Overcoming contest angst

In the last few days before #PitchWars mentees are announced, I've been sitting around trying to plan my life for the next few months. Ever since I started to seriously get back into writing again (February of this year), I read up on quite a few resources such as the Writember workshop and multiple blogs about forming good habits and about making a commitment to writing (She's Novel, Real+Good Writing). I started to write daily in April, built a website about #WriteDaily in June, and launched it in July. I completed a project (YA paranormal) in August, and submitted it to #PitchWars. What a crazy 6 months it's been! 

I would like to chronicle my writing daily progress on this blog, but I have to admit that it will always take second place to my actual writing projects since I have to keep my goals in mind. My goal has always been to see my name on a published book, and to do so via the traditional publishing route. 

Even though it would be wonderful to have my manuscript selected for #PitchWars and to revise it with the help of authors who are in the know about the revision process, I have to mentally prepare for the fact that when the reveal day comes, my name may not be on that list of mentees. After all of the twitter feed stalking and the agonizing over the past few days, I'm starting to realize that - hey, I'm ok with not being picked. 

There are so many mentors that have posted about their previous #PitchWars experiences or their querying experiences, and it's made me realize that it isn't that there are only two ways to publishing - traditional vs self. There are actually many ways to become traditionally published in the first place. You can enter your query / first few pages in contests that have agent participation, you can go pitch at a conference, or you can join in twitter pitch parties, or you can do it the standard way - by e-mail queries.

Joining the contest is just the start. I put my writing out there. I submitted my project and I'm learning about the process. That's what really matters. There have been many conversations on the twitter feed about writing and revising, I've learned so much from browsing through all of the conversations. One of the conversations was about having a plan if your MS isn't picked, and I realized when I responded to it that I already had lots of ideas swirling in my head in preparation for the next few months. 

For the remaining days of August I will be outlining my new project (It's about VIDEO GAMES. So exciting.)  I've already started to read through "Outlining Your Novel" by K.M. Weiland again. That book helped me a lot when I started NOBODY TOLD US...I'm also using some of the techniques in Holly Lisle's course (I'm very behind on this course, good thing it's self paced!) to work through some of the obstacles that I've already encountered in the planning process. I feel like now I finally have some techniques and the whole process is not so overwhelming anymore. 

In September I plan to dive back into NOBODY TOLD US and do a major edit. I want to rip the manuscript to pieces in the first few weeks to work on some plot holes I already know are there, to clean up the beginning and also make way for more emotional impact in my action scenes. I want the story to have smoother pacing. After that I want to revisit each scene to ensure that the structure of those scenes are the most effective that it can be, before doing another line edit to tighten up word usage. I'm looking at one more major revision, and then two more readthroughs. The plan is also to send it out to find a dream critique partner that I can work with through this MS, as well as any future stories (and I will get to read their amazing stories as well, win win). 

I'm going to revise with October in mind because I want to pitch at #DVPit. It's a twitter pitch contest for underrepresented voices. Since NOBODY TOLD US is an #Ownvoices story inspired by Chinese ghost stories and my Taiwan summer camp experience, I thought it would be the perfect way to start my querying journey. 

After that in October - December, I'm going to complete my first draft of the video game story and the cycle starts again! Instead of being a nervous wreck though, this time I'm actually excited about the upcoming months! I have to accept that I'm meant for working with deadlines and that I can't be left alone to work on things on my own. 

I already have a goal for next year too, in the murky depths of my mind. I want to pitch at a writer's conference for the experience (while attending my very first writing conference, period!). Not to mention some real life changes are brewing too, with a possible move in our future due to the nature of my husband's job. It looks like I'm committing to this writing thing for the long haul!