Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dear 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees

Dear 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees,

Congratulations! Your writing life is about to completely change...for the much, much better.

One year ago, I was in your shoes. I had completed and revised and polished my manuscript for two years and when I saw my name on that list, my hopes and dreams skyrocketed and left earth's gravity for a while. Look at the numbers, this means I'm among the top 5% of queriers, right? And with a mentor my ms is going to go above and beyond. This was it. This was my ticket to success. It had to be. I could feel it.

It's a year later and I don't have an agent or a book deal, but I can still say, hands down, Pitch Wars has been the single greatest thing to happen to my writing, and it has nothing to do with my mentor or any sort of feedback, but everything to do with a Facebook group of 83 writers, dreamers, and fellow pitch warriors.

For the past year I have been part of a community of writers who all struggled through the crazy and exhausting revisions of Pitch Wars, the nail-biting agony of the agent round, the triumphs and heartaches of querying. I've been able to get an inside scoop on all the highs of this business. Getting the call, choosing from multiple offers, book deals, pre-empts, auctions, and being a PW mentor.

I've also been part of a community that bands together and lifts each other up through the absolute lows of this business. Losing an agent, firing an agent, failed R&R's, getting zero requests in the agent round, and the absolute hell that is querying and getting rejection after rejection after rejection.

We've brushed each other off and encouraged each other to keep going. We've celebrated the amazing successes, each book deal, offer, contest win, and request.

And through all of this past year of being in this community, the most important thing I've learned is this: It doesn't matter where you are on your writing journey. Agent, book deal, querying, never-ending rejections, nothing but CNR's, inbetween manuscripts, editing the never finished project, or working on a sequel. You will never feel like you've "made it." You will never be rid of that doubt lurking in all the corners of your mind. Getting into Pitch Wars won't get rid of the doubt, getting an agent won't get rid of the doubt, getting a book deal won't get rid of the doubt.

Every time you email your mentor you'll worry that they secretly are sick of you and your book and wish they picked someone else. Every time you sit down to write that first draft you will feel like it's garbage. Even after you get that three-book deal, you'll still worry that your sequel won't live up to the first. Every time you get editorial feedback, whether from a CP, your agent, or your editor, you will still feel nervous enough to throw up. You'll worry they secretly hate your book. You'll wonder if you can deliver.

But doubt is not your enemy. The doubt is what binds us together. It's what makes it so we can all say, "I know what you're going through. I understand how you feel." It's also that little voice that drives us to write it better and better. To not give up at "good enough," to put out our best work.

But alongside that doubt that you will always experience as a writer is another equally important emotion. HOPE. As long as you have words in your head and stories in your heart you will always have hope. It weaves itself into the words you write. It's what drives you to sit your butt in that chair and type and type and type. It's that voice that whispers, Maybe the next agent. Maybe the next manuscript. You can not survive in this business without it. And when you feel like you can no longer go through the pain of hoping, your PW community will keep hope alive for you, and wait for you to come back and realize that there are still stories to tell and characters to redeem.

You just got into Pitch Wars. And yes, you got a mentor. But more importantly, you just got a community that has the opportunity to take the next two months to form an amazing bond of shared experience and go out and conquer all the highs and lows of the writing world together. That's the true gift of Pitch Wars. Open it.

Read from other PW 2014 Mentees and Alternates!

1 comment: