I am a theater nerd, and sports metaphors make me nervous. I always wonder to myself did I use that correctly? But I did play some backyard baseball growing up, and so my advice to writers this week (and let's be honest, to myself) is to wait for your pitch.
I'm a goal-oriented, type A person. I set goals, I break those goals down into smaller steps, I make a plan and schedule it and I finish my projects ON DEADLINE. That is who I am, I can be no other way. Maybe it's my theater background--it's a "the show must go on" mentality.
And yet...writing doesn't always work on deadlines. Yes, I can aim for a daily or weekly word count. I can make sure to write my morning pages everyday. I can turn out drafts and even finished articles on time, but with my novel things are different.
The biggest struggle I've had with the book is deciding when it's done. I want it to be, if not perfect, then pretty darn close to what I originally envisioned. I've written probably 4-5 complete drafts at this point, it's been read by a dozen helpful beta-readers and I've revised, and revised, and revised until I've become sick of it! But it's not DONE.
I started querying the book last Spring under the guise that I needed to practice querying and wasn't likely to get any responses anyway. WRONG. The FIRST AGENT I emailed requested a full manuscript THE NEXT DAY. I sent off a complete, shoddy draft, rife with typos and even a few embarrassing continuity errors. (GAH!) I did another revision and queried a few more agents after that, getting several requests but no offers.
My gut told me that the book didn't hold up all the way through.
I rewrote more this summer and in August entered the illustrious Pitch Wars competition. The "prize" in this comp is a mentor relationship with an agented author who can help you revise and pitch your book. I don't know if I will get a mentor out of this competition, but either way, I'm determined to finish revising before I query the book again. I want to "wait for my pitch" rather than swinging wildly.
To that end, one of my writing buddies recommended an outlining book Take Off Your Pants. I am generally more of a free-spirited "pantser" than a "plotter" and I rarely outline, but this book has been super helpful and has made me rethink the actual goal of my main character. If you are writing or revising, I definitely recommend it! (Plus it's SHORT!)
Whether it comes to writing or other creative projects, it's good practice to wait for your pitch. It means letting go of control, letting life (and inspiration) happen at it's own pace. I am waiting for my pitch and hoping I used that sports metaphor correctly :)