How to Keep Moving Forward When Your Confidence Wanes

5 minute read

Whether you’re a brand-new writer looking for your first client, or you’ve been at this for a while…

You’re going to need a constant supply of confidence to reach out to clients, promote yourself, and, yes, write!

But, as I’ve found in my 15 years of writing for money, confidence isn’t something you “have” or “have not.”

It’s more like an ocean tide…

Sometimes it crashes on the shore, heaving entire trees onto the beach, bringing a bounty of life and energy along with it.

Maybe a client raved about your latest project. Maybe you made some progress on your LinkedIn page. Whatever it is, you’re surfing a HUGE confidence wave. And, it feels like you can do anything.

But then, you wake up the next day, and… it’s gone.

Maybe you reached out to a client and never heard back. Or, someone you’re working with decided to “change directions” on the project, and they no longer need your services.

Suddenly, rather than surfing bodacious waves, you’re alone on a dry beach with a few strands of seaweed and a dead crab.

On those days, writing so much as a grocery list can feel like a struggle. And, reaching out to clients? Forget it!

You may even wonder if you chose the right profession…

But deep down, you know you can do this. It’s just that the tides come and go – and they tend to wash you along with them.

No matter what, your confidence level will continue to go in and out like the tide, for years to come.

The trick is not getting pulled back and forth with that tide.

So, how do you keep moving forward when you get no for an answer…

Or, hear nothing at all?

Here are three steps I use to stay positive and productive, even when my confidence tide goes out:

1. Never take anything personally – ever!

two men in suit sitting on sofa
Photo by Austin Distel

Listen, in my 15 years as an in-house writer, I’ve been a fly on the wall at countless marketing meetings… copy kickoff calls… and editorial planning sessions.

And, let me just say, marketing teams are like middle schoolers driving bumper cars. They change directions constantly!

The marketing calendar shifts. Products get shelved. New ideas spring up… and everyone gets so excited about them, everything else is suddenly pushed to the back burner.

But 99.9% of the time, those directional changes have nothing to do with the writer.

If a client or potential client tells you they’re “changing directions” with a project, or they want to try “existing copy” first…

The second your brain starts to tell you it’s because they don’t like your writing or they’re not sure you’ve got what it takes…

Stop your brain right there.

Take a breath.

And hear me when I say, it’s most likely for their own reasons… reasons that have nothing to do with you!

So, now that we’ve cleared that up… what do you do when that happens?

That leads us to step 2…

2. Move on.

low-angle photography of man in the middle of buidligns
Photo by Razvan Chisu

It sounds so obvious. But sometimes, you have to consciously do this.

Maybe a client tells you no. Or, they simply don’t respond when you reach out.

What do you do at that point?

Do you put everything else on hold and wait to see what will happen?

Do you keep reaching out and suggesting you’re the best option?

Do you shove a giant cookie into your mouth and go scrub the kitchen for an hour? (One of my personal favorite “fixes.”)


You simply move on.

Eat the cookie, if you must!

But then, turn your attention elsewhere.

Spend some time looking for a new client. Building a skill. Writing a blog post for yourself. Or tweaking your LinkedIn profile.

Often, when a project doesn’t work out, it’s for the best – after all, maybe there’s something better waiting for you just around the corner.

And, if you need ideas, revisit your Digital Copywriter Toolkit, which will show you how to write and price the 12 most in-demand projects.

If you’re a Digital Copywriter member, you’ll find it on the Digital Copywriter Resource page.

(If not, you can get it for free, when you try out membership here.)

3. Lean on your fellow writers.

Friends at the beach, having fun - Making an Emotional connection

At times, self-promotion can feel like you’re “shouting into the void.” Especially if you’ve recently reached out to a potential client who never got back to you.

And, it’s easy to get “in your own head” when you’re all alone, staring at a blinking cursor.

Yes, writers tend to write alone… but maybe because of that, we also form amazing, close-knit communities to support one another.

If you haven’t spent any time finding a few close writer friends or getting involved in our members-only Digital Copywriter community set aside some time this week to start. (If you’re a Digital Copywriter member, and you haven’t joined our Facebook community yet, you’ll find the instructions on how to do that on your myAWAI page.)

Simply sharing how you’re feeling with your community will help you remember you’re not alone.

And, you may get some great tips from fellow writers who’ve been there and found a solution.

You could even run some of your writing by them to see what they think. Which helps build confidence AND skills.

And, of course, when you have something to celebrate, sharing it with fellow writers who can cheer you on will help bolster you for the next bump in the road.

Our Digital Copywriter community is pre-loaded with friendly writers of all levels who love to answer questions and cheer each other on.

But you could also find a local writer group that meets up in-person. (Try MeetUp to see what’s in your neck of the woods.) Or, find a fellow AWAI friend on LinkedIn.

Friends and family don’t always understand what you’re going through as a writer – either the trials or the victories.

But your writer community does. And, that’s a powerful thing.

So, whether you’re surfing the big waves right now, or waiting for the tide to come back in…

Always know you’re valuable. You have something to offer. And, if one client doesn’t want it… another one will.

It just takes time and the willingness to keep going. When you do that, eventually things fall into place, you start landing clients, and you find yourself riding high on a confidence wave more often than not.