Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Insecure Writer: Pitch Wars and NaNoWriMo

Nothing like putting yourself out there to the whole world to light a match to insecurity. At least when you are querying, you are only putting yourself out to one or two at a time. When you enter an online contest you're out there for anyone to see whether you got agent requests or not.
The first Wednesday of the month
 is time for Insecure Writers Support Group,
hosted by Alex Cavanaugh and his
excellent team. 
So I'm going to be out there tomorrow, November 6, on the Pitch Wars alternate showcase on Dee Romito's I Write for Apples blog. (Well, it's my pitch and first page for Star Tripped that's out there, but my name is also out there, so it feels like I'm out there). Yesterday and today are the main Pitch Wars pitch showcases on Brenda Drake's blog, where I've been stalking and mentally cheering on my favorites. Some of my favorites are also agent favorites (4 or more requests!) and others haven't had an agent visit yet at all, which perplexes me. But then again, "favorites" is such a subjective thing.

We know that, right? (I have to keep telling myself this). Writers who have started putting themselves out there to see if they get any bites? There's going to be people who love our ideas or characters and think our writing has potential, and then there's going to be a LOT of people that skip on to the next offering, because your stuff doesn't click with them. And that is okay (I have to keep telling myself this!) We're allowed to be different and like different things. This is a good thing.

Still, I'm insecure, but I love that the timing of Pitch Wars coincides with NaNoWriMo, because that helps, and here's why:

1) because there's nothing like another new exciting writing project to get your mind off the other project that's getting the occasional nibble but not any solid bites.

2) I love the #LifeDuringNaNo Tumblr. Oh my gosh people, this gif!! Whenever I rediscover the Muppets' Beaker it's like rediscovering how to laugh like a little kid. It made me laugh for like five minutes. My teenager heard me laughing last night and actually got out of bed to come see what was so funny.
Plot holes 

3) I love the author pep talks for NaNo. This year, I've already been inspired by Chuck Wendig's donuts. Donuts!! Writer donuts! (these are the kind of donuts that are even better than sugary donuts)

4) NaNo makes me fall in love with all my little writer rituals again. Like how I want to take a picture of my writing recliner (I don't use a desk) and the fairy lights decorated around it and the bulletin board of inspiration and ideas on the wall next to it and an upended wooden box on the floor next to it that is just the perfect perch for a mug warmer and a mug of tea. (You know about mug warmers, right? Absolutely essential for writing. You might get inspired and write like crazy for a half hour, and then when you come up for air your tea or coffee has gone cold! You need a mug warmer!)

5) I love that we get a whole month that's labeled a special writing month, with lots of people participating in the madness (usually I feel very alone in my madness)

6) and (or your own personal writing playlist). In past years I've used Brandford Marsalis as my background music; this year I'm into gentle rainy white noise.
“A moderate level of noise enhances creativity compared to both low and high levels of noise. Moderate background noise induces distraction which encourages individuals to think at a higher, abstract level, and consequently exhibit higher creativity.”
7) NaNoWriMo reminds that my main reason for writing isn't to get published. Sure, that would be awesome (but I'm also aware that it's not ALL awesome. Goodreads reviewers scare the living daylights out of me). My main reason for writing is simply that I love making up stories and characters and places and events. It feeds my soul.

How about you?

Coming next: the things that I DON'T like about NaNoWriMo. (Thankfully, it's a shorter list!)

Also, no matter what happens with Pitch Wars, requests or not, I'm so thankful to my mentor, Veronica Bartles, and all the other mentors who donated so much time to help us revise and polish our stories and pitches, and cheered us on. Amazing people.

*Update: my pitch did get a few requests!


  1. I've got my fingers crossed for you with Pitch Wars! It's so nerve wracking. I entered in 2012, not expecting anything of it--and frankly not caring or paying attention--(because it was a new contest and I had no idea what the response would be). Believe it or not, that was the contest that shot me into the publishing world. I'm hoping for epic requests on your behalf!

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

    1. I'd love to read your Pitch Wars story!

    2. I should totally write it out, right? Okay, there's a project for me. =)

  2. So true that keeping your mind occupied with a new project should help keep the jitters at bay. Hope you fare well in the Pitch Wars!

    Interesting your switch from music to white noise. I find that white noise generally makes me sleepy. In urban areas, you need it to drown out traffic sounds, so it's almost a Pavlovian thing now. I hear a fan or rain noise, and zzzzz. Bach, Mozart or Vivaldi are often my go-to guys when drafting--instrumentals with no voices or lyrics.

    1. I sleep with a fan, and I think a fan would certainly put me to sleep instead of into writing mode... but rain sounds have just enough subtle variation, it works for me. Classical music doesn't work! Even though I love it! But soothing spa music is another good option for me, for writing.

  3. Especially 5) I love that we get a whole month that's labeled a special writing month, with lots of people participating in the madness (usually I feel very alone in my madness)

    I know how you feel! And it's why I love NaNo and why I love IWSG! I'm not actually alone...I just think I am sometimes. <3

    1. That's why I keep coming back to IWSG and NaNo too!

  4. As the actors say, break a leg, girl.

  5. totally agree, with #1 and #4 in particular!

  6. What a great post! I was visiting early yesterday and am glad I came back to see what you had to say. I'm doing NaNo as well, and wish you well with it as well as the Pitch Wars. Good luck!

  7. Good luck with your pitches! It's hard to have your stuff out there, hanging in the breeze and hoping that you'll get picked. I've had mixed results with contests, some manuscripts just seem to be contest bait, others... Still, I'm sure you'll do a bang up job!

  8. I am sooo proud and happy for you. It takes a LOT of courage to put your work out there, and it is terrifying to have it be public and have people see if you don't get anything. But the risk is always worth it. Excited to see where this takes you!

  9. I always read about Pitch Wars on Twitter because I follow a couple of authors who are involved in it (Jen Malone and Gail Nall, primarily). It sounds like a great way to get your work noticed by the people in the industry who matter.

  10. Good luck with Pitch Wars! I entered this year, in spite of having already begun indie publishing, and didn't make it in. Contests are really subjective, even when you've passed the first round.



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