Founder and Chief Alchemist
Part skills lesson, part confession, part peptalk: this is my brand new radio interview on Your Book is Your Hook radio program, hosted by Jennifer Wilkov.  You'll recognize her as an expert-in-resident here at Pitch U!
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If you're a writer, you must be nervous.

Us too.

You want to speak to agents and editors.  You want to tell readers about your book.  But when it comes to submitting a video, getting feedback, maybe getting it wrong....  Suddenly every cell in your body says, "Danger, Will Robinson!"

Welcome to pushing yourself to grow.  A noble pursuit.  After all, leaving your Comfort Zone is hard work.  (Let's face it, you're good at not being able to pitch, gosh darn it!)

This is your chance to be brave enough to learn.

This is your chance to "do it anyway."

This is your chance to change your destiny (cool, no?) by taking one small step, a new step, in the direction you want to go.


Yes, you may use notes.

Who came up with this idea that writers can't use notes when pitching?  Suddenly we're actors who must memorize our lines for our starring roles?  Nah.

The clearer you are on what your book is about, the less you need notes.  So there's that.  And eye contact-- you can't just read your notes without ever looking up.  (That's called reading your query letter.)

But  having some prompts, reminders, or hints written down is a great idea.  It can actually prevent you from getting nervous, because you know what to do if you freeze or forget what you're saying.

Even Toastmasters talks about using notes (see Tip #3 in Tips for Novices). 

"Still Scared Here!"

1)  Have we mentioned that you can do as many "takes" as you want?  You're sending us the version you like.

2)  Oh, and you'll be safe in your own home with a bullet-proof computer between you and The Big Scary.

3)  Finally, we're on your side.  This is an education site.  We expect you to be rough around the edges.  Embrace your bad self.

A Brave New World

There seem to be two types of writers who talk about fear and pitching: the 1% of writers who aren't scared (and don't understand why anyone else is) and the 99% of writers who are hyperventilating with anxiety.

What we need is to talk to a third group that doesn't really exist.  We need to surround ourselves with people who were terrified and now aren't, the ones who have come out the other side into confidence, through practice, experience, and a touch of courage.

You'll meet some of these writers here at Pitch U.  You might become one of them!

Until then, read the words of those people out in the world who felt nervous about talking and selling something to another human being.  

Here are some Resources to get you thinking about your Comfort Zones and Risk Taking:


Analyze Your Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are directly related to our dreams or goals, which is associated with self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to grow and change, we must first be discontent with our current comfort zone.

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Nobody’s born with an instruction manual for life. Despite all the helpful advice from parents, teachers and elders, each of us must make our own way in the world, doing the best we can and quite often getting things wrong. Messing up a few times isn’t that big a deal. But if you get scared and try to avoid all mistakes by sticking with just a few “tried and true” behaviors, you’ll miss out on most opportunities as well. 

How To Take Risks

We need to change the label. Stop thinking of risk as just a one shot do or die situation.Instead, start thinking of risk as a journey of exploration. It’s not just about one shot. It’s about a journey, a journey you choose to embark on for the purpose of exploring a different path.

How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Make a fool of yourself. One of the biggest things that holds many of us back is our fear of what people think.

Take Risks

Pause for a moment to imagine how differently you might have developed, if caring people in your family had frequently affirmed to you, "Take risks!" instead of "Take care."

Becoming a Risk Taker

What Is Risk Taking?

* To laugh is to risk appearing the fool;
* To weep is to risk appearing sentimental;
* To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss;
* To hope is to risk despair;
* To try is to risk failure;
* But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing;
* The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing;
* He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live;
* Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave and has forfeited freedom.

Designing Outside Your Comfort Zone

When you’ve been designing for a few years, it’s easy to fall into patterns. You carve out your personal style and find your inner voice. You figure out what you’re good at, and the world encourages you to play to those strengths.

Put a Crack In Your Comfort Zone

The other day, while out doing errands, I saw a truck, and on its side was written, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Living Outside Your Comfort Zone

At the root of all hesitation to change - fear.

Take Risks

All writing is risky. The risk of exposing ourselves - to ourselves as well as to others. The risk of going beyond known territory, of taking a stand, of trying something new. Of going against the grain. Telling the truth. And that great risk of self-discovery.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Achieve Success

If you keep doing only what’s ordinary, your results will continue to be just as ordinary. The only solution is to start doing something extra-ordinary.

Challenge Yourself and Don't Get Comfortable

Has your comfort zone become a rut so deep that you need a ladder just to peek out? Do creature comforts and distractions keep you from moving forward? Then it’s time to get motivated, get moving and stretch your limits.


What if your fear was gone... and you didn't even need notes?

Moving Away From Notes with See It, Say It!

Although you may not believe it, you do have a fantastic memory, and with a little practice you can easily remember your speeches, freeing you from the necessity of using notes.