I entered the contest Pitch Wars in early August with a query letter, the first chapter of my novel, and a dream.
On August 25, I was notified that one of my dreams had come true! I would be the recipient of the time and attention of not one, but two incredibly talented published mystery writers. They would spend the next couple of months helping me fine tune that novel.
I have felt the full gamut of emotion through this process I’ve been plagued with self-doubt that I could not get this done. Or that anyone would want to read it when I did. I have felt challenged, excited, depressed, anxious, accomplished, and most recently, well, quite proud.
Rewriting and adding 20,000 words was daunting. My mentor, Kellye Garrett, said every writer had to go through Writer’s Hell as a rite of passage. I have been there. I brought marshmallows and settled in.
All of this Rocky-like preparation is for the big fight scene—Agent Rounds. During this part of the contest a short pitch for my novel and the first 250 words will go up on a website for Agents to see and request more material if they choose.
Pitch Wars offers no guarantees of getting an agent, or of even having requests to see more of my novel. But it is my shot to rise above the thousands of inquiries that hit an agent’s desk every month and be seen. Many writers don’t get published—not because they’re not good, but because they aren’t noticed among the masses. For a brief time, I’m about to get noticed. And to be published on the scale that matches my dreams—I want that agent. What happens is yet to be seen.
But regardless of the outcome, Pitch Wars has given me something that an agent, or being published, will never be able to give me: Belief in myself. Connection with a writing community as a whole. And a bond with my Mentors and other 2016 Mentees that would not have happened otherwise.
Which leads to me to the sadness as I near end of this part of my writing journey. My co-mentee said it best. It’s like the summer school ending kind of sad. I’ve had such a good time. There is something powerful and profound to have people on your side, cheering you on, helping you get better, and believing you can do it. But now it’s time to take what I’ve learned and move on to the next writing project.
But I will carry forever the importance of community. Writing is lonely on occasion and knowing that a friend is a keystroke away, doing the same things, for no other purpose than to get the stories out of our heads and onto paper, is comforting. We are connected.
My question for you: Who supports you in your life, and where could you create more community?
P.S. Here’s a few pictures from my week, including my girl Bella!