Jul 29, 2015
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Do you have a writing mentor? Find out why it's super-important
to have one in Episode 019 of the Write Now
Every writer needs a mentor.
What are the benefits of having a writing mentor? How do you go about finding one? Is it possible you have one already? And how can you tell a good mentor from a bad one? SO MANY QUESTIONS! Good thing I have so many answers.
You are not alone.
I think that, in general, writing as seen as a fundamentally solitary, isolated, and alone process. We imagine writers sitting up late at night at a well-shadowed desk, sipping cognac by the fire, shut into an office or study, out for a lonely walk.
Maybe it's a man, maybe it's a woman. Heck, maybe it's this guy:
(Sorry, I couldn't resist. That pipe-chomping, suspender-wearing image of a writer really cracks me up.)
Point is, I don't think it's healthy for a writer to be
perfectly 100% alone in their craft.
Good vs. bad mentors!
I share the story of how I met my current mentor, Melissa, and what a good mentor should be. I also talk a little bit about a mentorship with a different mentor (one that had been assigned to me) that did not turn out so well.
7 ways a mentor can help you in your writing:
A mentor has been there -- he or she knows what it takes, and
can offer trustworthy advice.
You can trust a mentor to be honest and unbiased with you.
A mentor can help open doors that might otherwise be closed to you.
A mentor can act as a counselor, lifeline, or anchor during times of stress.
A mentor can be a great role model, especially in the social graces.
A good mentor will challenge you in ways you wouldn't challenge yourself.
Meeting with your mentor will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired -- and in love with writing again.
Really, nothing will get you fired up about writing like someone
who is really fired up about writing. :)
Where can I find a mentor?
You can look for mentors pretty much anywhere. Here are some ideas:
An old teacher or professor
A member of your writer's group or book club
An editor of your acquaintance
A coworker who gets storytelling
A spiritual or religious leader
A writer you admire -- whether within your own circle of friends or a nationally recognized author
And, as a special bonus, from my own personal bias:
Six traits to look for in a mentor:
Your mentor should be someone you can trust.
Try to find someone you admire & respect, whose advice you'll look forward to following.
Make sure your mentor is someone who is willing to be honest with you.
Your mentor should be willing to take an interest & invest time in you.
While you want them to be invested in you, make sure they're not going to take over your life. (Forceful personalities can be forceful.)
You find yourself writing down the stuff they say so that you can reference it later.
What do I do when I think I've found someone to be my
Just ask them this question:
"Can I buy you a cup of coffee sometime?"
[Or some similar variation.]
This question has been the key to some truly great professional
relationships and mentorships. Give it a try and let me know what
The book of the week.
AAAAAAH! Speaking of work/life balance, I didn't have time to finish a book this week. BUT. Check back next week, and in the meantime, you can keep up-to-date with my book-related adventures on Goodreads.
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