Wouldn’t it be nice to maintain the independence you crave while starting out as a writer?
That is why mentors are so great.
They can provide guidance, needs as a mentor to show when something isn’t working.
The creative energy to write cannot thrive in a vacuum, yet writing is often a solitary act. Mentors are so great that they share information or point you in the right direction so you can do your research.
Mentors lead the way, you follow.
Why do I say so?
One thing I love about writing is that—It’s easy to fool yourself out of writing, particularly when you hit a dry spell. This is where having a mentor comes in. They are invaluable tools that pushes us towards greatness.
A mentor helps you set clear goals and then checks to make sure you’re meeting them. They are business investments. When business owners are mentored, seventy five percent of their businesses live past five years—double the survival rate of non-mentored small businesses.
While mentoring can shower your business with benefits, it’s important to choose the right voices to listen to. As a writer, you may want to use family members, friends and colleagues as mentors. But that won’t work. You know why? Those people cannot empathize with many of your struggles—the way a mentor in your industry can.
Don’t be fooled by what some people say, please. It is not necessary that mentor and mentee share the same gender and race, but your mentor needs to be aware of underlying assumptions that might impact the mentoring relationship.
You need a writing mentor because…
1. They focus on major issues as per the criteria you want to be mentored, such as how your story flows together, what your characters are doing or could be doing, what story elements are not pulling their weight and the brothers. They strictly explain why they are weaknesses and suggest the easy ways on how to fix them.
2. A writing mentor can offer you the benefit of his or her experience by giving you advice and pointing you in the right direction. It may even be possible for your mentor to open doors for you with new opportunities through professional contacts. And, of course, you’ll have the chance to improve your writing skills using the feedback and critique you’re given.
3. They accept the style and content you have chosen, rather than molding your writing to meet their personal preferences. They stick to concentrate on the major issues, leaving the minor which may include grammatical errors for fixing your final draft. They give suggestions, leaving it up to you to accept or reject them.
4. Writing mentors help your dream of becoming a published author come true. It takes you to gather your courage, don’t be nervous, and ask. Remember, your request will actually be quite flattering for the mentor. However, keep in mind that mentors have lives and need to spend time writing their own work.
Whether you’re a beginner seeking for answers to basic questions or a frequently-published writer with a few or years of experience under your niche, every writer benefits from having a mentor.
Before you take a step towards looking up to a mentor, these are the basic questions to ask where you strive.
- Has he or she been where you want to go?
- Is this person living a life you respect?
- Do you trust his or her insights?
- Has this person faced challenges similar to yours?
- Does the person have the expertise you’re looking for?
- Do you like the person’s outlook and the type of work they do?
As you strive further in your writing career, you will make business decisions—content editing, ideas for publishing, and contacts for agents; and perhaps someone who will kick your butt high gearing toward motivating you to keep writing.
Just as no two entrepreneurs are the same, no two mentors have the same quality of expertise. I will be expanding on the three core types of writing mentors we have while you choose the one that suits you. Consider the three types of mentors below to choose from.
1. The one-on-one mentor
One-on-one mentors are usually professionals whom you may be paying in return for their invaluable support. These kind f mentors guide you in living life on your own terms and making desired impacts. They stand the position to help you manage your time, turn problems into opportunities and conquer self-imposed limitation patterns.
Ritchie Felix was (and still) my first writing coach; he opened my eyes to personal branding as a writing necessity. He did teach me to overcome my fears of failure and criticism. One of the very appreciating ways to prove his work on me is to live the life of my dreams following the path he revealed I follow. Thanks to Sir Ritchie, because today I’m more and more self-assured and authentic in my interactions with different people in the industry. While his training boosted my write and communication life, it also helped me create a platform expanding my capacity for exploits.
2. The niche mentor
This in some cases is recognized as the industry specific mentor. A specific niche mentor is one who is a professional in the industry you will love to explore. Someone who has already walked in your shoes; he or she can help you with industry-dependent challenges like managing finances and choosing the right market for your products. Such mentors rarely engage in a full time mentorship, but their one-on-one advice can be invaluable, especially in the specific niche fields.
If you aren’t as lucky as I was to find my own writing mentor, then start searching your social networks and different communities. Even while on the go, don’t fail to choose someone you respect. Find the person who will help you expand your network and open new doors for you.
3. The distant mentors
Some time in 2016 I had one of this kind. One thing I noticed is that they rarely come with monetary costs. Meaning, you probably already have several of these without even realizing it. A “distant mentor” is often a stranger who doesn’t know you, but is still someone who can have a great impact on how you run your business. You may not have met one-on-one before and many a time you find such in a social media platform where there are many community of friends.
You engage with this kind of mentor by consuming the free content (blogs, audio clips, video training’s etc.) from people you admire, or writers who inspire. It is mandatory that you don’t discount this type of distance mentorship just because it doesn’t involve one-on-one time. It is no scam that you can learn from great, disparate minds on topics ranging from futuristic innovations to unconditional love.
If you can learn the benefits of having a mentor as a writer, you can choose one having explained the three types of writing mentors we have. Writing is, by its nature, a solitary pursuit. As a writer without inspiration or guidance, you can easily find yourself in a rut, staring at a blank piece of paper (or computer screen)—or worse, glaring at the pile of rejections you’ve received. How do you get yourself motivated to move toward your goals?
Chances are you sought out a specific mentor because they have a certain amount of success and integrity you want to replicate. From the outside, this success looks like a given. But that does not exempt you from being grateful and generous as the mentoring develops. If you are fortunate enough to find writers who will allow you to proceed, your regular thanks and mentions is the least you can offer in return.
He is a mentor, not a virtual assistant
A mentor’s job gets much easier when the mentee trusts her own intuition. Too often, mentees use their mentor as a crutch: asking them to review every pitch, wondering what to do with a rough idea, asking for an editorial contact publicly available online. Too many of these kind of requests reduce your mentor to a virtual assistant, which wastes everyone’s time.
The same thing applies to a writing mentor. You should start with small requests to ease into a level of familiarity, and don’t commit to too much in case the fit isn’t as good as expected. Your first request may be for him or her to look over a pitch. Or ask how they like writing for a certain media outlet. Then, over time, explore more nuanced career topics. Doing this, however, it saves both parties the time and emotional energy of a likely rejection.
Finding a writing mentor is easy, if you know how. Many a time, we tend to think of the mentor as the position expending most of the creative and emotional energy, the mentoring relationships that endure are ones based on reciprocity and mutual respect. The moment you understand this fundamental truth, finding the right mentor becomes much easier.
You may be an established author reading this. If you allow I can suggest that if you get the opportunity to serve as a mentor to another author, I encourage you to take it. If a mentor comes into your life just when needed, I encourage you to make the most of the relationship, however long or brief it may be.
Wrapping it up
You may want to ask for the mentor’s resume to discover if the professional background successes suits your needs. However, you can avoid signing a long-term mentorship contract with someone you just met. Start with a short period with your mentor, or have a pay-as-you-go arrangement. And, if the experience is positive, you can consider a longer-term arrangement while pursuing your writing career.