For those of you who have been following the PitchWars frenzy, you all know that last night, the sly Brenda Drake released this year’s mentee picks early (you wily girl, you). I’ve been working overtime to polish my MS and make it shine for potential mentors. So as you can imagine, the possibility of being a PitchWars 2016 mentee was the shiny cherry on top of a delectable cake. And so, I browsed the winners, heart hammering, tears brimming, and I noticed the following …

Yup, you read that right. I was selected!

PitchWars 2016 mentee — the details

For those of you who didn’t participate or who aren’t familiar with the PitchWars process, I’ll lay it out for you. Every year, the amazing and wonderful Brenda Drake runs a contest where aspiring novelists can submit their books to mentors of their choosing (you can find a more in-depth break down of the contest here). Each mentor gets to select ONE mentee to work with for two months. That includes one-on-one communication and editing to get the submitted MS glowing for the agent round in November. So for the next two months, I get to work with the lovely and talented Layla Reyne.

I’m so touched and thrilled to be working with her. To put it in perspective, this year there were just shy of 2,000 submissions sent in for PitchWars. Each mentor received anywhere from 60-150 submissions (I’m just guessing here, as not all mentors released the amount of submissions they received), broken down into their age category (i.e., adult, young adult, middle grade) and genre (i.e., fantasy, romance, thriller, sci-fi, etc.). Each mentor can only choose one mentee to work with (save the few mentors who won wildcard picks and took on an additional mentee). So to say I’m humbled that Layla picked me is a massive understatement. I legit ugly cried last night when I saw she’d put in for my MS.

The four-letter word of writing

There’s a lot running through my mind right now. I’ve worked for years to bring my writing skills up to snuff, so knowing that someone else enjoys my work brings happiness to my heart. But for those aspiring novelists out there who weren’t selected as a PitchWars 2016 mentee (I feel your pain — that was me last year), don’t think that you’re writing isn’t good enough. I won’t get too serious with you guys (after all, I did that in my previous post), but please remember that writing is subjective.

I know, subjective is like the non-four-letter word that should be a four-letter word in our writing world. It sucks and it’s hard to comprehend. But think of it this way: just as you waded through mentors’ bios and finalized your decision, picking one mentor over the other (for those non-PitchWars readers, we were only allowed to submit to six mentors), mentors had to do the exact same thing with manuscripts. It doesn’t mean you aren’t talented. It doesn’t mean they didn’t like you. In fact, it doesn’t have any reflection on you as a person at all. It simply could be that the writing just didn’t speak to them.

Please, if you’re in this position now, doubting your own words and whether or not you should continue, don’t give up. Take a break if you need to. Give yourself time to lick your wounds and pick your head up. But please, don’t stop writing.

Parting thanks and thoughts

To bring everything back full circle … I’m so thrilled to be a PitchWars 2016 mentee. Layla, I can’t wait to work with you, and I’m literally jumping for joy (yes, literally). I also want to take a quick moment here to thank all the other individuals who made this possible:

  • Brenda and her team of lovelies for facilitating the contest.
  • All the other mentors I submitted to who took the time to review my work — thank you!
  • Every mentor, really, who dedicated time to this contest. Even if I didn’t submit to you, you’re a shining example of the awesomeness that is our writing community.
  • Anyone and everyone who posted wonderful links to help others hone their writing craft.
  • And of course, to my lovely CP Tricia McKee. You know what you did. And you rule. I’m so excited we’ve both been selected and we get to continue this process together.

That’s all I’ve got for right now. Seriously, there are so many talented writers out there, and I’m humbled to be a part of this amazing journey. Keep writing!