On October 31st at 12Pm I was talking to my critique partner, Nic, on the phone while hitting refresh on the #P2P16 Twitter feed. I had zero expectation that I’d be selected by an editor. I was in a low point, having difficulty writing my current WIP and my body was slowly filling with self-doubt.
…and I yelled, “OMG! OMG! I was picked!!!!”
“See, I told you. I don’t know why you doubt yourself,” Nic said.
Seeing this Gif was visceral. It showed Mary, my MC, at her worst and I knew she’d approve. Most of all I felt understood!
Then my feed filled with congratulations. And I stared at the tiny messages of love and support and couldn’t really process it. After a year of, “No,” this was a profound, “YES!”
I hung up with Nic and made sure my fingers typed out THANK YOU!
Instead of trying NaNoWriMo, this year I’ll be working with Alana Saltz to polish DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL to a high shine. Over the summer I re-ordered my entire book, cut over 4k words and added new chapters. I brutally killed my favorite darlings and cut the sensations of traveling between Heaven, Earth and the Past. Beta readers asked that I explain how a soul travels, but agents didn’t care for it.
I’ve lived with Mary, my MC, for six years. She began as a secondary character in another YA book I wrote and I fell in love with her exquisite pain, her longing and missing. I knew she had lots to say. Her delivery is blunt, often brutal, despite the softness of her heart.
DEAR DEAD DRUNK GIRL is told via flashbacks, real-time and letters. I didn’t write it in order and I’ve changed the order in which it’s told 3x. It is not an easy task- yet I’m driven to perfect her story.
I’m so thankful and humbled that my story is connecting with people. I hope to share it with many more people soon.
For those writers who weren’t selected. I know your disappointment. I entered PitchWars 3 x and was never selected. I’ve done PitchMad and a bunch of other contests. I didn’t get picked, but I made friends. I cheer for them when they get agents. I watched one friend struggle to find her agent. I wrote to her when she wanted to quit writing and told her the world needs her stories- that her imagination is amazing. Her book came out last month. I’ve gone to book signings and filled my bookcase with friends accomplishments. But you know what I never did? I NEVER GAVE UP.
I have a note pinned to the wall in front of my computer. It says:
I’ll do it because I’m not a quitter.
I never give up. I may sulk, get depressed, wonder why U see fit to ALWAYS choose the more difficult path, the one that leaves me feeling alone, isolated, and destitute one minute yet fills my mind with conversations, images, and stories the next that MUST be written or lost and I don’t want to lose them- these companions– the things that set me apart and link me.
I will do it because I have no other choice- and ultimately I make the CHOICE every day to do it because life without writing is empty. Also I don’t like making mistakes and it would be a mistake to stop when I’ve learned so much, gotten so much better with every minute, hour day and year I’ve kept at it.
I’ll do it because I’m Holly Raychelle Hughes and I said I would.
I hope you don’t give up on your dreams and I hope you have the stamina to fight for them.