Insecure Writers Support Group IWSG

IWSG Badge
The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Click here and visit a few IWSG blogs!

Welcome Pitch Wars people! I’ve been talking up the IWSG to Pitch Wars contest hopefuls on twitter because this writer community is supportive and consistent. I hope more writers jump on the monthly blog hop and IWSG Facebook group.

So, last night in a video chat on the Whiskey, Wine, and Writing video chat show (which is weekly on Mondays about writing topics!) the Pitch Wars crew revealed the 125 (!) writers chosen to pair with a more experienced writer to prepare manuscripts for an agent pitch round in November. Woohoo!!

Pitch Wars celebration is much like it is on Endor … so many Ewoks!

This post is for those who aren’t feeling so cheerful. Like any contest, for all the writers who got in, there are more who did not. 

It’s easy to say keep going, or look how many entries there were (1500!) so statically…. or, don’t be sad, there’s always another contest, another manuscript, etc. It’s easy to say all that when it’s not your ninth manuscript that’s going nowhere. Or if it’s not the fifth contest entered that didn’t lead to recognition. Easy to say if it isn’t you feeling sad.

I’ve seen writers comment openly on twitter that they want to give up. And like IWSG, the evolving Pitch Wars community is supportive, so many writers are rallying around them with encouragement to keep going, which is great and wonderful.

A few things I want to pose:

  • It’s okay to feel sad that you didn’t get chosen for a contest (or to be sad about an agent rejection, editor rejection, or negative feedback on manuscript.) Give yourself permission to feel what you do. Don’t feel pressure to artificially cheer up if you aren’t ready.
  • If you’re sad/mad/frustrated, take it offline. Vent to friends you know in real life, or find writers to talk to within a closed community and not a public forum. The Internet is forever.
  • Decide if you do really want to give up. No one can walk this road for you. Publishing is competitive and difficult, even after you get an agent. Even after a book deal. No one can decide if you should keep going except for yourself.
  • Reassess your goals. You can dream big always, but what can you do today to move forward with your writing? It could be reading a writing craft book, joining a writing community for support, or finding critique partners. Maybe it’s to take a break and do something else. 
Insecure Writers Group and Pitch Wars are ultimately about writers helping writers. Sometimes we’ll be in the position to give support, and other times we need it.
Here’s to September being the month of new goals and new opportunities! Please visit a few blogs linked above next to the IWSG photo.
Comments: what are your upcoming writing goals? What opportunities are you looking for? Do you know of a writer community you can share here that might benefit others?

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26 comments to Insecure Writers Support Group IWSG

  • Yeah, those contests are competitive. I remember reading a post by Dan Koboldt where he mentioned that about only 6% of the 2014 pitch war contest submissions become mentees. It's easy to feel discouraged and give up, but it's best to re-evaluate and think that your writing/story wasn't the right fit. Or take a break. And as for writing communities, I like and made friends on

  • Pitch Wars can be crazy, but it's always worth it to take the risk. We never know until we try! IWSG is a fantastic community to share and make friends. 🙂

  • Never make a rash decision, either. Give it time. As you said, it's okay to feel down for a while. Just don't stay there.

  • Excellent advice! And so important to remember. Like 2 months before I signed with my agent, I was not selected to become a pitchwars mentee. The contests are great opportunities for feedback and connection, but not being selected is not necessarily an indicator of what's to come. That's for sure.

    • Great point! Contests are just one way to improve. Two writers I know who were not picked last year signed with agents shortly after Pitch Wars. One has a book deal and a release date just months away, so it happened fast for her.

  • The writing life is a roller coaster. It's emotional and sometimes those emotions aren't positive. We have to feel them, we have to vent. It's healthy. I do like what you said about venting to people in person and leaving our anger and negativity off line. Very smart!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog this morning!


  • I love that you tell us to feel what we feel. In the grieving process one of the largest mistakes is holding it in. I think purging is good. Purging into the electronic page, even better. 😉

  • Rather than thinking in terms of giving up I prefer to think in terms of changing direction. It's probably not a bad idea to regularly reassess goals to make sure we're still on the right track.

    Good to hear of so much support out there.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  • I think it's really important to allow ourselves to feel sad or blue for a bit. We need those lows to enjoy the highs. 🙂

  • Sometimes it is hard not to get discouraged, there are so many people writing and getting published. If it is your dream however, you will find a way to keep at it. I do 🙂 Reading craft books is a good way to encourage yourself.

    • Yes. The more I do this, the more often I am reminded just how many people are aiming to be published. I'm glad the writers I network with are supportive and not competitive. Romance writers and the YA/middle grade authors share their knowledge. I've heard comments from writers in other fields that this isn't the case (literary and sci fi to an extent).

  • Great advice, especially the emotions. I tend to think of rejections as something not negative at all – it's one step closer to a yes. Delusional? Possibly. But I do work on improving my writing, so I hope that it's more positive thinking than delusional.
    IWSG is a wonderful community.

  • That is all great advice! I haven't really submitted to much yet, so I don't know the sting of that particular rejection. It's coming though. Glad I have IWSG and other writerly friends for support.
    My goal is to write as much of my mystery novel in the next two weeks as I can.
    Happy IWSG Day!
    ~ AJ

  • Competition is tough, but so is the writing gig in general. I say take a chance if you're up to it and walk away if your not. There are some brilliantly skilled people out there. I'm proud to be included the crowd. Nuff said.

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  • Not making the cut is hard, but it's not the end of the world. For those who keep trying, they will find their success.

  • This is a very realistic and yet encouraging post. With the announcement of the ISWG anthology contest, many of us will have to keep this in mind. I didn't set out to be an indie author, but now that I am, I'm hardcore about, but for those who are submitting to agents and publishing houses I think the Pitch Wars is an amazing opportunity to learn and grow even if you're not chosen. I'm going to tell others about it.

  • The older I get the easier it is for me to believe that everything happens exactly the way it is supposed to and if you didn't get in this time it's because there is something better coming your way. Of course that to is easy to say when you aren't the one feeling the sting of rejection.
    I have never met a more supportive group of people than writers. I am so grateful!

  • Thanks for saying this, Stephanie. I've been surprised that, for as hard as the writing industry is, writers are often completely unsympathetic when a colleague is struggling. I can't count how many times I've seen stuff like, "Well, if you're doing this for the money, you're in the wrong job," just because an author is hoping to paid for his/her work. Even in the most supportive writing communities, there seems to be this sense that if you're not tough enough, you don't deserve to be a writer.

    I call BS on that. We're all human, and there's parts of this job that would get anyone down from time to time. It hurts to be rejected. To be slammed in a review. To be passed over for a contest or other opportunity. You never know what else that person has going on in his/her life at the time, either. Thanks for saying it's okay to not be 100% optimistic all of the time.

    • I wonder if it has to do with what you write? The romance writers and YA writers I network with are not unsympathetic at all. I'm floored by the willingness of published authors to help those just starting out. When I was a newbie, I had the opportunity for a YA author to give me a critique on my query and first 4 chapters. She only had to do that much, but she continued to chat with me online and through email about decisions that might help me land an agent. I was so grateful and still am. I only hope I can return that favor to others.

  • I agree with Alex! Writing is hard work and rejection always hurts. I love this group and the support through the highs and the lows. All writer's need a pat on the back and a word of cheer to persevere.

  • I like your advice. We need to acknowledge our pain and disappointment. But, not winning doesn't have to equal quitting. Write other things. Publish in smaller presses or local magazines. And, write your stories because you enjoy doing it.
    Play off the Page

    • Part of me thinks, if someone is going to give up that easily, then maybe publishing is not for them. It really is hard. But there are so many options for support, that urge to give up should be a last resort.

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