About a year ago, I was thrilled when Brenda asked me to be a #PitchWars mentor for the first time. I was an alternate in 2012 and had an amazing experience working with Kimberly P. Chase, who ultimately helped me land my first agent (and whose debut novel THE APOLLO ACADEMY is getting ready to re-release with a stunning new cover. So if you haven’t already, add that ‘ish to GoodReads right now.)
So I was really excited to be able to give back to a community that had already given me so much. It’s a lesson I learned early from my incredibly giving parents–that the best way to show gratitude is to give something in return.
But when it came time for me to step up to the plate, I kind of had a mini-freak out. I was (and still am, for all intents and purposes) an unpublished writer. I considered my editing business a somewhat unique strength, but I also knew there were a hell of a lot of mentors who had more direct publishing experience than me.
Why the hell would anyone want me as a mentor? What did I have to offer other writers?
I was kvetching about all of this with my incredibly attractive–I mean wise–husband as I was reading pitches and attempting to create a vision in my head for what my mentorship with my three writers would look like. He advised me to play to my strengths.
Which is why I ended up forcing my team into weekly group counseling sessions.
The weird part was, they sort of liked it. So much that even after PitchWars ended, we kept having these online support meetings.
Okay maybe the weird part was them.
This trifecta of awesome eventually turned into what you’ll hear me refer to on Twitter as The Clubhouse. We are now a microcosm of 17 writerly souls, from all aspects of the writing community, from picture books to adult, from scifi to contemporary to one incredibly stubborn dystopian writer I adore more than she knows. They are an incredibly gifted crew that I am humbled, inspired, and surprised by every day.
We talk nearly every day now. We check in. We check on. We support. We lean. We post silly randomness to make each other smile.
What started as something I intended as a way to give back has given me more than I ever imagined. And I think maybe that’s how the whole give and take symbiosis of the writing community is supposed to work. It’s what we are at our finest hour. While there are a million things about the writing community that I am grateful for and grateful to be a part of, none of them compare to the Clubhouse.
The last six months have been a roller coaster for me. There have been times I wanted to give up. Times I needed to quit and move on but grappled for the courage to do it. Times I needed to just hang in there by the tips of my fingernails and wait it out. Having this group to lean on is invaluable. Every writer should be so lucky.
So today, I just wanted to take a moment to say a public thank you to Sonia, Alexandra, Brooks, Rachel, Keely, Laurie, Jenny, Katie, Katharine, Shawn, Sean, Heather, Tiffanie, Stephanie, and Christy. It’s a privilege to know you all. Thanks for trusting me with your words, and being a rock for mine. Love you bunches.
Dannie Morin is an addictions therapist with a writing problem. By day she alternates between counseling teens and wrangling a very sassy toddler. By night she writes, critiques, and edits like a boss. When she’s not doing any of those things, she’s a compulsive participant in the Carolinas Region of SCBWI and a regular Snarky Sue in online Pitch Contests. Dannie pens young adult and new adult fiction in Charlotte, North Carolina. You can find her online via her blog, twitter, facebook, and pinterest accounts. Dannie is repped by the incomparable John M. Cusick of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.