Freelance Writers and the Fear of Money and Success

by anne on July 4, 2006

About Freelance Writing – the response kicked off this blog.

It’s all about what you believe about yourself

Over in our forum, Barb asked if I had ever written about freelance writers and the fear of money. I hadn’t, but as I watched the thread develop, I saw some themes, including fear of success, fear of talking about money, fear of making money, etc. etc. etc.

Of course, not every freelance writer has a fear of success or a fear of making money – far from it. But several people, including me, identified.

Money and Self Esteem

I don’t know how it happens, but for many of us, money – our ability to earn it, our right to have it, our very thinking about the whole subject – gets hooked with our self-esteem or self-worth. Generally, at some deep level, we don’t think we’re enough, or we don’t think we’re deserving. Some of this, maybe even most probably comes out of childhood; other pieces come from society’s messages about self-worth and money.

For the freelance writer, this lack of true self esteem often results in:

  • not recognizing and accepting our talents as writers

  • not charging enough for our work

  • not following through with invoicing and other money management necessities

  • not following through with potential clients

Any of these symptoms, and many more, result in under earning, also known in some circles as self-debting.

You Are Not Alone With Money Crazies

If money makes you crazy, the first thing to recognize is you’re not alone! You’re not crazy, either, although it sure seems like it sometimes.

Implicit in recognizing you’re not alone is also the acceptance that you’ve got a problem. Denial, or waiting for the big score won’t solve it.


There are all sorts of solutions to lack of self-worth and it’s resultant money problems. Sometimes just naming it and talking it through with a close friend is enough to create a shift. Often, however, more specific action is required.

My own approach is through Debtors Anonymous – yep, another 12 Step Program, and yep, I’m breaking anonymity… but I’ll never break yours. DA doesn’t deal only with debt, but also addresses debt causes and under earning is certainly one cause of debt.

Professional help is also available and can certainly be worth the price. And there are professional counselors who are well equipped to help you deal with money issues.

Fear of money, fear of success, self-esteem and self worth issues won’t go away simply by wishing they would… I know. Reaching out, however you choose to do it, is the solution. My suggestion is simply go for it.

Write well and often,

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Devon Ellington July 4, 2006 at 2:57 pm

You’re so right about this!

While I find 12-Step programs do not work for me, personally (too much structure), I think some of the techniques they teach can be applied to many things–espeically the money and esteem issues you talk about.

anne July 4, 2006 at 5:18 pm

thanks Devon 😉

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