The Journey to Publication

Decision Paralysis: Or, You’re Allowed to Screw-up

I’ve been getting ready for the big RWA conference in Anaheim in July, and recently had to make my picks for the “pitch sessions”: one agent appointment, one editor appointment. I’ve done pitches before with a fair degree of success, and in fact, I like doing them. But this year, just the idea of choosing who I should try and make an appointment with made me queasy. Which agent do I pitch to? Which editor? Do I forgo the possibility of pitching to an editor altogether and just stay with the agent? What if I pick the wrong one? What if I’ve made the wrong decision?

What if I screw up everything?

Because there’s the rub: it’s a relatively small decision in the grand scheme of things (ie: I’m only pitching to this agent / editor, I’m not signing a contract instantly on the spot … although that would be both terrifying and wonderful). But, in deciding who I choose to pitch, which agents I query, what I query them with, these are decisions that are steps in my writing career. And, being a perfectionist, I desperately want to make the right ones.What if I overlook the agent who is really the right match for me, and it’s another year or more before we make contact? What if the editor I choose hates my style of writing? What if, what if, what if …

All of which, my clever husband reminds me, is impossible to know. And, you’ll hear from most authors – even the most successful – that they have not always made the best decisions, that they have screwed up … but they’re also still here to talk about it.

Maybe that’s something we can all learn from. Sure, we try to make the best decision we can based on the information we have at the time … even if it turns out to have been a mistake.  Only hindsight and time will tell (barring psychic powers – maybe that’s why I like paranormals.)

The important part of whatever decision we make, whatever action we take, is that we TOOK it.

I could, at this point, probably trot out some quotes about trust in faith / destiny, the importance of moving forward, how we only grow if we act fearlessly, that sort of thing. But I won’t – ’cause you’ve probably heard them, too. And I would love to claim that I’m fearless, but I’m not. I just try and act despite my fear. I’ve made mistakes in the past, and being human, I’m probably pretty likely to make them in the future; hopefully I won’t continue to make the same mistakes. Maybe that’s the best we can hope for.

So, what do you think? Is there a better way? Is action in the face of fear just stupid, or necessary?

Thanks for reading, have a great week, and happy writing.