As a child I always loved playing follow the leader. Sometime I was in the front and sometimes I followed but I always learned something. Now that I'm grown up and a children's book author, I still get the opportunity to follow the leader with my writing mentors.
Write mentors are those hard working and published authors who are generous with their writerly wisdom. They remember what is was like to be new to the writing industry and innocent to the ways of the publishing path. These writing mentors overcame the obstacles and put in the months, if not years, of hard word necessary to rise to the top of heap. Writing mentors are special people who still find the time, despite the deadlines and chaos sometimes surrounding them, to reach out to writing newbies to help them achieve their own writing goals.
Here are three areas a good writing mentor will shine in:
A LITTLE TOUGH LOVE
Writing mentors are nice people but know being "nice" when offering advice doesn't really help that novice writer. My friends and family might be "nice" and say nice things about my writing, but a writing mentor is more concerned with my growth as a writer and my work actually getting published some day. A little tough love goes a long way to strengthening my stories and helping me to develop a skin thick enough to withstand the numerous rejections I know I will go through just to get one YES!
A LITTLE LIFE LINE
Sometimes the what-ifs and what-might-have-beens of writing can become too much to handle. If just for a little while a writer will need to know that they are not alone. That there is someone else out there who has felt the frustration they are feeling and might have a way to help them fight the urge to walk away from their dream. Writing is hard work. Getting published is even harder. Writing mentors are that life line to help encourage a struggling writer to get back in the saddle and live to write again.
A LITTLE HAPPY DANCE
The best job a writing mentor can do is be there when it comes time to celebrate all the successes to be found on that path to publication. Dance with the newbie writer when they complete their first story. Dance with the newbie author when their first book is released. And dance with the established individual in celebration of a job well done.
Writing mentors are like the literary gods we wish we could be and maybe, one day, we will look behind us and see the same admiration and wonder in the eyes of the newer writers coming up the ranks. And we will thank our writing mentors for helping prepare us to join the community of people willing to share the love of writing with the world.
In case you are looking for a writing mentor yourself, here are a few resources to check out. Make sure you study each site carefully to see if they are right for you...
Association of Writers and Writing Programs...https://www.awpwriter.org/community_calendar/mentorship_program_overview
Hugo House... http://hugohouse.org/teen/young-writers-mentorship-program/
Dzanc Books... http://www.dzancbooks.org/creative-writing-mentorships/
The NSW Writers Centre...http://www.nswwc.org.au/support-for-writers/mentorship-program/
Make A Living Writing...http://www.makealivingwriting.com/mentoring/
I hope you learned something new today and be sure to check back tomorrow for the next post in my month long celebration!
Addie comes from a long line of readers, or “story catchers,” as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own, though, the words play tricks on her. Addie tries everything she can think of to corral those wiggly letters, but it will take a little faith to become the next STORY CATCHER.
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