Next to the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, I think the longest two weeks (give or take) of the year is the time between when the Pitch Wars submission window closes and when mentor selections are announced about two and a half weeks later.

The first few days go by pretty quickly; mentors drop hints on the twitter feed about entries they like, and the mentee candidates are on the edges of their seats. Now, at the start of the second week, things turn into a slog as the mentors churn through requested materials and grind through the process of narrowing their choices. While mentees are still on pins and needles, it’s impossible to maintain the same level of excitement we had back in those initial days.

Finding something else to occupy time is the key to making it through the remaining days until the selection announcement while maintaining our sanity. Here are six writing-related suggestions:

  1. Start writing something new. This is a popular mentor recommendation. Writing a new novel or short story is a great, productive way to spend time. However, I tend to struggle when I shift between drafting and editing/querying, so I’m not opting for this one.
  2. Outline your next novel. This is a good option for those who may not want to make the commitment required to jump headlong into drafting.
  3. Search and replace filter words in your manuscript. No matter how thorough you’ve been so far, if you look hard enough, you should be able to find more filter words to remove. I’ve found that my overall word count drops when I do this because I find more efficient ways of saying things, or eliminate some phrases or sentences altogether.
  4. Update your agent list. You’ll be wanting to query your Pitch Wars entry at some point, and when you do, you’ll need a current list of agents for your age category/genre. Agency rosters undergo constant changes, so your list will require updates so you can prioritize and query more efficiently.
  5. Write your Twitter pitches. PitMad, SFPit, and other events are coming up soon after Pitch Wars. Get your pitches ready now. Sometimes I like to put together several, post them on my blog, and request feedback on them on the Pitch Wars hashtag.
  6. Work on your 35-word pitches. There are other contests coming up after Pitch Wars where you may need a 35-word pitch as part of your entry. If you don’t want to work on the actual wording yet, it’s still a good idea to be deciding what aspects of your book you want to feature in your pitch.

Okay, there’s my six suggestions. Feel free to share others in the comments.

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