On July 19 I was just living my life. Doing my thang. Went to bed not realizing my life would change for the better the next day.

On July 20 I saw several people I follow on Twitter talking about something called #PitchWars. I started creeping on the hashtag as curiosity got the better of me. I went to Brenda Drake’s website and began reading about it. Then my face did this:

I read some more and then I was like:

I MUST DO THIS.

I quickly learned the appeal is more than the chance to work closely with a mentor (although that is freaking awesome) – it’s the community as a whole. It’s the giving and receiving of support and encouragement.

For those who are thinking “dafuq is Pitch Wars?” It’s a contest where you select a certain number of agented/published writers to submit your completed manuscript to in the hopes they will choose you as their mentee. Then over the course of two months they will work with you to polish your manuscript before a chance to pitch it to agents.

TL;DR version: Work closely with a rad person who will give you the feedback you need, and get ahead of the agent slush pile.

Back to the topic of the Pitch Wars community. Holy hell these people are amazing. On the mentor side, these are people who have their own deadlines and careers to worry about (plus personal lives) and they dedicate a massive amount of time to help out unpublished authors. WTAF. It’s amazing. They treat your writing with such care and respect. I adore them all.

On the potential mentee side of things, you have the chance to e-meet a ton of people in about the same stage as you in your writing career. Most are unpublished and all have at least one completed book. The writers represent a wide variety of genres. Folks are beyond supportive and kind. It’s easy to find people who write the same genre and age group as you to make deeper connections.

Over the past two weeks I’ve made incredible new friends, critique partners, been a cheerleader, been cheered for, gotten to know mentors and potential mentees. In other words…

I’ve found my tribe.

This has been an intense two weeks for me outside of writing. I have to put my beloved dog, Rufus, down and I’ve had my three-year cancer remission scans (still waiting for results as I write this). The Pitch Wars community has staggered me with their support and love. Perfect strangers who care. I’m in awe.

Rufus <3

Rufus <3

There have been innumerable benefits to jumping in (albeit way late) to the Pitch Wars community, including:

  1. Finding people who empathize with you on your writing journey. These people *get* what you’re going through and how you feel. They want to give you nothing but love and support.
  2. Having a generous and massive community to ask questions or advice. While everyone is at a similar stage in their journey, we all have different experience and expertise. For example, I asked a question on the hashtag about resources for learning how to represent diversity better in my writing and bam! People sent me lots of amazing resources.
  3. Identifying potential critique partners and beta readers. Some folks created a Facebook group for any potential mentee to join. I met some other adult/new adult romance writers in there and swapped first chapters and queries. It was so helpful to have feedback from other people! I made a Facebook group specifically for adult/new adult romance writer 2016 Pitch Wars mentees and it’s been great already. I look forward to getting to know these people better, sharing our work, brainstorming, cheerleading, and being better writers. Somehow swapping with Pitch Wars folks feels a little less cold call-y than other CP searching methods.
  4. Making new friends who you can support (and who will support you) on your writing journey. I know this post is basically a gush about this point, but it’s true. Until you’ve participated in the Pitch Wars community, it’s difficult to understand how incredible these people are and how much support you get.

Everyone has the goal of being chosen as a mentee, but that is the cherry on top of an already delicious cake. It’s like a rainbow vanilla cake with cherry frosting. Oh and a slice of German chocolate cake. Ooh and coconut cake. Wait! Can’t forget the yellow cake with chocolate frosting. MMM CAKE.

If you are considering Pitch Wars for next year, please give it a try. In two weeks it has made a huge difference in my life. I have new friends. I have writers at a similar career and skill level stage to share work with (and get feedback from). I am more confident in my writing. I’m more comfortable in giving and receiving feedback. I’ve had more practice in revising. I’ve learned I can write and revise as a quick speed.  I’ve sent a book to a stranger. That latter feels like a hella huge step to me! My first real query. *g*

To members of the Pitch Wars community, thank you! I adore you all and best of luck in your writing journey!

To those considering trying Pitch Wars next time, DO IT. DOOOO IIIIIIIT.