Tuesday, January 11


In this picture, my dog Stetson is sitting in the high desert because we are arrowhead hunting.
This is a big step for me because I am afraid of snakes. Not a little afraid. Not jump a little afraid. No, I'm run for the hills screaming with my hair on fire afraid of snakes. ~~~~~~~
Of course, we didn't go in the middle of the summer, this was in the early spring, when the snake types should have still been hibernating.
But still. ~~~~~~~
It took a big leap of faith for me to head into the desert, when I know snakes lurk. Not water snakes, either. No. Big, fat, ugly rattlesnakes are out there. The kind that can kill you with a bite.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I went because arrowhead hunting is my mother's passion, and it was her mother's day wish for us all to go out and dig around in the desert for pieces of flint that the Ute Indians left behind 100 or more years ago. ~~~~~~~
Not because I wanted to. ~~~~
What does all this have to do with writing, you ask?
That sometimes fear of snakes keeps us from moving forward. One of my snakes in the writing industry is pitching to agents. The thought paralyzes me. I shake. I sweat. I can't speak. Just like when I eyeball a snake. Pure terror.
Now, while I'm certain most agents are not snakes, they still terrify me. Paralyze me.
My mom is not a writer. She can't insist I go pitch to agents for Mother's Day. My daughter could, I guess, but I'm being a bit silly.
I have to overcome my fear, find the strength in me to overcome the fear and pitch.
My goal is to start this spring at the CRW conference in Denver.
What about writing scares you, and what is your cure?


  1. Oh D'Ann I so sympathize with you. I have many fears that are stopping me from progressing to the next level. One huge one of mine is writing the query. I'm so freaked out. What if I get it wrong??? This is what agents read to judge you and your writing ability....grrr.

  2. me too, not the snakes part..i used to pick them up and run after my terrified mother..hehe i was a little bugger..but I digress...I'm scared that my commitment to writing and finishing a novel is gone...I still wonder how I got the first book, when all of subsequent projects can't seem to get past the first few chapters...if I ever get over that fear..then I might squeal and run away if I saw an agent...

  3. Hey D'Ann...

    I share your fear of snakes! I know most of them are harmless, but they freak me out.

    My biggest fear about writing is being a one trick pony.

  4. Is that an Australian Shepard? I grew up with those lovely pooches.

    I am afraid, of bugs. Big nasty bugs.

  5. Oh, with writing I am afraid of my opening. It keeps changing and it can't seem to make up its mind.

  6. D'Ann, I am stomach rolling fearful of falling. I have no problem on planes, but don't ask me to go to the edge of a cliff. NOOOOOO! I am fearful of being told my writing is dull. Flat out. I know not everyone loves my H/H but I hope they are never dull. Maybe sometimes they are too combative, but well...


  7. Hey, D'Ann,

    Nice post and as for writing may I please say ALL OF IT!!!

    Others, heights a big one, then there would be suffocation....maybe that one should be first. LOL

  8. I have a paralyzing fear of rodents, bugs, reptiles, and a room full of writers. Never been to a convention, but the thought scares me. So many writers, pubbed and unpubbed who have been at this a lot longer than I have. I think I would feel like I'm out of my league.

  9. Not being 'Good Enough'. This isn't just a writing fear for me, it's an everything fear, and I have no idea where it came from because my parents/siblings/friends have always been supportive of my interests. Just one of those weird things, I guess. How do I overcome? I haven't, not yet. But I make myself send chapters out, do the pitch thing and start new WIPs.

  10. I am deathly scared of snakes! I will run screaming in a panic! But my fears with my writing is if I get my book published will I be able to do it again. The other day I wrote a chapter and it was okay but needed a lot of work still. So the next day I went back to tweak it and I had nothing. So the fear took hold. OMG! What if that's it? Have you finally ran out of your mojo? After talking to a friend I realized I am a few chapter from being finished and I am pushing way too hard. Sometimes you have to relax and step back for a moment and breathe.

  11. I don't like snakes, but I'm not scared of them (found one under my laundry basket in the bedroom last summer). I'm not afraid of querying either. But I'm half afraid of receiving crits of all things! Go figure...

  12. D'Ann,

    Take heart, you are not alone. The road to either an agent or publishing contract is more like an obstacle course than a super highway.

    I so hated the idea of pitching to either agents or editors that my strategy was to try to and meet them informally, either in the hotel lobby or outside a workshop, etc. For whatever reason, it worked!

    This summer, at nationals, I met my agent sitting by the dolphin fountain in Orlando. I was between formal editor appointments that were being held downstairs in the hotel. And I was completely relaxed because I was not in "performance mode."

    My advice is to be creative, make an adventure out of an ordeal and keep your sense of humor!

  13. I hate spiders, queries, and the very thought of pitching. But I have to admit writerly fears are the ones harming me, not the spiders. Your post helps me know (and remember) that my fears are not only real to me but to others as well. I guess I shouldn't worry about striking out. Rejection is better than a story of blank pages.

  14. I'm scared that the idea well will dry up on me someday and I won't be able to write another book.

    But I'm SOOO glad that I didn't have to do a face to face pitch to get my agent...That really does scare me, too! I hate to talk with people I don't know in a formal way. The whole idea of pitching reminds me too much of my student teaching interview---I was scared to tears! I had five minutes to prove to the student teaching coordinator that I would make a good candidate for my first choice of geographical area. If she thought I couldn't cut the mustard, I had to interview with the coordinator for my second choice. I didn't want my second choice and definitely didn't want my third.

    I guess I did okay, even though I stuttered my way through it. I got my first choice. Funny, now that I remember how important I thought that moment was...I'm not even a teacher now and haven't been since 1995.

  15. Yeah I know about the snakes and you know about my shark issues. Now why sharks when I live in Colorado? Because I used to live in Callie. The difference with a snake and writing is the snake is right there in front of you but with writing its just all out there waiting to kick your butt. The first attack is always the group in your head telling you how terrible you are so I guess if you can figure out the snake bite remedy you might have a fighting chance. I would say you've done very well and just hit it with a really big stick. The snake not the agent.

  16. Oh Lord, I feel like such a novice. I'm afraid of writing queries, synopses, approaching an agent. I know I've got to bite the bullet and learn these skills, but having been shy all my life, even mingling is a challenge for me!

  17. I'm scared of never being able to finish another project. But I'm more scared of snakes.

  18. I'm with the majority here--I also fear snakes, although my older son was had one as a pet. It was the nonpoisonous variety, however.
    As to writing--fear of negative reviews.

  19. I used to be afraid to pitch and I still get nervous, but for me, it gets easier the more I do it. And I think just talking to them when you're not in "pitch mode" is helpful as well. Seeing that they're just regular people. Regular people with potentially your future in their hands...bawwahaha...but just regular folk...

  20. Ugh, ssnakes...eyow!

    What scares me about ny writing? Not being able to write. Beyond that, I'm a tough gal. I roll with the punches, even been know to throw a few m'self ;)

  21. Thanks, everyone, for coming by! I really appreciate it.

  22. I suggest avoidance. You absolutely don't need to pitch to agents in person - go ahead and just send a query. Why put yourself through that misery?