The first thing I notice is my heart rate accelerates. My palms sweat and my breathing becomes erratic and shallow. I feel an anxiety attack coming on and I haven’t had one for years. Where’s the paper bag?
What could possibly be causing such a disturbing reaction? Would it be the live pitch? The manuscript presentation I am expected to have ready for workshops or conferences. And this pitch that I so carefully prepare, practice, and perform is the magical ticket to copious manuscript requests from agents and editors, right?
I just want to be a writer, but now I am also required to be a pitch artist. And I must prepare to pitch my manuscript at the RWA conference, where I will admit, I should be able to interest at least a few agents or editors being that I am a Golden Heart finalist, right? At least, that is what I keep telling myself.
My poor crit partner had to talk me down off the ledge I got so worked up over this pitching business. Even her “Suck it up, buttercup” attitude fails to rattle me out of this strange pitch anxiety that periodically overwhelms me. Or is it shyness? It feels like it needs Xanex. Am I shy? I guess I’m on the reclusive side, I’m a writer, not an actor.
Then, one of my sister GH Finalists recommends a book. SELLING YOUR STORY IN 60 SECONDS. Whew! You mean it could be over in a minute? I could be in and out of my pitch in sixty measly seconds. I have to admit, I saw a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
All this angst started when I heard what the pitch sessions are like at the RWA Nationals. Writers are collected outside the door to the pitch room and marched in single file. Then you find the agent or editor you signed up with (hope they have name cards). I suppose you introduce yourself first and chat a bit. That could take up another twenty or thirty seconds. Then you pitch. Now there are three and a half minutes left (remember, my pitch is sixty seconds). I would hope the agent or editor might ask a few questions to indicate their interest. Then again, they might just be being polite. Or killing time until the next pitch arrives.
Be prepared, in the upcoming weeks, I am planning to practice my pitch (in writing) here on the blog. I am going to ask for advice and feedback. I am going to traffic everyone I know to this site for a critique. This is the way I deal with anxiety. I just wear it down. If I work on the script enough and practice enough, I will wring every last anxiety ridden moment out of the pitch.
Do you have pitch anxiety? If so, please share your angst and your tips, please!
G. Jillian Stone
There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.
Jillian is a recent Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com