Welcome to April! We’re kicking off the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge today, so let’s get things off to a good start. How? With an awesome column, that’s how. Who’s going to write it? Why, me of course.Arrogant, you say? Okay, it’s true. But let me clarify.
I was recently teaching a class on how to perfect your pitch to agents and editors. Before we got into the actual text and style of the pitch, we first had to deal with something most people face in the moments leading up to an agent pitch session: extreme nerves. Otherwise known as “stage fright.”
A bad case of stage fright can ruin a pitch. Maybe you stutter or can’t stop your hands from shaking or even forget what you were going to say. My remedy for stage fright is simple: manufacture confidence.
Confidence is like a little bit of magic fairy dust—a little sprinkling can make you fly. Yet, as writers, many of us suffer from a severe lack of confidence. It happens in the moments before an agent pitch session, but also sitting with our fingers poised on home-row, wondering why we can’t write.
How could we not have a lack of confidence? The most successful among us still deal with rejection in one form or another. Maybe it’s an agent rejecting a query, or an editor rejecting a manuscript, or a reader rejects you in the form of a bad review. With so many people telling us we’re not good enough, is it any wonder writers experience a lack of confidence?
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And yes, there is a better path. The confident path.I fully realize that if I was as talented as I wish, I would have been published years ago. I’d be a mainstay on bestseller lists and my calendar would be booked with awards banquets. But if I focus on the rejection, if I focus on the fact that none of that has happened yet, I’m putting myself at a distinct disadvantage. My confidence will suffer. My attitude will suffer. Maybe worst of all, my writing will suffer.
You know those benders we writers sometimes go on? No, not the alcohol and caffeine-fueled benders. The creativity-fueled benders. When we’re amazed that what we’re writing actually came from our mind. We feel like we can do no wrong. In these moments we write our very best material. Why? Because we’re not worrying about who will or won’t like it. We’re not thinking about the potential rejection letters that will come. We’re focused on the writing because we know what we’re writing is of high quality.
In other words, we’re confident.
So, outwardly, be humble. Acknowledge your shortcomings. Don’t pretend to be more than you are. But inwardly? That’s where we need to embrace our amazing, future-bestselling, no-one-can-write-like-me awesomeness.