Let’s go on a field trip, okay? We’re going to tighten our bootstraps and go back one year to the summer of 2015. Not as catchy as a certain summer immortalized in a song (if you know what I mean), but it’ll do for my blog today.
Around this time last year I was furiously tip-tapping away at my laptop in an attempt to get through my first revision of MISTS which I had finished only a few months prior. I had the thoughts that a lot of new writers have. “I’m capable of being subjective!” “I don’t need to stash my MS for a few months.” “I know how to kill my darlings.”
If I could really go back to that summer, I’d have this to say to myself.
I entered PitchWars totally unprepared, but at least it forced me to get through edits completely and feel accomplished about something I’d written. Somehow or another, I got a request and that fueled my energy to keep going.
This year has been rocky for MISTS, but sitting where I am now makes it seem natural. Like it’s all part of the process in writing a book and detaching yourself from it. When I lost faith in the project, I stepped away and tried something new. (I was desperately afraid of that because I had the fear that I wouldn’t have new ideas! Another thing I was wrong on.)
Now it’s a year later and I’m staring down the barrel of the gun called Pitch Wars once more.
And I’m more excited this year because I know how to fully take in the experience of PitchWars and online contests. So, speaking from a past newbies experience, let me give you my top suggestions on how to take full advantage of something like PW.
- MAKE FRIENDS. It’s number one on my list for a reason. Nothing has helped me more this year than the incredible friends I found doing PW. I’m a super freakin’ awkward person all around, but I found my home in a few circles on Twitter thanks to a few well played gifs or some questions I asked via the PitchWars hashtag. Go make friends and get yourself a writing posse.
- FIND CRITIQUE PARTNERS AND BETA READERS. You might think, I’ve already got five critique partners and two beta readers and my sister really loves my writing. While your CPs are all lovely people, it doesn’t hurt to stretch for different readers. I wrote a YA paranormal/horror and found lots of people to CP that. This year I’ll be looking for CPs for a YA sci-fi– new genres can sometimes mean new CPs and beta readers.
- JOIN IN THE FUN. Until last summer, writing felt like a really lonely thing. I’m not saying lonely is bad, it’s just that you can feel a bit like Sisyphus if you’re not careful. I realized that other people were rolling the same boulder as me and that maybe, just for a few weeks, we could roll that boulder together. One awesome mentee held PitchWars movies. Others asked questions about your MS and you could join in the hashtag fun. A group I found broke off to Google Hangouts to make a group.
- FIGURE OUT GIFS. I see a lot of people who don’t gif and that’s totally fine! I, on the other hand, have embraced our gif overlords and post them on the daily. It’s a great way of sharing your specific nerd culture and finding other nerds who use only Stark Trek: Next Generation gifs.
- READ ARTICLES, TAKE NOTES, LEARN SOMETHING. Writing contests are a great way to eat a slice of humble pie. Sometimes I get caught up in my project and forget that I still have a lot to learn by reading and practicing. While most writing advice is subjective, it’s still good to stretch your brain and try new things. People will be posting helpful articles, handy tips, and processes that worked for them. Read. Who knows what you’ll be able to take away?
As always, feel free to find me on Twitter in the side bar and we’ll be PitchWars pals together. Tell me about your MS and writing history! I’d love to chat!