Mind Hack: How To Talk Yourself Into Becoming A Better Paid Writer

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Do you really want to become a well-paid freelance writer? 

The obvious answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!” However, sometimes writers don’t always think and act in ways that put them closer to being well-paid. It often comes down to a battle between one’s conscious and subconscious.

Let’s say a writer consciously wants to get paid a fair wage. They’d also like a work schedule that allows for some semblance of a social life. Lastly, they’re hoping for a full-time freelance career. These are what he or she wants. Unfortunately, the writer works for peanuts, spends long hours typing away, yet still struggles to make ends meet.

hack your brain as a freelancer to earn more money

What gives? Well, subconsciously this writer might be sabotaging him or herself. Subconsciously they are afraid not to take any job that’s offered — regardless of the abysmal pay. This person could have mental blocks that make him or her afraid to even consider raising their minimum pay rate. Sure, they WANT to earn more, but they NEED to change their thinking to make it happen.

If you find yourself facing a similar reality, the answer is clear: You need to hack your brain. By changing your thinking, you could find yourself earning far more money than ever before!

“Our mentality becomes our reality.” – Billy Cox

The above quote is a very powerful one — and also quite accurate. It’s the rather simplistic definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We even train ourselves to view that phrase negatively. But as Psychology Today writer Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D. observes, a self-fulfilling prophecy can also work in our favor. As Kaufman writes, “Our expectation that we will see a particular outcome changes our behavior, which shapes the way others see us. In turn, others provide the feedback we’ve set ourselves up to get, which serves to reinforce the original belief.”

Let’s apply the above to wanting to be a well-paid writer, but suffering from undesirable outcomes:
  • You feel that you aren’t being paid fairly
  • You believe that it’s unrealistic to get paid more
  • You expect disappointing job offers
  • You take low-paying job offers
  • Your belief is fulfilled by accepting those offers
  • You earn far less than you want
  • You feel that you aren’t being paid fairly…

…And so the cycle continues.

4 Ways To Break The Cycle And Make More Money!


1.) Have a minimum pay rate — but ask for the maximum whenever possible!
first step to getting paid more

Too often, writers treat their desired pay rate as the ceiling rather than the floor! You shouldn’t be aspiring to earn $0.10 per word; that should be where you start. A FIRM minimum rate means you’re at least making what you need to get by.

Apply for jobs that at least offer your preferred minimum. If you’re asked to name your rate, announce a number GREATER than what your minimum is, and allow yourself to be negotiated no lower than that amount. Whenever possible, you should get used to asking for and expecting greater pay than your current ideal rate. Why? Because as you gain experience and skills, your value naturally increases. Shouldn’t your income increase, too?

A minimum rate will also help keep low-paying job offers out of your line of sight. You’ll find yourself much freer to focus on and accept the better-paying opportunities you want.

2.) Don’t be ruled by fear

when fear causes freelance writers to earn less

One of my favorite quotes about fear comes by way of Frank Herbert’s Dune, and the Bene Gesserit litany against fear. “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”

Fear can be an extremely toxic emotion at times. It can keep us locked in place, unable to think and incapable of taking action. “The mind-killer.” It is a “little death” that kills us slowly with each passing day, eventually bringing “total obliteration” to any chance of happiness.

If you wish to be a happy, well-paid freelance writer nothing you think or do should be from a place of FEAR! Don’t take a job because you’re afraid of not having enough money. Don’t stay at a job you have because you’re fearful of what could happen without it. I’ve made decisions while mentally being in both places. Take it from me — the only thing acting through fear does is leave you an anxious, unhappy mess!

Anything you do should be with the belief that (1) you deserve happiness (2) the actions are steps in the direction of your personal happiness and (3) everything is always working in your favor.

3.) Reject emotional manipulation

when freelance writing clients use emotional manipulation

This subject definitely deserves — and will get! — its own blog post in the future. Some people genuinely do believe that they should get the best possible writers for the job while also aiming to pay these people peanuts. To justify these antics, the would-be clients might use forms of manipulation.

These people say things like, “Don’t expect to get rich doing this!” or “We intend to pay more in the future…” These are HIGHLY manipulative statements, but for two different reasons.

“Don’t expect to get rich doing this!” =“Don’t expect me to pay you more than this paltry amount!”

“We intend to pay more in the future…” = We can’t afford to pay you, please feel sorry for us and accept less!”

The first statement attacks your aspirations and figuratively knocks you down a few pegs. Meanwhile the second offers no explicit promises while triggering your sense of compassion.

Many writers are sensitive, compassionate people by nature. Some are even prone to searching for fault within rather than rejecting emotionally abusive or manipulative remarks by current or potential employers. Ridding one’s self of this type of mentality is CRUCIAL if you ever want to be treated with the respect you deserve.

4.) Make positive thinking a life-long habit

freelance writers should think positively


Finally, to bring it all the way to self-fulling prophecies, Psychology Today’s Kaufman notes that writers are “just as susceptible” as anyone else:

If you believe your project is strong and feel confident about it, you will probably write a strong, confident letter…If, by contrast, you are uncertain about your project and its merits, you may have trouble writing an upbeat, engaging letter.”

It all comes down putting to “faith in your project and yourself” as “enthusiasm is contagious.” If you are a confident individual who believes in his or herself, you cannot help but convey that strong belief in EVERYTHING you do. It comes across in how you write. It’s easy to see in your cover letters. Even your resume can scream, “I am totally awesome!”

You have faith that you deserve fair compensation, and so you strive to be paid fairly no matter what. Guess what happens? As you ceaselessly maintain that faith in yourself and your desire to become well-paid, you begin to think and act in ways that move you toward that outcome!

Positivity, which research shows can be a powerful ally in getting what you want, shouldn’t be solely about your freelance writing career. It should touch every aspect of your life. You don’t have to walk around with a smile plastered on your face 24/7. Instead, your instinct should always be to look for the best possible outcome rather than anticipating the worst.

Remember, what you think today will often shape your tomorrow…and how you handle it!


Be honest: Have you better talked yourself out of a better paying job opportunity? Have you talked yourself into accepting low-paying writing jobs? Let’s have an honest conversation about why these things happen and how we can avoid it in the future!

About the Author

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Defend The Pen
Defend The Pen is a website dedicated to reporting the latest writing news and blogging about ongoing trends that impact writers. It also hopes to be of help to writers and bloggers who find themselves at the ends of their collective ropes!

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