I’m getting ready to attend a writers’ conference, and by “getting ready” I mean freaking out. Self-doubt has arrived with a ginormous suitcase full of reasons why I’ll end up humiliating myself.
At some point during the conference I’ll have the opportunity to pitch my book idea to an agent or editor, and right now I have a serious case of “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome. I’ve spent so much time trying to get each branch and leaf just right that it’s a challenge to shift my focus and let the individual trees flow together again. How do I take a 79,000 word manuscript and narrow it down to one or two perfect sentences that will interest an agent or editor?
Self-doubt keeps saying my pitch is so bad that even my mom wouldn’t be interested in my manuscript. I can’t help but wonder why I decided to pursue a career in an industry that hands out rejections the way Chinese restaurants hand out fortune cookies.
The answer is that I love to write. I can’t not write, and I need to remember that meeting agents and editors is only a small part of the conference. Most of my time will be spent learning from the publishing industry’s rock stars and hanging out with people who love writing just as much as I do. For a couple of days, I will eat, sleep, and breathe writing. I get to shirk my responsibilities and focus on the thing I love most. How many people can do that and still call it work?
So I’ll do my best to prepare and try to keep things in perspective. But just in case self-doubt intends to tag along, I’m planning to slip a little something into its carry-on right before we hit security screening.
©2013 Kim Vandel