As I wrote in the previous post, I feel three distinct emotions about this profession: frustration, fear, and vulnerability. Last week I shared some of my professional - and quick to turn personal - frustrations about freelancing. I didn't think it would resonate with too many people, but it turned out I didn't give my experiences - nor my writing - enough credit. This dearth of recognising the value and quality of my work inspired this post. Here, I share a few of the fears I have about freelancing. And, of course, I also offer a few personalised solutions to manage them.
Since I launched The Freelancing Quill, it's been a struggle to plan, create, and post my content onto platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn because I'm scared of judgement. I know it's entirely likely that people could like my work - even enough to hire me - but there's a little voice in my mind that's loud in the same way the people we dislike are. And this voice tells me that I'm not good enough, and that my writing is no better than it was before I began freelancing, and that the "C" I scored on my final English exam really shows.
"Do it live!" isn't a philosophy I had a name for before two dear friends shared it with me last year.
Honestly, I haven't found a way to completely silence the inner - or outer - critic(s) yet. And experience has taught me that it's not worth the effort. However, over the years, I have made a habit of mentally and physically walking past such voices in life. And it turned out that whenever I make the effort to so, there are people who show their support and express their admiration for the work I'm doing. I wear my heart on my sleeve and confidently stride towards the goal I set for myself. This, I'm proud to share, has never failed me.
"Shraddha, you've got to bite the bullet."
Also, after having self-induced a social media detox while writing my Masters thesis last year, I felt strange about having to share my work online. Writing posts, full of excitement and energy, felt a tad contrived at best. I was afraid of how it would be seen by others. Especially the professional freelancers, and those few professionals who think themselves a worthy judge of budding freelancers. It's not always the case that others are bringing me down, but rather that I'm doing that to myself. And that needs to stop. As I shared in my first post as a full-time freelancer, I've got to be my own hype-person.
The imposter syndrome was and still is, so real. When I reached out to other founders of emerging businesses - especially women of colour - all of them said they felt the same way. They rallied around me, uplifted my spirit, and then firmly told me, "Shraddha, you've got to bite the bullet."
So, as I venture into the unknown depths of using social media to promote my work, I'd like to share my three-step plan to encourage myself and Just Post It:
Step One: Accept that Capitalism is how the world works (for now)
Social media is a double-edged sword because while it helps promote and showcase creative work, it creates a toxic culture of constantly desiring others' validation that I hate with every cell in my body. There is no easy answer here. I'm just going to have to roll with it. In this regard, I choose to use this double-edged sword in moderation.
Step Two: Use The Feelings Like A Lens.
I'm going to let my feelings about each thing I want to share online refine my writing process. I have found that when I allow myself to write using my emotions as a guide, I often get to examine firsthand why I feel a certain way about an issue. In the same way, I hope to rely on this experience of examining my emotions through the main one I'm feeling so that I can allow that refinement to reflect in the captions, tweets, and posts I put out into the ether.
Step Three: Do it live!
I take great comfort in the fact that I'm allowed to use social media and the 45th P.O.T.U.S isn't.
"Do it live!" isn't a philosophy I had a name for before two dear friends shared it with me last year. They weren't sure how a work-related email would land with their senior colleague, but because they had each other they seemed to feel brave about the whole thing and decided to just hit 'Send'*.
Similarly, I'm going to remind myself to just hit 'Send', because, at the end of the day, I am my own hype-person, and I believe in the value of my work. Also, I'm a lot braver because of all my fellow founders and women in power who rally around me every day.
I hope you find your support and remind yourself that you can do this too.
*The email landed well enough, and they remain employed at the company to this day.