I'm on an Amtrak train on the way home from RWA. As I stood in the rush of people waiting to board, it occurred to me that I'd never have come to New York and had the amazing time that I did without Twitter and Brenda Drake's PitchWars.
I submitted to PitchWars last year with my critique partner kind of on the spur of the moment. We had rushed to finish our manuscripts to be ready and we weren't entirely sure they were ready. We were chosen anyway by great mentors and got some requests.
That wasn't the best part, though. For support, the 150 writers chosen last year created a closed Facebook group to vent, to question, to cheer, and to cry. It lasted way past the end of PitchWars, gave many of us genius critique partners, and is still buzzing me with notifications every single day. Every request is cheered. Every rejection is soothed. Every time someone gets an agent or a book deal, we throw a party (and we've gotten to throw a lot of parties).
That was the best part. And the best thing to happen to me as a writer. I met another critique partner, and she begged me to come with her to RWA. I, in turn, begged that first PitchWars critique partner to come too. Several others of our group came as well, and we spent the four days of the conference as if with long-lost best friends. A few others of our group live in or near NYC, and they met us for dinner one night and a crazy night of karaoke another.
I love each and every one of my PitchWars 2014 group (Table of Trust!).
If you write, and you don't have a writing group, find one. They're just waiting for you to ask.