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How to Get Past Pitch Anxiety: 5 Simple Mindset Reframes to Try

EYE Tyler

Do you suffer from pitch anxiety? This is an all-too-real emotional state most (if not all) freelance writers find themselves in when thinking about approaching a potential client with an article or project idea.

How to Get Past Pitch Anxiety

Our sweaty fingers tap away at the keyboard before hitting backspace more times than we care to admit. We reread what we write, and the words on the page tangle with the what if’s in our mind.

“What if the editor thinks my idea is stupid?”

“What if they think I’m ill equipped to do the job and scratch me forever off the list of potential writers they can work with?” 

“What if they reject me, but not my idea, giving it to some other writer?”

“What if they notice a typo or a grammatical error and think I am incompetent?”

It’s not that we don’t want to hit “send” and hear back from the editor about the article we are pitching.

We want to voice our idea, and we will, eventually. Just not yet. It just needs a few more adjustments? Let’s check the publication again and double check, triple check and umpteenth check to see if our idea really fits.

Or, let’s not.

meme of shark tank investor that says great pitch, amazing product. I'm out

Anxiety never gives back the energy you put into it. Rather, it fosters your insecurities. It holds your inner critic at knife point until you’re left staring at a blank page and wondering what possessed you to write in the first place. So, in order to overcome this fear of submitting your next idea to an editor, let’s start with answering this very question: What ignited your desire to write the article that you want to pitch?

For me, I’d say my desire to write this article stemmed from feeling exactly as you are feeling now: anxious, doubtful, depressed, possessed by an imposter and in need of a priest as my self talk deteriorates into an unhealthy outlook…

Stop!

“Stop,” is what I told myself, and stop is what I’m telling you, right now. 

Stop and breathe.

Understand dear writer, that I’m writing this article because I dared to stop, breathe, and be curious about the thoughts in my head: Is it possible other people are experiencing the same thing I am going through? Is it possible that other people are searching for a solution on how to get out of their own head? Am I the only writer who feels like an imposter? Am I the only writer that feels judged before the executioner with every rejection letter? Of course not. 

Would I like to read something that I can relate to and that I feel would benefit my growth? Hmm. Now, that’s an idea for an article, and something I should  run by an editor who desires to help budding writers like myself. 

5 Mindset Reframes to Help You Move Past Pitch Anxiety

I hope that by this point you’ve had a chance to consider why you want to write your article or send a proposal to a potiential client. If not, pause here, take a moment and think about it. Don’t worry these words on your computer screen aren’t going to magically disappear.

Do you have something jotted down?

Good.

Now I’m going to dare you to go beyond that initial question.

How can your audience utilize your article? Is it explaining how to do something? Is it providing a different perspective? Is it meant to bring a smile or ease someone’s trauma? Is it resolving someone’s problem? Is it exposing the elephant in the room? Is it addressing something others care about too? Is it giving anything of value to another human?

Did you answer yes to at least of the above?

Then guess what, there is an editor out there who is willing to work with you! However, you’ll never find that editor if you don’t let them know you are alive, that you have ideas, and that you are capable of writing them out one impactful line at a time.

But, but, but! 

The “what if’s” still remain? The pitch anxiety isn’t yet held at bay?

I see you.

What if the editor thinks my idea is stupid?

If an editor actually says your idea is stupid, then this is someone you don’t want to work with.

Content writing is an industry inhabited by professionals, and professional behavior is expected from the people who are staffing the publication just as much as it is expected from the writer being outsourced. 

If the idea that your work may be considered stupid is what is keeping you from clicking send, please know that someone’s opinion isn’t the same as fact. People like Henry Morton at one point thought Thomas Edison’s light bulb moment was a rather dull idea.

Knowing what you know today, do you think such people were right?

The lamp sitting on my desk says otherwise.

What if they think I’m ill equipped to do the job and scratch me forever off the list of potential writers they can work with?

The phrase, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” comes to mind when dealing with pitch anxiety.

Eventually, something will stick, provided you are not trying to write a sports article geared towards men for a publication like Cosmopolitan.

If anything, I find that persistence pays off so long as you make an effort to present editors with an idea that works with their publication. Your desire to keep pitching ideas shows initiative and a willingness to appeal to their audience, especially if you take feedback they offer and apply it to your next pitches.

What if they reject me, but not my idea, giving it to some other writer?

For better or worse, you can’t control what other people do. Your idea might get stolen, yes. But you can come up with another idea, and another and another.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, and many of them overlap in subject matter, which is why people are constantly jockeying over who shows up first on a Google search. Understand that what makes an idea unique is how a writer expresses that idea in words not the idea itself.

What if they notice a typo or a grammatical error and think I am incompetent?

If editors thought all writers who make typos and grammatical errors were incompetent, they would find themselves out of work fairly quickly. An editor’s role is not to belittle you, but to help your work be the best that it can be because typos and grammatical errors are quite a common thing.

Why? Inattentional blindness.

Inattentional blindness happens when your brain is trying to save bandwidth for more important things and therefore filters out errors it considers irrelevant to your survival. This is part of the reason why editors exist, because after so many read-throughs you become blind to your own work.

Your article is a team effort between writer and editor. Your success and their success is one in the same. The entire point of their job is to make sure your work, not your mistakes, stand out on the page.

If I’m not a bad writer and my ideas are good, then why did I get rejected last time?

Pitches are rejected for reasons outside of the writer’s control all the time.

It could be that the editor doesn’t have the budget to pay an extra writer. It could be that they have other ideas that have higher SEO rankings and are trying to meet certain numbers. It could be that they already have an article that is similar to the one you pitched.

There are countless reasons why a pitch doesn’t move forward, so don’t take rejection in this business personally.

Instead, stop, take a deep breath, and pitch your idea with an explanation of why you think it would benefit the publication you want to work with. 

The only way to fail as a content writer is to never get over the pitch. Don’t hit backspace. Hit send. 

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