Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Posted by Laurel Garver on Tuesday, May 01, 2012 12 comments
A family member put someone in contact with me who's seeking a writing mentor. I have to admit I'm a bit clueless about how to even get started.

So here are my questions for you, dear readers. Feel free to reply to any or all of them.

Have you been mentored? How did/does that relationship work?

Do you mentor someone? How did you get started?

If you'd had a mentor at the beginning of your journey, what do you wish this person had helped you with?

What resources are helpful for developing a mentoring relationship?

12 comments:

  1. So I don't have a mentor, nor have I acted as one, but I will comment as someone who has worked with other writers in differently capacities a lot. IF I were looking for a mentor, I would want someone who could guide me to helpful resources. Classes, groups, blogs, message boards, anything that could help me hone my craft. I would also want them to read over samples of my work and talk to me about what style I have, my genre, where I can improve, etc. And to generally bolster me up when I'm feeling like crap about my writing :). That's exciting that someone is looking to you for guidance! Good luck!

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    1. Great stuff here JEM. Sounds like there are three main jobs for your ideal mentor: information source, critiquer, cheerleader.

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  2. I kind of mentor my sister in writing. She has a ton of interests, and I'm focused on writing. She talks with me about her concerns, like how to do characterization or description. I don't know if I'm a "mentor" per se, but I just share what I learn with her. I share with her the blogs and resources I have for writing.

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    1. Sounds like this is an informal sort of mentoring relationship, in that one is more experienced and shares knowledge with the other.

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  3. I don't have an official mentor, but I had a published author who helped me out immensely when I first got started. I'm still trying to think of a way to pay him back.

    I think the best thing he offered me was honest feedback--best (and sometimes painful) critiques.

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    1. I think of mentoring going a bit beyond critiquing--there's a teaching aspect to it. It's great you were able to benefit from someone's expertise when you were starting out.

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  4. Never had a mentor, but some critique partners have taught me a lot. Yep, a mentor is more like a teaching (only w/o pay LOL). Have fun!

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    1. Usually in CP relationships, you're in the same skills range, but particular strengths and weaknesses vary. So learning happens both ways. I think you're right that mentors reach down and teach a less experienced protege.

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  5. Hmm. I don't really have an opinion. At times, I think of how wonderful a mentor would have been. At other times, I've wondered how much my voice and style would have changed if I'd had a mentor. (It was one of the complaints lodged against MFA programs back when they started--everyone was writing with the same voice. Though I think that is less the case now.)

    But honestly, I think you could do a great job at mentoring. From what I've seen on your blog, you're thoughtful and encouraging--exactly what someone would wish for in a mentor.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Connie. I appreciate the voice concern--that's an excellent point! I need to encourage my protege to become her best self and not a mini-me.

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  6. A mentor is someone who would help a writer find his or her own voice, be a cheerleader (in terms of passion) and constructive critic (in terms of craft) , --and generally help the writer realize his or her potential.

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    1. Great definition, Damyanti. Help the protege realize her potential. Love that. :-)

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