Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What To Do With Yourself After #PitchWars Is Over

Whether you read my last post or not, you're probably here right now because you're participating in #PitchWars (or maybe hoping to get into some other contest) this year.

It's been a year since my own Pitch Wars experience. I've learned a lot since then. I also, I think, made quite a few mistakes. For one thing, I let my lack of success in the contest get in the way of my writing. I'm STILL struggling to get over that.

For another, I stopped working on new things, dragging all my old manuscripts out for another trot around the block. There's nothing inherently wrong with this except that maybe there's a good reason they all were in the drawer in the first place? I guess I thought I could fix them if only I tried. Maybe I can. Maybe someday I will.

But for me, the joy of writing has always been in the Shiny New Idea. Whatever captures me at the moment is the journey I want to be on at the time. I LOVE getting Shiny New Ideas. Except for the last year, I didn't. I had one idea that I really loved. To put that in perspective, usually I get about 4-5 Shiny News in a year and have to pick and choose between them.

But I'm not blaming that on Pitch Wars, or anything else I did last year. I'm blaming that on me.

Anyway. Back to the part about you. Whether you get a lot of requests today or not, or whether you get an agent in the next week/ month/ six months, or not, here's the thing:

This contest (or any other) does not define you. It does not define your writing. It does not mean you will make it, or you won't. I've seen people in contests get 10-15 requests and still not have an agent a year later. I've seen people get 1 request and find the agent of their dreams and a book deal and so on and so forth.

That thing people keep telling you about publishing being subjective? They are not broken records, nor are they just saying that to make you feel better. It's SO TRUE. Nothing can be everyone's cup of tea. I know people who didn't like the Harry Potter series, for crying out loud.

Today they are judging you on your pitch and first page. Not even what you would send in a query letter. That is a very, very small portion of your work to make decisions on.

But, just making it into the contest means there is something special about you. THAT is a success. No matter what happens today and tomorrow, you've done something incredible. Rest on that for now, and try not to let the agony of waiting get to you. (As The World's Most Impatient Person, I am well aware of how that feels).

And, to take another Industry Advice Cliche, perhaps most importantly, keep writing. Why? Because you deserve to do that for yourself.


  1. Great post. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Thank you! I love that you wrote this. The pitches are all so good, though. Good luck to ya, girly!

  3. Thanks for this (as an Alternate with no comments yet)! You're right, we need to put it into perspective. It's all about the journey.

  4. Great post, thank you so much for writing it :)

  5. Thanks for grounding us during this wonderful/crazy thing called Pitch wars. Excellent advice here.

  6. Fantastic post, and exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for sharing! (And I'm sorry last year's PitchWars didn't turn out to be IT. But good job for keeping on in the journey toward publication!)

  7. Thank you so much for the words of wisdom! Much appreciated.

  8. This post just added about a billion points of encouragement and motivation to my day. Thank you for posting it.

  9. Thank you, thank you, for voicing exactly what I've been struggling with over the last year!! It is soooo important not to let rejection stop you from writing new things. That means digging deep to find the confidence to keep going. This quote has helped me muster through discouraging times: "To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard."

  10. Thank you so much everyone! A lesson I had to learn the hard, long way.

    By the way, all the entries I read were fantastic. :)