Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Meaning of Mentorship for Authors

Practice what you preach... The saying has never meant as much to me as it does now.

Finding a mentor to support projects and research has long been a requirement for students in my gifted education classroom.

While going through the revision and editing process for my current manuscript, I found myself wondering about applying the same requirement to myself. After all, I am working on a project and conducting my own research to make sure I am growing in my craft as well as getting the Norse myth facts straight.

Should I not take on the use of a mentor?

Well, yes, I think I should. The good news is that I think I've been doing this even though I did not label it as such.

Here is the textbook definition.

And here is my take on it....

Having a Mentor
  • Every time I read a new story, I've gained a new-if informal and unwitting-mentor. The styles, word use and treatment of different genres sink into my subconscious and I am able to pull from those lessons as I create my own work. It's said that authors need to be readers and I think this is why.
  • I'm grateful for the mashup of mentors at conferences. Each has put themselves out there and shared an area of expertise. 
  • Great blogs from agents and other writers are fantastic. True, they are not writing just for me, but in a way, I think that is better. Each has taken on the responsibility of educating the masses.
  • The people in my writing group are also mentors to me. As they share their experiences with drafting, entering contests or querying agents, I learn from them.
Being a Mentor
  • If my group members are mentors to me, I hope it can be said I have helped them in some way. 
  • I mentor my students. Sometimes this is on the topic of writing or making a presentation. Often it takes the form of general advice.
Sometimes, I forget just how far I've come as a writer and a teacher. Finding mentors, and being a mentor in return, reminds me of the importance of recognizing and celebrating growth.

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