Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide, tutor. In the writing profession, most would say that a mentor is an experienced writer and/or author who answers questions and offers insight and encouragement to new writers. Would you agree?
Writing Mentors in Disguise
According to Self-publishingschool.com, "The great athletes you see today would not be where they are without their coaches. The same is true for writers, and thus why you need a writing mentor. Mentors, coaches, and leaders act as guides. They teach you what to do, what not to do, and how to move forward."
While there are benefits to having a mentor, it’s not a requirement for writers to learn and grow. Even if you’ve not had an “official” writing mentor, you’ve probably been blessed with individuals who have sown wisdom into other areas of your life. This insight could very well translate into advice that applies to your writing sphere.
With Women’s History Month upon us, my thoughts turn more frequently to the strong women who influenced my life. Over the years, I’ve realized that this influence and inspiration carried over into my writing journey, mentoring me in subtle, yet important ways.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from these unofficial writing mentors:
Ignore the Naysayers
My maternal grandmother, Caroline, was once told that she wasn’t smart enough to learn how to sew. Instead of heeding this negative advice, she chose to take a sewing class, gaining skills over the years that rivaled professional quality work. She ignored the naysayers and learned new skills, expanding her world.
As writers, we face negativity often. Some will tell us that we’re not talented or educated enough or it’s too much work to reach our goals. These negative thoughts may even originate in our heads. But if we’re serious about writing, we’ll choose to ignore them and move forward.
My mother, Linda, was another strong woman whose guidance helped shape my character and worldview. Among the valuable tools she gave me were thinking skills, common sense, and propriety. She was my go-to person for wise and practical advice. Somehow, she knew just what to do in most any situation.
On our writing journey, we are wise to seek and heed quality advice. Not all who claim to be writers are good ones, so it pays to be observant when looking for sound input. Resources abound, from LinkedIn connections and continuing education courses to podcasts, books, conferences, and more. Look for experienced writers, whose wisdom and quality work are evident across the board.
Both Caroline and Linda supplied encouragement to others through words and deeds. Whether volunteering at church or other local organizations, they modeled grace and kindness toward those around them. I learned much by observing them, and was blessed to be a regular recipient of this loving support.
Consider These Suggestions For Assisting Other Writers Along the Way
Even the greenest writer has something to offer. Simply reading and reviewing an author’s book, or sharing links and helpful tips lends support to fellow writers. Offer to be that “second set of eyes”, reviewing another writer’s work before they submit their work. At the very least, lend a listening ear to writer friends, encouraging them to keep moving forward. Large or small, our contributions can help others stay the course.
Whether you seek out official writing mentors or not, don’t overlook the people that have touched your life, good or bad. They can impart important lessons that will enrich your writing journey in more ways than you would imagine.
What are your thoughts on mentors? Do you have a writing mentor? What additional thoughts would you share?
Karen Lange is a content creator, editor, and ghostwriter. She specializes in home improvement, but happily writes about other exciting topics, too. Connect with her on Linkedin.
Thanks so much for hosting and sharing, Jen. It's always a great privilege and pleasure to visit Pen and Prosper! :)ReplyDelete
My pleasure, Karen. Thanks for your support.Delete
Writers supporting writers, mentoring, answering a quick question, or editing someone's piece...these are the things that have helped me along the way. In turn, I try to help others, like Jen and Karen do.ReplyDelete
That's the spirit! Thanks, Lin. :-)Delete
Linda, yes! Those things have helped me along the way as well. You have supplied encouragement and inspiration for me over the years and I appreciate it so much. Thanks for your kind words. :)Delete