I’m not an exceptionally experienced writer. I have one manuscript under my belt and two halvsies. But I’m fairly experienced when it comes to contests. I’ve entered a few.
In fact, I’ve entered 12 writing contests in the past year. They’re usually run by the RWA but I’ve entered three that were on a worldwide level ( Myslexia, A Woman’s Write, and Ya.Authors.me). They have a few differences, but they all have one thing in common. There is a distinct winner.
“That’s how a contest works,” you say, and ready yourself to move on.
You don’t need to waste your time reading things you already understand.
BUT WAIT! I have a point, I swear!!!!
Guys, #Pitchwars isn’t that type of contest. Pitchwars is an opportunity. If you play your cards right, you will walk away with something beneficial, even if you don’t get picked by a mentor. That is always a win.
So, let’s list a few of the benefits of this contest, besides the ever- envied Mentor.
- A Beta Reader.
- A Critique Partner
- Query Edits
- AUTHOR SUPPORT
- The experience of rejection
- The experience of acceptance
- A measurement of how far you’re willing to go
Guys, this industry is rejection. It will only make you stronger.
Okay, that’s a little bit of stretch, but you get the idea.
As an author, you’re setting yourself up for failure. That’s part of the deal. I learned that lesson very quickly when I lost my first contest. I didn’t even make it to through the first round, and I got a nasty critique letter that didn’t sugar coat the truth. It was painful, but you know what? It was the best thing that ever happened to my writing. I will forever thank the judge who took the time to be brutally honest, and for adding that the reason she was so harsh was because she saw unstructured talent.
I took the advice and rewrote, and things started changing for me. My first final was elating, but the truth is my biggest win was that first loss. Without that failure, I would never have learned the value of a negative critique. It taught me to look at my writing with a critical eye; there is always room for improvement. It taught me to straighten up and deal with the tough stuff because no one is going to hand me a map that leads to greatness. If I want this, I’m going to earn some scars, which is okay because they make my skin thicker.
When I entered #Pitchwars, I didn’t see it as a contest. Pitchwars was a giant vat of opportunity I could submerge my writing into if I was willing to get the pages of my manuscript wet. The ink might run, and some lines might be lost, but the pretty skeleton of the story would remain.
So I threw myself in. It’s a little deeper than I anticipated and the water is rough, but there are plenty of fellow writers around me and we are swimming together.
I’ve found a critique partner or two, possibly three! I’ve had my query ripped up in the best way. New sets of eyes showed me flaws I could never see, and now I have the ability to patch up the issues. All in all, I’ve gotten better.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is a win.
I hope you all find your win, too.