Congrats on getting further into the insanity! Pitch Wars was amazing and crazy stressful and so worth it. I learned so much from everyone, and made so many connections. And that’s what matters most: the community.
I was an alternate last year. My mentor was awesome and was able to give me some notes on my full MS, so I hunkered down and got working on some pretty big edits. A bunch of the mentees and alts formed a group, and were there for each other every step of the way. They encouraged me and pushed me when I needed it. But that’s not when community mattered most.
Then came the agent round! I tried to expect nothing since I was only an alt, but I got a few requests. And I sent out a batch of queries too, to test the waters. Within a month I had an offer from one of the agents who requested. And the group cheered me on and kept me going ‘cause some not-so-great things happened around the same time as that offer. And then there were the edits after that, and me questioning my every move — having an agent is a ton of pressure on you and your writing, let me tell you. The group was there for me through all of it, making it so I finally could write, so I got past my edits. but that still wasn’t when community mattered most.
Long story short, I obviously don’t have an agent anymore. I’m not going to go into details, it wouldn’t be right. But it was devastating. I blamed myself and my writing and there have been many points within the past few months where I thought it wasn’t worth it anymore. When you get to that place where you can finally call yourself successful and lose all of it in the span of one e-mail, how can you not question it? It still sticks with me, whispering in my ear with every rejection I get, every mistake I make, every word I write, “Do you really think you’re good enough?”
But the group of people I met through Pitch Wars keeps me going. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be writing now without that group. The pulled me out again and again, they encouraged me, and were there to help whenever I asked for it. You grow a bond with people when you slave so hard over your work together. And, sure, I could go and blame all of this all on the fact that I was in Pitch Wars in the first place. That request did come from the contest. But I would go through it again to get the community I’m so honored to be a part of.
Writing itself is a solitary act, but it takes a village to raise a novel.
So, good luck mentees! And if you didn’t get in, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve been stalking and participating the hashtag, you’ve already started building your community.
Now, the rest of the #DearPW posts: