A few months ago a BIG NAME blog in the writing industry reached out to invite me to write a guest post for them. They said they saw an article I’d written for Copyblogger and they liked my style.
Usually when I get invited to guest post, I just write the post and send it, but they asked me to send an outline first, so they could make sure the post was on track before I wrote the whole thing.
I agreed to it, even though I would normally say, “nope, sorry, that’s not how I work.” I allowed myself to change my style and bow down to how this blog does things, just because they’re a big-name blog.
I knew it was a red flag from the get-go, but I ignored it.
After I sent the revised outline, the editor told me that I needed to do a bunch of research to figure out why people do or don’t do certain things. He also mentioned that I needed to include several things, which I actually did include in my original outline that he told me wasn’t good enough.
(And would have also included in the guest post if I actually got to write it, as I didn’t include every little detail of the post in the outline because, I mean, DUH!)
So, again, I went back and made more changes to the outline, and still, it wasn’t enough. He had more changes. And this was to an outline… I hadn’t even written the damn post yet. (If I had been allowed to just write the post, which is how I work, all of the “concerns” he had would’ve been addressed. But that’s on me for ignoring the red flag in the first place.)
In December I went to spend two days with a client of mine and work on prep for 2018. While I was there, I told her about this guest post and all the hoop-jumping they were making me do, for a piece that THEY CAME TO ME FOR. I told her I saw red flags and like this just didn’t feel like something that was right for me. She agreed and said I had to do me, as I usually would.
But I let the BIG NAME of this blog and how popular it is push me to believe that my writing style and my way of doing things wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t enough.
So I kept trying to make changes to the outline, but every time I did or even thought about it, I got this horrible feeling inside like, this isn’t right. This isn’t how I do things. This isn’t me.
I procrastinated on getting back to them the third time. I just couldn’t make it sit right with me, so I stopped focusing on it.
Finally this week I decided that it was time to just finish the damn outline and send it to them, one final time. If they still weren’t happy with it, I was done. I spent two days writing the new outline and then yesterday I sent it off.
Today I, again, received an email from them saying it wasn’t “what they were looking for” and they decided not to continue forward. Normally this is something that would’ve gotten me SO down on myself and made me feel like total shit and like I’m not enough and there’s something wrong with me.
I mean, it’s a BIG NAME BLOG… so obviously that equates to meaning they know what they’re doing and they’re always right, right? And I must just be a total failure as a writer (except, wait, didn’t THEY COME TO ME after seeing MY GUEST POST on COPYBLOGGER–one of the BIGGEST writing blogs in the ENTIRE WORLD?).
But this time, I’m SO proud of myself for not caving.
I stuck to my truth, which is that I am a damn good writer and I know what the fuck I’m doing, and just because I didn’t do some research-filled outline that quotes a bunch of science about why people can’t stick with their writing habits, doesn’t mean I don’t know what I’m talking about or that my advice wouldn’t be valuable to their readers.
Here’s what I wrote back to his email:
“That’s totally fine. You guys came to me because you liked my Copyblogger post, which discussed things like mindset and setting intentions, so I assumed you wanted me to write a guest post from my unique perspective and how I’ve created my personal writing habits in the real world, and not just do a bunch of research on what science or other people say works or why it doesn’t work.
So clearly our styles aren’t meshing right anyhow.
Thanks for getting back to me.”
Done and DONE.
On the plus side, since they didn’t take my outline or even let me write the damn guest post to begin with, I’ve now got a killer piece of content I can share with MY audience. YAY!
My post on 11 Ways to Build A Rock-Solid Habit of Writing Every Day will be debuting soon… stay tuned!!!
Remember–no matter what happens in life, you don’t owe anyone anything. You’re allowed to have your own style and do things your own way, and it doesn’t make you bad, wrong or not good enough for not wanting to fall in line with how someone else tells you that you should be or do things.
And if you get red flags or horrible feelings inside about something that should be an opportunity… RUN.
Dream life or bust,
P.S. I just pitched the guest post idea to another big-name writing blog. Because there’s ALWAYS another big-name, there’s always another opportunity and there’s always another door to knock on. #DreamLifeOrBust