Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The One For 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees #sol15

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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Last year, on a complete whim, I entered and was selected for Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars. Applicants share query letters and first chapters of their manuscripts and mentors choose one person and one alternate. Mentors work with mentees to polish up their manuscripts and get them ready for the agent round where fabulous agents come and make requests. It's an amazing opportunity! 

Now a new batch of Pitch Wars mentees are waiting to find out if they were picked by a mentor and I'm sharing my best advice for the 2015 Pitch Wars mentees...but this advice is also relevant to all my writer friends out there!

Dear 2015 Pitch Wars Mentees (And All My Writer Friends),

I've snuck out of my house super early in the morning and super late at night to write. I've tucked myself into my closet and snuggled into my laundry room to write. I have playlists and white noise soundtracks loaded onto my phone so I can focus while I write. I've read all sorts of books blog posts and websites about writing. But meeting wonderful people who are on this writing adventure too and embracing the writing community and has helped me the most as a writer. They help me stay sane, help keep going, and help me know that living a writing life is more than sitting in front of a computer like Mr. Incredible here.

Last year, I was mentored by an amazing, two-person, Pitch Wars team Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie. They were supportive when I didn't know what I was doing, when I asked a million questions, and when I e-mailed them at all sorts of crazy hours. I was lucky enough to meet them in person last fall and they were as great in person as I imagined they would be. Pitch Wars helped me connect with Trisha, Lindsay, their alternate Kelly Calabrese, and writers they mentored previously. It was fun to be part of a team and to feel supported by them. Be kind to your mentors and their friends - they'll be your allies way beyond Pitch Wars!
Lindsay, Me, and Trisha at The Book Cellar for the release of their book Creed.
The best advice I can give to any writer 
is to find others who are writing too. 

Find people who are in the same headspace as you when it comes to writing - maybe they are working on their first draft, maybe they are revising, maybe they are querying, maybe they are on submission. But at the same time, connect with people who aren't in the same place as you when it comes to writing. I believe it's important to surround yourself with others who get it and can cheer you along. But make sure to help others who might be inspired by you at the same time. Share your journey, seek out mentors, buoy others up, nudge people along with you. I feel so so so lucky that people have believed in me along the way and shared their stories with me. It's inspiring and makes my heart want to burst when I think about it. 

The other day, I was writing at Starbucks. It happens quite often, I love to write at Starbucks. I took a picture to share - partly to document my life as a writer and partly to celebrate writing with others. Here's the picture:
When I tagged the post with #amwriting on Instagram, it told me that there are 13,797,530 other posts with the #amwriting hashtag. That's pretty cool! That's a lot of people who are writing and talking about writing. While not everyone in the world can say they've written a book, there are a lots of people on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook talking about writing. There's no excuse to not be connected.
Follow #amwriting, #writing, and #pitchwars. Other hashtags I love are #teacherswrite, #tcwrp, #pubtalktv, #mswl. I love the quotes @advicetowriters shares and recently found this awesome list of Authors Every Aspiring Writer Should Follow On Twitter from Quirk Books.

Whether you have a Pitch Wars mentor or other mentors in your life, be kind to them, appreciate them, thank them by adding to the amazing community of writers on social media. We're all one big writing family waiting to add you to our group hug!

And speaking of my Pitch Wars family...Lindsay and Trisha have a new book coming out on September 15th! (It's actually already available on Amazon and in some bookstores.) SWEET MADNESS is "a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan". How creepy and cool does that sound? Be sure to check it out!

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