A guest post by Jules Clancy from stonesoup
This writing business can be a lonely endeavour. We’ve all been there. Self imprisoned in our lonely garrets – or more likely behind our laptops. Reaching out to the world with our writing but feeling helpless and alone.
Fear not fellow writers. There is hope. I’ve recently discovered a wonderful way to overcome the fear and feel connected with the rest of the world. Let me introduce you to the benefits of finding yourself a writing mentor.
Benefits of a writing mentor
1. Confidence boost
To give your confidence a well deserved boost, there’s nothing like having another writer who you respect and admire take an interest in you and your writing.
Talking (or emailing) someone who has already achieved some of your own goals can be incredibly inspirational – not to mention motivating. It’s all about bringing it to life and making the path to success a little clearer.
3. Contacts – opening doors
The world of publishing is notoriously tough and unfortunately it is still often all about who you know. Having a well connected mentor can be a way to gain some introductions. But you should never expect this as a given – it’s up to the generosity of your mentor. Nor should you forget that all the best contacts won’t overcome a lack of commitment or talent.
4. Help you achieve your dreams
Having access to someone who has already achieved similar goals can be invaluable. We all learn from our experiences so why not make the most of someone elses wisdom rather than re-inventing the wheel yourself.
A mentor may open you eyes to possibilities you haven’t even dared to dream.
5. Impartial constructive feedback
Hollow flattery can be easier to come by than genuine constructive feedback. No one is perfect and we all need to be reminded from time to time. If we aren’t made aware of our short comings and what we need to do to improve, we’ll never learn and grow as writers – or as people for that matter.
How to choose a mentor.
Thereís no script. I found the best thing is to figure out what you need to get your writing on track. If itís introductions then go for someone established and well known, if itís inspiration go for someone whose work you love reading. You donít need to limit it to one mentor.
If you don’t know of anyone suitable, seek out your local writers centre. Or look online – maybe your favourite blogger can help? Be brave. There is no harm in asking – the worst they can do is say no.
How it works day to day
Just as in life, every relationship is different – so is every mentoring situation. Youíll figure it out as you go along. The first time I met my mentor I had a list of questions but didn’t referred to them once.
These days before we meet (which might be as little as once every 2-3 months) I send my mentor some of my writing. It makes for a good starting point. She tells me her thoughts, which have been extremely helpful and we take it from there.
I also discuss my goals with my mentor so I can get guidance on whether I’m being realistic and of course some direction on the best approach to achieve them.
In the modern age there’s no need to meet face to face (although I do find my mentor’s availability increases if I offer to buy her a glass of vino or two).
Jules Clancy is a writer and a cook and the girl behind stonesoup – a blog that helps people become better home cooks by using a minimalist approach to cooking.
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