Following Your Passion #PitchWars #PW16RevClub #AmWriting #AmRevising

My wildflower garden is going to seed, which is my favorite part of the year. It looks weedy and dead, but it’s actually full of life–caterpillars, mantises, and sassy little yellow finches.

Among all the dry and brittle stalks a passionflower popped up:


It is late in the year for new blooms, but I smile every time I see it. It reminds me that passion can sometimes find us later in life than we expected.

We have to remain open to the possibility of maybe. Maybe I can. Maybe I will.

Maybe this will be it.

A year ago I stumbled across #PitMad on Twitter, and I fell in love with the concept. Writers pitch their books to agents on a Twitter feed who ask them for submissions. The part of me that longs for efficiency experienced minor heart palpations at the thought. No cold queries! No wasted time!  Brilliant!

I poked around, looking for more information, and discovered that Pit Mad is the little sister to Pitch Wars, an even more amazing concept. Writers submit their queries and the first ten pages of their manuscript to a limited number of mentors, and if they get picked they spend the next two months refining their work to get ready for the agent pitch round.

They had me at “mentor”.

I’ve spent the past year taking webnairs, going to conferences, and focusing on learning how to write a novel.

There was only a 7% chance of getting picked for Pitch Wars.

I got picked.*

Being chosen doesn’t mean my manuscript was the best–it means my mentor thought she could work with me to make my book better. It’s kind of like being picked for The Biggest Loser. You are happy to be chosen, but you know it’s because you have a lot of work to do.

And the work! Oh my. My amazing mentor, Rebecca Petruck, told me her vision for my story, and everything she said made sense. I am excited to do the work to make it better.

But when the mentors said Pitch Wars was work, it was no hyperbole.


I am re-writing my entire book, from scratch. The past month I have written over 23,000 words. New words. Beautiful words. Words that make me happy.

Except when they don’t. I hit a low this week, paddling in circles at midpoint. I lost the thread, and wailed, and gnashed my teeth for about five days. My mentor was busy. My husband was loving but clueless how to help. My family was, well, we’ll just say less than supportive, since my mother is convinced Pitch Wars is an on-line scam and my dad thinks my sister magically controls the close captioning when it goes off on the TV.

So what do you do when you are writing a whole new story in a single month, and you are floundering?

Looking for this gif I stumbled on a writer, Claire Banschbach,  who did a delightful post on writing using gifs from the Princess Bride

I took off two days and read what I had written so far.

It didn’t suck.

You think a little head jiggle is going to make me happy?

Some days, a little head jiggle is enough. I caught the thread again, realized what my story wants to say, and can now see my way to the end. My palms are shiny with callouses from the constant typing, and I think my blood has turned to coffee.

And I love it.


*Read my interview here: