Growing up I went to a small church. We met twice on Sundays, one time on Wednesday, and showed up any other time the doors were opened. It was a very traditional southern church. One of the many traditions we ascribed to was having a ‘special’ at each service. This meant that someone sang a solo each service – typically with a backup track. My mom was a regular on the rotation and my sisters and I would get up there from time to time as well.
There were a couple of other people in our church that spent a fair amount of time on stage singing and I often wondered if they were hearing themselves clearly. I secretly questioned if they were tone deaf because they could never quite hit the right notes. It was painful to listen to but they kept getting up there to sing week after week.
The fact that they could sound so bad but believe they sounded good often made me question if I was hearing myself correctly. This same thing can happen in other areas of life as well. If you are starting to think about a career in writing, doubt can easily creep in. You may start to question your writing abilities and wonder if you are good enough to write online for pay.
There are a few things you can do to fight back against your doubts and figure out if you have what it takes to get paid to write online.
Let others read your work (and accept feedback)
One way to determine if you are good enough to write online for pay is to let others read your work. I’m not talking about your mom here! You need to have someone who can give you an informed and honest opinion about the quality of your writing.
If you know someone who is somehow involved in marketing or writing online, start with them. Offer to write something for a project they are working on for free. Doing it this way will be a win-win because you can get some feedback on your writing and they will (hopefully) have some content they can use.
Think about the people in your circle of friends, family, and acquaintances – is there someone who sticks out as particularly savvy when it comes to social media and technology in general? This type of person has likely read a lot of content online. He or she will be able to tell if your style fits with the type of content typically found online.
Another way to get others to read your work and provide feedback is to start posting your writing online. You can do this by creating a free blog on WordPress. Ask your readers for their opinion on the style, readability, and quality of your writing.
Learning to take feedback is an important part of being successful as a writer online. You will get feedback from clients, editors, and readers once you start writing and publishing content online. But it is also important to remember that you can be a great writer and still get negative feedback. Do not put all of your hopes and dreams in the hands of one person. Take the feedback that is constructive and use it to make changes and move forward toward your goal.
Submit samples of your work
Submitting samples of your work to the people who are hiring writers is another way to determine if you are good enough to write online for pay. You can write query letters to places you are interested in writing for and provide links to samples of your writing. Some places may never respond and others may reject you outright, but you will likely find a few who will provide you with feedback on your work.
Dealing with rejection as you search for writing jobs
You are going to face rejection as you search for writing jobs – no matter how well you write. Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers around but he faced rejection after rejection when he was starting out. He chronicles his journey in his memoir On Writing. I highly recommend it even if you are not a fan of his fiction. (The link I provide for the book is an affiliate link – if you follow it and make a purchase I will get a commission). I have been writing professionally for years and I still get rejected from projects from time to time. The reality is that your style is not going to work for every single project.
You need to get comfortable with the idea of rejection as you start the process of looking for work online. Not getting hired for a particular job could mean that your writing isn’t up to par, but it could also mean that your style is simply different than what they are looking for or that you were beat out by a more experienced writer.
Here’s the deal – struggling with doubts about your writing abilities is part of the process of becoming a professional writer. You will not know for sure if you are good enough to write online for pay until you start getting paid to write online. I’ve been doing this for years and I still get nervous every time I start working with a new client. I wonder if I will meet their expectations and have to fight through my own doubts and fears to get the work finished.
I’m part of the praise team at the church we go to now. I had to audition to be on the team but I still have times when I question my abilities and wonder if I am hearing myself clearly. It is a struggle that I am familiar with at this point. Ultimately, the struggle is worth it because singing is something I enjoy and want to do. When it comes to writing, you must decide for yourself if building a career doing something you love is worth dealing with the doubt the will inevitably come up.
There are a lot of people who are great writers but do not know how to write in a style that works for online content. If you think that is you, consider getting training specifically for writing online content. If you want to write website copy or create online content for businesses it is different than the type of writing you did in your college composition class. I go over this and much more in my training guide The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. You can learn more about the guide and find other resources here.
The only way to figure out if you really have what it takes to be a writer online is to get started writing online. There’s a place in the world for you…let’s find it.
If you are ready to get serious about writing online, check out my training program The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Writing Online and Getting Paid. In this guide, I go over everything you need to know to get started building a career writing online. To get the latest on this and other projects, sign up for the email list and I will keep in touch.