A Waffle About Anxiety and Pitches

Creativity is difficult to keep up with when you’re struggling with health issues. This past week my anxiety has left me a total wreck, which has been great. There’s nothing wrong, aside from the fact that I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and sometimes get flare ups where things are really bad. That’s why there was no post this last Sunday. I knew one was due but I just… couldn’t. Even thinking about it made me want to throw up. 

Despite this being a rough week, I’ve still managed to make some good progress on The Halfway House, the passion project that’s still living firmly in my “fluff” projects folder for things I write purely for myself, without casting the expectation that this will be for any other audience. This is remarkably therapeutic and I’d highly recommend other creatives who struggle with mental health issues to have at least one project like this. No such thing as too tropey or too much banter in this novel. I can write what I like and soothe my soul that way without thinking “oh, this is bad”. When I am the target audience, I can be as awful as I want. Working on a project like this is one good way to keep at least a tiny bit productive and keep the mind distracted.

There are some things that can’t be easily worked around though. For example, this Thursday brings around another nerve wracking episode of PitMad, the Twitter pitch contest where authors put out their pitches and hope for some engagement from agents. It might not be the smartest idea, but I’m still intending to participate even if I’m still feeling like this by then. I don’t intend to let this hinder me any more than it has to, even if the way I deal with it is by scheduling tweets days in advance for when I’m going to be very busy at work and with a plan to be chugging Kalms all day. 

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope something good comes of it but mostly on the day, I’m going to try and pretend it’s not happening. Sometimes that’s the best we can hope for.

Musings on Pitch Contests

With the completion of Through the Black looming ever closer, I’ve been thinking more and more of how and where I want to get my MS out there. Traditional querying will almost certainly be my number one method, but these days online pitch contests are also a hugely popular way to get your short pitch seen by agents and publishers.

The downsides of these are that you only have a very limited amount of characters to make yourself stand out. The upside is that there’s no quicker way to get huge swathes of publishing professionals all at once.

Of course, you might attract the attention of agent who aren’t the right fit for you or you might not attract any at all. The thing is, if you don’t put yourself out there then you’ll never know. The best that can happen is that you find someone requesting a query. The worst is that you’ll have honed a neat, concise pitch for your work.

I actually tried my hand at one very recently. The creative industries festival XpoNorth held one this month and, as they were accepting pitches for manuscripts that weren’t 100 % complete, I decided to have a go. Unfortunately I didn’t have any success with that but I didn’t have much time to prepare my pitches. What it does mean is that I now have a couple of them that I can work on and polish well for when more roll around, and hopefully be more prepared for. Mostly it was good practice for not obsessively staring at my phone or refreshing my internet browser.

There are a few lined up for after my deadline, so I’m hoping to have some nice polished pitches and a finished manuscript all ready to go by the time they roll around!

 

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