There is nothing like the heart-lifting feeling of your pitch being accepted. Opening that magic email and reading an editor says they like your pitch. Even better they want an article with X amount of words by X date.
It’s hard to stop smiling. Your pitch was accepted. You’re on your way to being published. But then, a split second later you think, “Now what? Where do I start? How do I start?”
Sometimes it can turn that heart-lifting feeling into something a little more like uneasiness as you realize the reality.
They want your article. Yours. To publish.
Don’t worry, this is normal. The good news is that you’ve already started the article. It’s in your pitch. That is what the editor liked. The idea you were selling. Now all you have to do is add to it. Then you’ve got your article.
So, why are some writers reluctant to hit send?
Insecurities pop up. We all have them. Even more experienced writers. This is because every article is new.
Whether it’s a new writing style, or a new publication, or even a new editor you are working with. You want to put your best article forward. So, doubts are normal.
To help avoid them, here’s three handy tips to help you feel comfortable hitting the ‘send’ button.
1. Leave it, then read it out loud.
If the deadline isn’t for another week, then you have time. Leave the article and reread it the next day with fresh eyes. You will see the flow of the article. How the sentences fit together or if it sounds better with some restructuring.
I don’t know why this works but reading it out loud seems to give it body and helps you get a feel for it like you were reading it for the first time.
2. Don’t over edit.
I tend to edit and re-edit, sometimes over and over again. This is a vicious cycle of “it could be better.” Trust me, you do not want to get stuck in this cycle. Walk away. Break the cycle.
Remember, editors will always change something. It is their job, literally. They edit. It is exceptionally rare that an article is published with zero changes, so once you realize this you can breathe easy. Don’t be offended, it is not a personal attack on your writing, it is them fitting your piece into their voice, space, or theme.
Instead, be happy, celebrate. After all they like your writing so much they are paying you for it!
3. Make sure there is no red.
Grammar and spell checks are your friend. The last thing I do before hitting send is to do a final spell check. Grammarly is a great program to install if you don’t already have it.
Most of us write in Microsoft Word which already has checks built in so if it’s underlined in red, get rid of it. Spell it correctly. That is your job as a writer.
If it is in blue, then look at the suggestion the grammar checker is making. It is usually correct and helps you to be more succinct with your writing.
If it is in green, then once again look at the sentence structure it is recommending. Eight out of 10 times it will flow better with one small change.
Now it’s ready. With these three handy hints hitting send has never been so easy. You’ve reread and edited it to check the flow. You’ve done your final spell and grammar checks, so send it in and congratulate yourself. You’re about to be published!
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