Not Everyone Will Like Your Writing — And That’s Okay

If you think you suck — you probably don’t. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I’ve been writing professionally as my full-time job for more or less five years. I keep getting paid, so I must be doing something right. I keep getting new clients, so, again, I must be doing something right. And yet, anytime a new client or an almost-client says that they don’t want to proceed with a client-freelancer relationship, I feel the sting.

If you’ve ever shared your writing with another human being than you probably know the feeling (unless, you’ve only ever received glowing feedback, in which case, go away).

During those moments when you start to doubt your credibility, here are some things to remember.

1. Not Everyone Will Love You

We all want to hear it, but it’s not realistic to expect it from everybody. Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

I have to remind myself that not everyone will like my writing — and that’s okay. You can’t be all things to all people. Your writing style is unique to you. Just like not everyone will love you as a person, not everyone will love your writing.

The key is to find the people who DO love your writing and who DO love you. They’re out there, I promise. Even if it feels like they’re few and far between, it could just be that you have a very niche writing style. Some of the best writers in history have had very niche writing styles.

It’s okay if someone doesn’t like your writing or you. It says nothing about you or your skills.

2. It Might Not Be About You

That person who turned down your work might think you’re a fine writer. They could have no issue with your grammar or sentence structure or style overall.

There are a million reasons why you might receive a rejection.

Maybe your style just isn’t what that client publishes or needs at the moment (they might very well need you in the future). Maybe the client ran out of budget and can no longer pay a writer. Maybe the client decided to do the work in-house.

There are endless reasons you might receive the dreaded “we’re going to pass on further work” email. Don’t immediately think the reason is your potentially subpar writing skills.

3. There’s (Usually) Always More Than One Decision Maker

Sometimes an a-hole named Chet with wavy hair comes in and decides to fire all the freelancers. It happens to the best of us. Photo by Icons8 team on Unsplash

Earlier in the year, I received an email from a client saying that they were ending my contract. No reason, no notice. I was furious and my confidence took a hit. I’d worked with this client many times in the past. They were right in my niche. They’d loved my deliverables previously. So what gives? Was that one little piece I’d turned in most recently just suddenly crap?

I sent them an email telling them that I’d be happy to make any changes they wanted, even rewrite the last piece entirely or talk further about why I’d made certain copy decisions.

My client contact then told me why they’d canceled. Turns out, there was a new decision maker in town and they wanted to hire someone they knew to do all of their freelance content. My contact was moving to a new company and they’d reach out to me when they were in their new position.

Remember, as a freelancer, you most likely don’t know the office politics occurring behind the scenes. Sometimes you could have a great relationship with someone and then a new person comes in out of the blue and changes everything up (which is why you should never rely on one major client exclusively).

4. Look at the Big Picture

If you have regular work from a variety of clients and you have plenty of clients who DO love what you do, don’t let one client that doesn’t like your work get you down. Focus on continuing to make your current clients happy and continue looking for new clients that seem like a good fit. At the end of the day, one client (or even two or three!) who just isn’t a good fit won’t make or break your career.

Holly Riddle is a freelance travel and food journalist who dabbles in fiction. She can be reached at holly.ridd@gmail.com. Her website is hollyriddle.org and her twitter handle is @TheHollyRiddle.

Travel journalist, full-time freelancer. Passionate about non-traditional careers. Published thousands of non-fiction articles and not one word of fiction.