Thursday, August 11, 2016

The PitchWars Experience: from nausea to euphoria (and everything in between)

PitchWars, like pretty much every aspect of the writing life, is a wild ride. This is largely because writers are crazy masochists with no control over their emotions whatsoever. Or maybe that’s just me…heh. But surely I’m not the only one to experience a wide range of emotions during PitchWars.


There’s the crippling self-doubt and angst that precedes hitting the send button; the nausea-inducing anxiety and the delicious hope/terror combo during the how-can-three-weeks-take-so-freaking-long period before the announcement; and the shock/euphoria/no-wait-maybe-it-was-a-mistake/it’s-all-a-cruel-joke/no-really-I-made-it-in of being selected or, sadly, the crushing disappointment of not being selected, despite knowing that with 2000 applicants and not quite as many mentors, the odds are not particularly in our favor. Oh writers, why do we do this to ourselves?


Because we’re crazy masochists with no control over our emotions whatsoever?? Nah. It’s because we’re writers. It’s because stories are meant to be shared. Because putting your work out there is part of the deal. Because working your butt off to get a manuscript contest-ready is one of the absolute best ways of improving your craft. And because the good stuff—the hope, the possibility, the camaraderie, the community—makes all that other stuff so completely worth it.

I was a mentee in 2014. I was thrilled to be picked! Amazing high point! Thanks to my critique partners, my manuscript was in pretty good shape when I submitted it, but my mentor, the brilliant and kind Stefanie Wass (*waves* hi Stef!), challenged me to bring it to the next level. We worked hard on it. And then … I got zero requests. Nada. Zilch. Aaaand the emotional train came crashing down to a deep, dark low point. So not fun.

But you know, I’m very glad I entered, and I like to think that if I hadn’t made it in, I’d still feel that way. PitchWars people are my people. They get me, and they get what it takes to put yourself out there, to fail, to dust yourself off and try again, to never quit. I need my people! I think we all do. So whether you’re doing PitchWars or not, find your people and hang on to them, because yes, the writing life is a wild ride. :)


By the way, I just gotta tell you … that zero-request manuscript will arrive in the world as a real paper-and-ink book this October. (Squee!) Remember, PitchWars is awesome, but if you don't get in, or you didn't enter, it's okay—there are many paths that can lead to Very Good Things.

6 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your upcoming book, ROOTBEER CANDY and OTHER MIRACLES, Shari. I've never done a pitch war but submitting and dealing with crickets is familiar, and part of the parcel. :,(

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    1. Thanks, Mirka! :)

      Yes, for sure crickets are a part of it. Waiting is so hard, and we have to do so much of it, lol.

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  2. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. You certainly have proved that you're in for the long haul. So proud that you're in my critique group. You're such a fabulous writer. Love ROOTBEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES! What a great title! Nice post here, too.

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    1. Thanks, Diana! So thankful for you and the other wonderful women in my crit group. :)

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  3. Love ROOTBEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES! And you, Shari! Without Pitch Wars, we might not have connected. So happy for your success!

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    1. Thank you, Stefanie! I'm so glad PW brought us together. <3 :)

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