the kinetic pen

wired by words

The Obsessed Writer’s Guide to Pitch Conferences


My husband’s the one with the insomnia. Not me. That’s what I keep telling myself at 2 a.m. (or 3 a.m., or 4 a.m.) when I can’t fall back asleep. 

I’ve never had a problem drifting off to dreamland. People used to say I’m like a cat. Curl me up and I’m out. But since last week, when I signed up to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference to pitch my book to agents, my thoughts haven’t stopped racing. There’s the pitch to prepare for – three precious minutes to sell myself and my manuscript. There are agents to research, a first chapter to perfect, and a title to finally commit to without obsessing about wanting to change it later, among a long list of other tasks.

So night after night, I wake up and hear my rapidly beating heart against the early morning stillness. I take deep breaths and remind myself that all these thoughts can wait. I relax my eye muscles. I flop into another position and try to empty my mind. Then I look at the clock. Again.

I’m beyond thrilled to get the chance to fly across the country, stay in a swanky hotel, and have the chance to network with people who love words as much as I do. My challenge is to let that excitement overshadow the pressure that comes with wanting something so desperately that it starts to eat you up.

Though I got only five hours of shut-eye last night, this weekend has been a blessing. My friend Sue, who is also working on a book, has come to my house for an overnight retreat. Yesterday we wrote for eight hours before admitting we needed to say goodnight. This morning I’m reading over my first chapter before deciding whether to go with a new design for my business cards.

Time for a break, though, to walk my dog. I’m fairly certain I know what I’ll be thinking about along the way.

Have experience with pitch conferences? If so, please share!

Author: thekineticpen

Freelance journalist working on a narrative nonfiction book about a woman who, after the freak death of her husband, decides to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to deal with her grief and finds a second chance at love.

2 thoughts on “The Obsessed Writer’s Guide to Pitch Conferences

  1. Robin, I am so excited that you are at this point of pitching your memoir. It’s natural to feel nervous but after attending many pitch sessions, I finally began viewing agents as allies looking for the next unique story–which you have, It will be up to you to believe in your story and give them a reason to want to know more. I learned more with each pitch I did. Here’s a guest post I had written after my last pitch session in 2013: I hope it helps. You’ll be great! Can’t wait to hear about it. Enjoy!

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