WRITING | FREELANCING
Writers, Who Decides Your Worth? Only You!
Don’t let others’ rejection or ignorance change how you value yourself and your writing
Before you can accept your worth as a writer, you first have to accept your worth as a person. That’s something only you can decide. I learned that the hard way while going through one of the toughest periods of my life — confronting racism when I was far away from home.
In my very early 20s I spent a year living in the South of France and for the first time I came face to face with people who made judgments about me based on something I had no control over — the color of my skin. Some were subtle about it; others were obvious.
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I won’t go into detail on all the many experiences of that year, but suffice it to say it was tough. In deciding how I was going to deal with the issue I could have turned the hatred back on the haters. But I didn’t. Instead, I chose to shine a light on the ignorance and dispel some of the misconceptions.
I could also have allowed the haters’ view of me to define how I saw myself. But I didn’t. Even back then I knew my own value as a pretty decent human being — and I wasn’t prepared to let anyone convince me otherwise, even if they didn’t agree.
The thing is, you don’t have to believe about yourself what others believe about you. You’re better than that.
A Writer with Attitude
Bringing it back to the writing life, that attitude has carried through.
- When I decided to go freelance, there were both supporters and detractors. I basked in the support and ignored the detractors — I knew that I could make a success of what I was doing.
- When I got my first gig for a paltry sum, I never NEVER thought that was all I was worth. I gave the same value that I give all my clients. They soon learned to value me as well, and that was reflected in earnings.
- When clients disagreed with my approach, I explained where I was coming from and why what I was doing made sense.
- When people looked at my photo online and made a snap decision that I wasn’t the right person for them, I said ‘their loss’ and moved on.
At no time did I allow rejection or ignorance to define my opinion of myself.
So my lesson is: it’s not only about where you are now, it’s about having a plan for where you are going. It’s about knowing that you have the writing ability. It’s about trading up whenever you can till you get to where you are comfy. And it’s about continuing to do this throughout your life while remaining happy with what you have achieved so far.
An earlier version of this article originally appeared on Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog as part of Writer’s Worth Week.