I learned a valuable lesson today. Two actually.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary, but worth it.
- You have to celebrate the small wins.
I pitched one of my novels during Red Dirt Writers Week through the ASA, and it was one of the most thrilling, exiting, nerve wracking, things I’ve done.
It was done via video conferencing and I had five minutes to chat with the publisher about myself and my novel.
When I first committed to the event, I did so on a whim because I knew if I thought about it too much I’d talk myself out of it.
Weeks passed and it sat at the back of my mind, until the week before when I received the instruction email on how the pitch would happen. It was then that the nerves really kicked in.
I must admit, I almost pulled out. But I didn’t.
Instead, I prepared myself. I knew if I were to have any chance in succeeding I’d need to be well prepared. So, I wrote down my pitch in point form, and using the voice memo app on my phone I recorded myself over and over and over. Even ten minutes before the conference call I was practicing.
When the call came through, my hands were shaking so much I almost couldn’t click on the accept button. From there, it was almost like an out-of-body experience!
I don’t know if it was my faux confidence, or the fact that I knew I’d done all I can to prepare, but I just went for it. The publisher was warm and friendly, and it reminded me that we have something in common – a love of story. She’s not there to kill dreams, simply to find good stories that will sell.
Within the blink of an eye the pitch was over. The feedback was positive and I could breathe again. The rush of emotion was fast and furious.
I may or may not have jumped around the room and made the dog a little anxious and confused.
I’d done it. I’d put myself out there.
Celebrating the small wins in this writing gig is important, because, unfortunately they are few and far between.
That’s why celebrating even the small wins – such as stepping outside of your comfort zone – is essential.
Other small wins worth celebrating are:
- Finishing writing a tough scene or chapter
- Writing The End on a manuscript
- Positive feedback from beta readers
- Short story comp successes – whether it’s just pressing ‘enter’ or being long or short listed or placing.
- Wading through the editing process
- Writing a synopsis – big win just to get it done!
- Sending a query or pitch
- Getting a rejection – (it’s your initiation into the writing world)
And some days, just sitting down and writing is a win in itself!
In the end, you just need to remember why you are doing this. And for most writers, it’s because we love stories.
And if you want to be a writer, especially if you want to receive recognition for your writing, you have to put yourself out there.
You have nothing to lose, and so much to gain.