My current chapter in Pep Talks for Writers, talks about the benefits of having a mentor. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Mentors are a vital part of any position in life. Business, sports, bunnies, showing, you name it… add writing to the list. Having a mentor to show you the way is a huge benefit. Finding a writing mentor will only be of benefit to you.
Differences between a colleague & a mentor
A colleague gives you advice on the day to day, or perhaps occasionally on the long-term. But mostly, a colleague is there to make sure the job gets done. That’s it. There’s no long-term goals or help in the plan. A mentor, on the other hand, has a goal of helping you discover yourself, so you go on to shine in the future.
Benefits of Having a Mentor
Oh, the benefits of having a mentor are numerous. These work across disciplines. Doesn’t matter if you are a writer or a ball-player. Having a mentor helps you in so many different ways.
- You get to learn from another person’s vision, experience and learning.
- The option to get career advice. WOW. HUGE that can be.
- Increase your skill level, sometimes in areas that you hadn’t even considered.
- A different viewpoint. It can be so easy to just see things from one perspective. But talking things over with another person can give a different perspective on an issue.
- Teaches you more about yourself.
- Friendships gained.
- Develop your skills in communication. Learn how to show your voice better.
- Discover the fine gift of encouragement and support.
- Learn how to balance your personal and professional life.
- Develop your confidence.
Mentored as a Writer
Imagine you love writing in prose, and you write a story with words of poetry in them. Your mentor sees that and then encourages you to include more poetry, or perhaps to start your next book off with a poem central to the storyline?
Or you are a poet like William Faulkner and your mentor Sherwood Anderson encourages you to write a book of prose about Mississippi. A mentor can suggest new storylines, a different writing style, places to look for publishing and more.
A good mentor won’t just tell you what you WANT to hear, but rather what you NEED to hear. They will not only tell you what they did but why… the good and the not so good. A good mentor will want to connect with you, enriching both of your lives.
Where to find a Mentor?
It’s not always so easy to find a mentor. It takes time and commitment to agree to help someone along the way. Look at The Sharks from Shark Tank. They don’t help everyone who crosses their path. They look at what the person needs and see if it matches up with their skill set. So it goes with writing mentors.
Not everyone you approach will have the time, inclination, or resources to mentor you. All you can do is approach people and ask. If they can’t, but they offer you some type of advice, take it, thank them and continue your search.
Search for one, or if you must, make yourself one. Follow a writer you admire immensely. Read their interviews, follow them on social media, devour their writing, and reach out to them asking for advice. Take those snippets and use them for good.
Other writing posts in this series can be found here.