This last week 3,133 hopeful writers like me submitted their unpublished novels to #PitchWars. A friend asked me to explain why this matters. My angst was not convincing enough.

PitchWars is a writing contest. A BIG one. You send off the first chapter of your book in hopes that someone who is wiser than you (industry professional, typically agented/published author) will like it enough to mentor you. Mentoring is the prize. And it comes with two months of busting-your-butt-rewrites, edits, and whatever-it-takes-es to get your manuscript into fighting shape for the Agent Showcase in November. Anything goes in the Agent Showcase. ANYTHING. No offers, few offers, lotsa offers, astronomical offers.

Do we need to remember Stephen’s advice? “Do it for the joy and you can do it forever.”

The submission window for PitchWars closed today. And it was exciting. And it was joyous. Thousands of talented people dug deep and found the courage and hope to launch their dreams. And as I write this, there is a huge party taking place on the #PitchWars feed. Because entering PitchWars, and writing a book is kinda a big deal.

But now it’s out of our hands. And after a month of frenzied prep, late nights, pizza and chocolate cake suppers, freakouts, tears (the exhausted/scared/ugly/vindicated/joyous/happy/sad/angry/surprised tears), and more social media than I’ve ever done in my entire life, it is TIME to regroup. Because in less than three weeks from now (August 24th) the “winners” are announced.

So for the next three-ish weeks I am looking forward to the little things that fuel my soul. August 24th is coming, and I’m going to have lots of feelings no matter what happens. There are thousands of us hoping to land a spot with only 150 mentors. I’m cheering for HUNDREDS of new friends. Feelings. FEELINGS!

So this is what regrouping looks like to me:

Smelling flowers. Especially homegrown roses.

Reading for fun. Not critiquing. Not editing. Just reading for joy. I may even visit this shop.

Home-cooking that involves fresh fruit and vegetables.

Painting my nails. Don’t judge me. Very unphotogenic girls get to feel pretty too.

Nature. Especially trees. Waldeinsamkeit and komorebi are words that I love.

Telly time with Mr. Amelia. Poldark, we are coming ba-ack!

Writing long-hand. Journaling, imaging. It’s such a luxury to write in a pretty notebook with a good pen. And my handwriting is gorgeous… as long as lined paper is involved.

So how do you regroup? What do you do that nourishes your soul after something big? Do you have any daily regrouping activities that keep you sane?


  • Ona August 8, 2017 Reply

    Sleep, first, foremost and always. Comfort food helps too. Warm cookies, yummy pastas, chocolate cake, a piece of my favorite cheese. A good book. I just finished _Tears We Cannot Stop_, which was amazing. I had a solid 10+ years as a grownup before my kids arrived and had other regrouping strategies then that feel nigh-impossible with a two year-old and a six month old: getting a $25 foot massage (great place near our old house), a pedicure, a long run, yoga class. But these things involve time away from the kiddos that just can’t be spared right now on top of my other commitments, like you know, work. Breastfeeding.

    • Amelia Hollingsworth August 9, 2017 Reply

      Yes! I find that alone time is very restorative, but mamas get little alone time and nursing mamas get none. I was looking forward to visiting a Contemporary Art Museum this week, but it is closed until 2019! What?! The campus is getting a $55 million face lift that will double its gallery space. Awesome. Except. I wanted to get away and think in a quiet museum that has spectacular views of the Pacific. Maybe I will check out the cafe tomorrow.

  • L. Ryan Storms August 9, 2017 Reply

    Ooooo – I spy Zion! <3 Yay for nature!

    If there's one good thing about having kids and also about the medical hell my husband is currently going through (and by association, we are *all* currently going through), it's that PitchWars cannot occupy my every waking moment. Whew for that.

    Lovely post! I hope it inspires other PitchWars hopefuls to keep it real over the next few weeks, too!

    • Amelia Hollingsworth August 14, 2017 Reply

      “America’s Best Idea!” Right?

      I’m so sorry for all your husband, you, and your family are going through! My happy thoughts, hugs, and kisses for y’all.

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *