Let’s talk about pushing beyond your comfort zone.
If there’s one thing a writer will HAVE to do at some point in their career, whether it’s at the beginning or once established, it will be pushing past the comfort zone and taking a chance. Doing something that puts you in the spotlight can be – difficult.
- Pitching face-to-face
- talking to industry professionals
- promoting yourself
- blog tours
- the list will go on and on and on…
Can you say nervous?!?
But it has to be done. It’s part of the process in learning/refining/perfecting the craft of writing. Whether it’s approaching your first pitch session, your first blog post, joining a crit group or entering a contest. All of these things can make the blood pressure soar. I’ve submitted, entered and queried a few times (well maybe more than a few, okay a lot more than a few), and to this day, I STILL hover over the send button for a while, gripped with anxiety.
More recently, I attended an online pitch workshop called PITCH UNIVERSITY.
Now not only is there WONDERFUL info here, but Diane Holmes (the leading PitchU Guru) has a fantastic line-up of industry professionals who are more than willing to help you learn how to pitch. Interacting, commenting, guiding us as aspiring authors, to refine our pitches into amazing hooks. And – you guessed it – she had to push beyond her comfort zone to set PitchU up and get all the great peeps to come visit.
I was completely caught up in the experience and wonderful support and advice. Enough that I took the plunge and entered a VIDEO pitch.
Ugh. Video. How’s my hair?
This could NOT have been more outside my comfort zone. I wrote, re-wrote, and re-re-wrote my pitch SO many times it started to sound wrong no matter how I tried to say it. (I was shocked at how many times I cursed when I’d mess up. Label me Ensign Wall because evidently I’ve got some sailor in me somewhere.) So I ditched the script and went with my conversational pitch. I knew this was a learning experience, so I just did it. After fifty some odd retakes, I slapped it on You Tube, copied the link and sent it off before I could rethink my decision.
Here’s attempt numbero uno: (I’m hiding my face in my hands – UGH)
NOT good! Oh, not good at all. With some super comments from other attendees, Diane and Christine Witthohn, I tried again! This time the kids were home so I had to curb the cursing and replace it with a lot of stomping feet and OMG’s. This of course got the kidlets to thinking mom was crazy and I had to bribe them with ice cream NOT to tell friends and family – or the school counselor.)
Here’s the second attempt:
Okay, better. Right? RIGHT?!? That one only took me 42 tries, a whole bar of chocolate and some serious jumping up and down in frustration. BUT, I got much better results and found an awesome comparison line to use in my final pitch.
Here’s the final – finally.
So that was my step/leap/vault outside the comfort zone (and hey, so is today since I’m posting these for all of you). There have been many times I’ve had to do something that made my stomach knot, and I’m sure there are tons still to come. It’s all a matter of taking fear by the throat and choking it into silence. Go for it, take a chance, put yourself out there. Sometimes the rewards are huge, sometimes they are small, but in each instance, we learn something.
Care to share what you’ve done that was out of YOUR comfort zone?
We’d love to hear about it.