Sunday Confessions: It’s not that easy

August 21, 2011

When I write here, the words come easily. Perhaps I am used to the space, my little WordPress home. Perhaps it’s because when I write here, I think of nothing and no one. I write for me and for my thoughts be to put down.

So freelancing should be the same, right? After all, it’s the same idea. Writing down my words and thoughts.

Only it’s much harder.

I can’t seem to get past the fear of doing it all wrong. From the writing to the pitches. For several nights I’d get online and simply stare at the submissions pages of places I wanted to be published in. Reading and rereading what I already knew to do, but convincing myself that I really didn’t. It was perplexing how writing things should all of the sudden become so difficult.

I tried to write it in this space. But then I realized – it’s not the same. I write knowing most of you have an idea of what I’m talking about. Anything unknown can be linked up for clarification.

Not so with freelancing. I have to make it more impersonal, less about me and more about a topic. An idea.

With the pitches, I just worry someone will read mine and think, “What? I don’t even know what this is” and delete it.

Like I would even know.

But still, the thought of pitching something unclear and having their first impression of me be one of my naivety and awkwardness is not something I want. I know I can write what I’m pitching, I know they would like it. However, I have to sell it in 2-4 sentences and that’s where I get stuck.

I keep telling myself I have to start somewhere. I will fail but I’ll learn from my mistakes. If I never do this I will never forgive myself for not trying.

Friday night I sent off my first real, organized pitch. I love the idea I have, I’m not sure I portrayed it correctly but if they don’t accept it, I’ll revamp it and send it again elsewhere. And again. Practice makes perfect right?

I plan on getting rejections. Sharing them here, which stings and is a tad humiliating but everyone gets rejected in writing. J.K. Rowling had Harry Potter rejected 12 times – so really – it’s going to happen to me a lot then.

Can you imagine the regret of the people who turned her down?

I mean, really?

:/

10 Comments

  • Jess

    August 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    You WILL make it happen! Good luck!

  • Allison

    August 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Yay you! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and you should be so proud that you are doing it.

    Don’t worry if you get a rejection or if you simply don’t get a reply to a pitch. Busy editors often file away pitches for future issues and it may take them awhile to actually contact you.

    In the meantime, don’t stop trying! Anything that you think could make a good article, someone else will too — you just have to find the right publication. And don’t worry if your idea isn’t perfect — editors are always looking for fresh ideas and they will help you focus your pitch to their needs. Sending too many pitches is better than too few — who knows when you’ll hit the mark?

    In addition to freelancing, I also edit — so if you would like a little free input or advice on a story, please e-mail me. I had a lot of help when I got started and I’m happy to pay it forward.

    Good luck!!!

  • molly

    August 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Diana – I am going to start seeking freelance jobs too. I’m scared but I know fear never gets anyone very far. If I never try I will never succeed.

    We can always laugh about our rejections together if you would like 🙂

  • Tabetha Smelser

    August 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I just have to say, I am so glad you are sending out pitches and just accepting that worst-case scenario, you get rejected. I really believe that by allowing yourself to think you might get rejected and telling yourself that yeah, it will suck but it will be ok is a great way to do it! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you though! Good luck. 🙂

  • Alyssa

    August 21, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know that about JK Rowling and HP. Crazy!

  • Krista

    August 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Proud of you. That’s a great first step. Fingers and toes are crossed for you.

  • Tracy

    August 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    WooHoo for sending off that first letter. You got this momma! Just keep on trying. You will make it happen!

  • Erika @NAMAmmaSTE

    August 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’m reading The Paris Wife, like you recommended, and I can’t put it down. It struck me how many times Hemingway was rejected and now we all learn about him in school. You are so right about rejection. It only helps you improve. All the great people in every industry succeed because of their unwillingness to give up.

    You are strong and smart and an amazing writer. I have a hard time believing your writing career isn’t going to take off.

  • Veronica

    August 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I *know* you can do it and will support you in any way I can.

  • angela

    August 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Good luck Diana! Getting over the fear seems like the first step (although I can’t seem to talk myself into making that move myself.)

    I can’t wait for the day you can link to something and say: “They said YES, and here it is!!”

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