Pitch Anxiety [5.9.16]

As an Artist and Creative, my days are spent spinning in my office chair coaxing the muses, Euterpe and Thalia, to gift me with their wisdom. When they are on holiday, I tend to fall down a labyrinth of YouTube rabbit holes. Searching and searching, until I find it. The spark of an idea. I envision selling this idea to sacrosanct rags like the New Yorker. I’m interviewed by The Nightly Show and The Daily Show. All pitches after that one pitch are accepted by every publication I deign to correspond with.

I get way ahead of myself.

Then the anxiety sets in. My mind, which was once filled with a flurry of pleasant images, becomes clouded with all the steps needed to get from pitch to published. I stall. I can’t find the right terms to research my idea. Someone’s already done it, though slightly different, for The New Yorker! I’m intimidated by all the jargon and letters behind everyone’s names. I look at my last few clips and frown. What was I thinking, why would anyone give me this story?

I reject myself before I even start.

This summer, I’m challenging myself to end this cycle. It will be the summer of loving my ideas and selling them to interested editors. And I’ll do it by letting it all bleed on this page. Here we go…

May 9, 2016

Dear diary,

Yesterday, I sent off my short story to three publications. I’m not going to say who or what story just yet, but suffice it to say that it’s a good story that just needs to find its home. I spent a little over six months writing and rewriting it. The kernel of the idea came to me two years ago. Yes, it took two years to write 2,500 words. However, it can definitely walk. I spent most of that time figuring out my voice which was a hodgepodge of too formal and too blue. It needed consistency and urgency and verve. It’s not quite there, but I’m happy with where I am.

So now, nonfiction. Oof. The ideas for these are less viscous. See above. It’s easier to make it all up than to think of what’s interesting and what will sell. I’m going to start with what I know and what I’m good at.

What do I know?

Music
Literature
Advertising
Environmental stuff
Transportation stuff
Entertainment stuff like TV, film, live shows
Women and feminism
Makeup and hair
Social media

What am I good at?

Human interest stories
Reviews
Satire/parody
Listicles

What am I not good at? Hard news and intellectual explanations (it’s not that I’m not smart enough, it’s that I’m not self-important enough).

Next steps…write down too many article ideas and why people would give a damn.

As ever,

Aisha

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