’m many years into freelance writing, whenever I pick up a better and higher paying client, those doubts come back. They aren’t strong, but they are still there. Little by little they will disappear (I just know it). I just have to keep my head down, write and read comments and emails from people that enjoy my writing and that it’s helping them!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, I can’t believe someone commented that! it actually makes me laugh cause it just so ridiculous I’m sure nowadays when you look back it cracks you up as well haha πŸ™‚ you conveyed new writers feelings so perfectly, the insecurity makes every comment raises doubts in you, I once shared a piece I wrote on facebook most comments were ” that’s good” ” good article” or “nice” and I was thinking “oh man they didn’t like it why did I share it? i should never publish ” I created a Linkedin account a week ago and I’m still building connection sometimes I feel like no one will take me seriously but I keep reading your blog and I think maybe I can do this. thank you Elna πŸ™‚ <3Reply to Nibel
Hey Nibel! Yes, it was my first bad critique and it was awful! Thanks for stopping by!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, thank you for this blog post and many others on your website as they are very helpful and empowering. It is great you decided to share your knowledge and struggle with everyone out there too, inspiring those who are just starting out – like me! πŸ™‚ I admire that you dealt with the negative comment so well, as it was very rude. But I guess that is the risk of going online, as people have no shame when taking someone else’s work down. Keep it up! AnnaReply to Anna
Hi Anna! Thanks so much for stopping by! So happy this post resonated with you. Yes, that person was quite rude for sure! I’m so happy that it didn’t stop me from being a freelance writer!!!Reply to Elna
Thanks so much for this, Elna. I am just starting out professionally in freelance writing, and this is just a perfect dose. I’ve checked out a few other posts on your website about freelance writing, and they’ve all been amazingly helpful. This, particularly, crowns it all and breaks all my fears and worries about getting started.Reply to Samuel
Hi Elna, This post is really one for the book. I don’t even want to open the can of worms of where we got this plague called doubt from and why we sometimes allow it to sideline us. But I do want to give you a shout out and congratulate you on being a rock star. One of the things that came up while I was reading was, “How on earth am I going to help people make money with their blogs and I can’t do it with mine?” Then I smirked and recognized it for what it was…. Doubt. Man! Ignorance can really play tricks on our minds. Anyways thanks as always for your great insight and to everyone who seconded and reiterated everything you said, many thanks.Reply to Joette
Hey Joette! Glad you read this post. I know I mentioned it in the email conversations we had. Yes doubt creeps in all the time. Believe in yourself and be confident. Businesses seek us as the experts. So you only need to know a little bit more about content than your client.Reply to Elna
It’s rare that I read an article that I love as much as this one. You’ve captured so much about the freelancer’s journey. I especially loved the part about seeing your work as a service. I had a similar aha moment when I realized that it’s so much better to build business relationships with an intent to help than an attempt to sell.Reply to Daniela
Hi Daniela, Yes, thinking about how you can help prospects instead of thinking this is a potential for a profit, helps build those long term relationships with your clients. Thanks for stopping by! ElnaReply to Elna
Hi Elna, Good work, keep it up. I enjoy reading your posts on LinkedIn. “Find Out the One Thing That Can Ruin Your Freelance Writing Career”-this post is particularly close to me as I went through the same experiences as a freelancer. Thank you for all the tips shared. Blogging is still new to me. I have a blog which you could check out. Happy Thanksgiving.Reply to Kashmira
Hi Kashmira I’m sorry to hear that you went through similar experiences as a freelancer. I’m hear to help you offer advice and tips whenever you need it! Thanks for visiting and I’ll be sure to check out your blog and comment!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna , This is Great Article and Superb Information , Great post Elna! I think you’ve expressed what a lot of writers go through. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Keep it Up , Regard JassicaReply to Jassica
Hi Jassica! Thanks for leaving a comment on my site! I’m glad you enjoyed my post and realized that you should never let naysayers get you down! I learned that the hard way. I hope I helped you out!Reply to Elna
Hi Elna, Bless your heart, how dare that jerk be so mean. Want to know a secret? The same thing happened to me. I was posting years ago in forums taking the advice I had been given and told to “just be helpful”. I was green, didn’t know that much but darn it I was going to try. Those people in forums are so extremely rude. They cut you like a knife to the point that I’ve never been back to a forum since. Oh but it wasn’t just one either, I think I visited back then around three different ones. People can just be so mean. I started second guessing myself too. Like you though, I didn’t quit. I also have to say Allison is spot on as well. It can’t be about you, it has to be how you can help others. We are a “me” society and people want to know how you can help them. You do that and they’ll pay attention to you. You don’t and you’re just spinning your wheels. I love your advice here and I’m glad what I share on my blog was helpful even though I’m not a freelance writer. I’m just little ole me sharing my thoughts and hoping others find it helpful. So glad you did. Thank you Elna for the mention again and I’m so glad you’re still here and doing well. Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving. ~AdrienneReply to Adrienne
Adrienne Thanks every so much for stopping by and leaving a comment! I value your input and words of wisdom! I’m surprised you received negative comments on forums! The Engagement Superstar and all πŸ™‚ I think being a writer makes you vulnerable to criticism because you feel you are leaving a little bit of you whenever you write. You feel, then, that when they criticize your writing, they are essentially criticizing you. I had, and am still learning, to stop thinking this way and start thinking that if people don’t like my writing, then they don’t like my writing, end of story. I still value other people’s input and feedback so I still hang around LinkedIn forums and recently just joined Triberr. We will see what kind of feedback I get from the Tribes! I’m glad you liked my advice and I’m sorry that I thought you were a freelance writer. You’re a wonderful blogger and I’m learning a lot from you. Thanks for everything you’ve done for the blogging community! Have a happy Thanksgiving as well! (I’m in Canada so had ours in October!)Reply to Elna
Great post Elna! I think you’ve expressed what a lot of writers go through. Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Most of those who comment on my posts are positive and friendly, but I have had a few trolls over the years. I remember dealing with one particular commenter several years ago. He seemed determined to put me down, no matter what I said. I went back and forth with him several times, until finally I clicked through on the link to his blog. When I saw it (and its poor quality), I immediately realized the problem. It changed my perspective entirely. Rather than being upset by his comments, I felt sorry for him. I stopped responding to his negative comments and he stopped leaving them. Anyway, hang in there. You’re doing great. πŸ™‚Reply to Laura
Hi Laura Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my post! I’m glad you enjoyed and think my post is great! Yay! Most of my comments and feedback I’ve gotten have been wonderful, but this particular person that I mentioned in this post, really got to me. I never thought someone might think I was fake and I certainly didn’t think my writing was “junk food” writing. Oh well, I’ve learned to not pay attention to those naysayers. I get more confident with each blog post I write and with each blog post from other freelance writers I read! Thanks again Laura! You’re posts are extremely helpful to me and I’ve learned so much from reading them.Reply to Elna
I needed to hear all of this. I have been freelancing for many years and need to move up to the next step. Your blog is just what I need right now to move forward. Thank you so much.Reply to Carol
Thanks so much Carol! I’m glad you read my post and felt it will help you out in your career. Freelance writing is cut throat and you definitely need to have a thick skin for this business. The best advice I can give you is to over come your fear and any doubts you have by putting yourself out that and facing your fears. You will get rejected and you will lose clients and you might even embarrass yourself. But once you do all that, what’s left? Only to learn from your mistakes and become better at what you do! Good luck and if you want, you can sign up for my newsletter and get a free guide to: 8 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Email When Pitching to ClientsReply to Elna
Elna, this is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, helpful posts I’ve read in a while. It addresses many of the emotions that freelancers often endure as they attempt to build up their name and their business. What I found particularly “funny” was the error that the LinkedIn troll made in his/her comment: “lets” instead of “let’s” (let us). You should have pointed out this error to him/her! I would have. πŸ˜‰ Congratulations on moving past your initial fears and rejections. You have what it takes to be a good freelancer: determination, skills, and spunk. Nice post!Reply to Lorraine
Thanks Lorraine! I’m glad you enjoyed my post! Having doubt in your abilities is truly paralyzing. Once you can overcome this, though, then the sky is the limit! I’m learning to have a tough armor and not to think too much into negative comments, especially when they are personal. Although I still have doubts, I’m doing my best to not let it get to me. Usually for me, when it’s something new, there is great apprehension. Once I can step over that hurdle, then it becomes easier. Thanks again!Reply to Elna
Guess who my Sunday Re-blog is =) Nice Post- I admit I only skimmed it, but as a content writer, you already knew I was going to do that, so you made the important stuff bold right? j/k so I’m going to stalk you on linkedin and hopefully we can work together building each other up. I like your messages, and believe there’s plenty of work to go around-let’s build not destroy!Reply to jenn
Hey Jenn! Thanks for the Sunday re-blog! Love it! And I approve of the stalking πŸ™‚Reply to Elna