During your writing career you will have many questions, be confronted with many obstacles and let’s face it sometimes you will be pulling your hair out and wondering why you wanted to be a writer in the first place. It happens to all of us, even those who have been writing for many years.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is a person who guides a less experienced person by offering constructive advice, building trust and encouraging the mentee by modelling positive behaviours. A mentor understands their role is to be trustworthy, engaged, genuine, and productive in the needs of the mentee.
The mentor/mentee relationship should be one based on trust and understanding with the ability to work one on one. A mentor will gently push you beyond your comfort zone encouraging you to hone your writing, your thinking and being able to see your work from different perspectives.
To some extent your mentor will be your superhero, watching your back and picking you up when you fall.
The partnership should be a celebration of a constructive writing relationship.
Like with any investment, you are encouraged to research mentors and ensure the one you choose is the right fit for you. How can you choose? Here are a few things to consider when looking for a mentor.
- What is your budget?
- What experience do they have?
- Are they actively involved in the writing industry?
- Are they published within the genre you are writing for?
- Where are they located?
- How will the sessions be delivered – face-to-face or online?
Georgie is also available for private mentoring covering pitching, marketing and cover letters.
Many mentors are now happy to use Zoom, Skype, email and phone, so having a mentor interstate should not be a problem.
Before making a final decision, it is ideal to ask questions, talk to others who have utilised the services of a mentor. Find out what they liked, didn’t like and any advice they can give you.
Before you begin your search, first ask yourself the following questions:
- Is now the right time in my writing career for a mentor?
- What do I want to achieve utilising the services of a mentor?
- guide me in my writing development
- work with me from beginning to submission to publishers
- offer me advice and share what they have learned about the writing industry
- be a sounding board for my ideas
- Am I ready for constructive criticism?
- Am I open to learning new things about my writing and myself?
- Can I afford the cost of a mentor or will I need funding to support a mentoring relationship?
- How often will I be able to meet with my mentor?
- Do I have the time to commit to regular sessions?
- Am I prepared to start over if my chosen mentor is not a good match?
Once you have taken the time consider the above, it’s time to begin your search.
It is extremely important to find a mentor that suits you, one who is experienced with the genre you write for. I am a strong believer in mentorships and the benefits to the mentee, if the partnership between the two is a good match. And a good match is extremely important.
If you are not happy with your first, second or even third choice, continue to look until you find a mentor you are comfortable with. If you are looking for someone who is going to agree with you and your writing 100%, perhaps a mentor is not the best option. Although you are paying for a service, you want to find someone who is going to encourage, guide you and help you to grow as a writer.
Benefits of a writing mentor
Communicating with an author who has already achieved some of our goals can be very inspiring and motivational. It also reaffirms that hard work and dedication do pay off.
When a writer who we respect and admire takes an interest in our work, it gives us a well-deserved confidence boost.
Getting published is tough and more often than not it is about who you know. Having a mentor who can introduce you to others within the writing industry is an added benefit to the relationship.
Working with someone who has already achieved their dream of publication can be invaluable. Every day we grow and take one step closer to our dream of publication, why not learn from someone else’s experience too. Through working with a mentor, our eyes can be opened to possibilities not even dreamed of.
Working with a mentor should result in constructive not destructive feedback. The only way to grow as a writer is to learn from our mistakes. Having someone point out our weaker areas can allow us to improve, but comments should never be destructive as this can be harmful to our growth.
I started working with a mentor in 2014 and have not looked back. She has helped me get my stories to publication. I was lucky we were a good fit. We often disagree but it is constructive, and our relationship is better for it.
My experience is just that, my experience. If you are at a cross-road as to whether to enter into a mentorship, I hope this article will help with your decision.
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.Benjamin Franklin