Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Which My Tattoo Teaches Me to Buck Up and Get Back to Work

It's been over a month now since I've returned home from my Summer Lovin' California book tour and some days I wonder if the whole thing was a nice fuzzy dream.

Now I am back to reality, which means stuff like weeding the garden and walking the dog and planning lessons for upcoming presentations and tooling around with a pitch for my next book. For the record, I struggle with pitches. This goes all the way back through my writing life. I just wish there was a way to stick my manuscript into the right editor's hand, and say Read it.

Another for the record: this does not work. So don't bother, kiddos.

A few years ago, after I finished writing and revising my book Thin Space, I actually sat on it for six months because I couldn't think how to pitch it. The truth is, at that point, I was so burned out by writing and submitting and collecting rejections, I couldn't bear to start the whole angsty rollercoaster-y ride again with Thin Space--my sixth book and the book that while I was writing it felt like it might be THE ONE. But I was afraid. What if I was wrong, etc. and it went nowhere like every other book I'd written and hoped was the one.

My writing partner Donna metaphorically slapped me upside the head one day. What are you doing, she asked me. Why aren't you sending that manuscript out?

I whined for a bit about how much I hated writing query letters and she slapped me upside the head again. Oh my God, she said. You're a WRITER. Why can't you write a pitch? Forget it. I'll write the damn thing.

And she did. Ha.

Her pitch was awesome and got multiple rejections and it hardly fazed me.

I don't know if I recommend this approach but it did kinda work for me in the end. The problem with it is that I never really learned how to write a pitch...

Which I am trying to do now.

Donna, where the HECK are you when I need you???

So. forget that for a minute and let me pretend I am back in sunny California. Parked out by the pool and pondering the limes on a lime tree.

Or eating glorious food that I have not prepared myself.

Walking around the San Francisco streets and coming upon an art installation of books flapping in the sky like birds.

And noticing that the words have fallen out of those books and imprinted themselves upon the sidewalk by my feet.

This trip truly does seem like it happened to another person, happened in another life. And I could almost believe this is true, that it was nothing but a lovely hazy dream, but then I look down at my foot.

And see my TATTOO.

It's there.

Which means the trip really did happen, even though now I am firmly back in reality. The weeding, the dog-walking, the lesson planning, the pitch writing.

I can do it this time, write my own pitch. I am not the same woman I was five years ago.


  1. You ARE the same woman you were five years ago. And that woman was one who had the ability to write pitches, although she didn't know it. So now it's time to know it!

    1. I like that, Susan. Same woman. But WITH A TATTOO!!