Yesterday, I submitted my adult space opera GALATEA’S PARADOX to my chosen Pitch Wars mentors.
Then, just this morning, a Twitter friend liked a tweet from this time last year, after I’d submitted my urban fantasy manuscript, CAMBION’S LAW, to the contest–my first time entering. I’d forgotten exactly how that felt, and reading it reminded me of how far I’ve come in a year.
(I didn’t end up writing that story as conceived. Instead, I took that energy and put it into GALATEA’S PARADOX–a manuscript I had already drafted but stalled out on.)
I wrote about my experience in Pitch Wars 2019 here. Last year, I felt terrified when submitting. I didn’t have a #WritingCommunity and I didn’t have the first clue what I was doing. I tossed my hat into the ring but I didn’t feel confident in my manuscript or in my path forward. I also didn’t take it as seriously as I could have–I wrote my query and synopsis on the fly during the submission period. I had never queried ANYONE before. I didn’t know what to expect.
And those teasers, man. They were TORTURE. The kind I kept coming back for. Pro tip: limit your time on the #PWTeasers tag. They are fun, but you won’t learn anything useful (by design). If you’re anxious like me, they can send you into a downward spiral of uncertainty.
This year I PREPPED. Did I ever! Over the last three months, I rewrote and revised my manuscript, meeting a goal of 40k words per month. I spent the last weeks leading up to Pitch Wars working with my wonderful and kind CPs to hone my submission package. I sought feedback on my query and synopsis and revised them multiple times.
When I got to the submission form, I didn’t feel the kind of terror and doubt I felt last year. I felt…strange. Calm. What?! Ok, I did have a few butterflies. But I also knew I’d done everything I could to polish my submission package. There’s a certain peace that comes with that. I’ve done my best. I’m leaving it all on the field this year.
No, my manuscript isn’t perfect–I already have some ideas for how to revise it on the next round–but I’ve worked hard on it these last few months and I’m proud of what it’s become. I feel so much affection for these characters and their journeys. I hope that affection and commitment and work shines through on my pages.
But if it doesn’t, I’m already working on my next project. A fun, queer as fuck, trope-spoofing fantasy romance about a disgraced paladin with chronic pain and a shit-talking sword who falls for a dragon-rescuing not-really-evil fey sorceress.
Ultimately, whether I get requests or not for GALATEA’S PARADOX, whether I get chosen or not, this year has already been a success beyond my wildest dreams. Thanks to reaching out on Twitter and joining several awesome writers’ groups on Discord, I’ve found myself part of a vibrant community of my peers, who are giving me LIFE in the bizarre and scary year that is 2020.
Seriously, I don’t know where I’d be without them. And I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t used this quarantine world to reconnect with the joy of creating and my passion for writing. In committing so much energy to my craft, I’ve come to understand that this is the kind of work I truly love. Even when it’s difficult and it feels like pulling teeth to get words on the page, even when I’m yanking out a manuscript’s guts to put it back together in a new form, it brings a deep-down sense of satisfaction. Like I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to do.
That fulfillment is something I’ve hunted for all my life, and it was here with me the whole time. I just didn’t have the courage to claim it. And now…
This year just feels different.
Good luck, everyone! Tell me all your Pitch Wars feels in the comments!