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Finding Faith

November 27, 2009

In February, I, Sarah, will be attending my first writers conference.
I should be stoked. I’m putting a lot of faith in this event, hoping that the people I meet during Presidents Day Weekend will change my life and writing forever. I even signed up for Agent Speed Dating, where I will be able to pitch my novel face to face with star agents—and let me please emphasize the star part. I’m talking Nathan Bransford, Andrea Brown, and Laurie McLean. For anyone who has ever queried a young adult novel, you know EXACTLY who I am talking about.

I should be excited, but in truth, I am shaking in my boots, nearly having anxiety attacks every time I even think about pitching my book, or even registering, for crying out loud. I can’t do this—mingling through a crowd of agents, editors, and experienced writers and pretend to have confidence—pretend to know exactly what I am doing.

But I have to. I know way too many people who would kill for this opportunity, and I can’t screw it up just because I am nervous.

My question is this: Has anyone ever thought about what would happen if you were riding an elevator in a hotel, the doors open, and your dream agent steps in? Would you confront them and give them a twenty-five word pitch of your book? Do you even HAVE a twenty-five word pitch? Or would you do what I would do, which is probably chicken out and do nothing more than give them an incredibly nervous smile? Geez, even the thought of running into an agent in a conference elevator makes me break out in hives.

I think one of the main things that we aspiring authors don’t even think about his how important confidence in ourselves and in our work is. We become so star struck in every person that may make our dream career actually happen that we forget to have the utmost confidence in our product: “My concept is original, my plot is flawless, my writing is perfected, and my style is one-of-a-kind.” If we cannot go into a conference truly believing these thoughts, even query without believing this, agents and editors are going to have as much faith in us as we seem to have in ourselves.
So, ladies and gentlemen, this is my focus. I cannot walk into Agent Speed Dating all nervous and star struck. I have to hold my head up, truly believing that these people will benefit from me if they agree to sign me.

So, how is your writing confidence? Do you think of the agents you query as business celebrities, or possible business partners?

How do you find faith in yourself?

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3 comments

  1. Last night I dreamed that I was walking past an elementary school and saw Harrison Ford dropping off his son (I don’t think he has a son but such is the revisionist historian that is my dreaming mind). I stopped a few feet away from him. I thought about all the things I wanted to say to him: how much I loved his movies (not precisely true), how handsome he was (true twenty years ago), how I was sorry that Greedo shot first.

    I didn’t say any of these things. I just kept walking. Because Harrison Ford deserved a little peace and quiet.

    I’m not sure, but I think my reaction would be the same in the elevator scenario. A polite “hello”, certainly. Maybe even some comments about the conference. I don’t think I’d pitch.

    But I am insecure and Canadian. This means I often apologize to furniture when I bump into it.


  2. Go for it Sarah! Agents go to conferences to find authors – it’s a business trip for them too and they expect to be pitched great projects! Just don’t do it in the bathroom – no shouting under the stalls! Hahaha! 😀

    Good Luck!! Get your “Go Getem'” attitude on!


  3. Have fun, Sarah! I thought about going to a writer’s conference once, but I always feel like people wouldn’t take me seriously because I’m only thirteen.

    Anyway, don’t freak out, I’m sure you’ll do great!



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