Mentors can be invaluable in every walk of life, but there’s nowhere they are more useful than in novel writing. Many successful people in politics, science, business and other areas credit their mentors as being partly responsible for their success.
Because writing can be such an isolated and isolating endeavour, a mentor is particularly helpful in coaching a writer in areas ranging from finding the right idea, to craft and technique, and dealing with any stick plot or character issues that might arise. Mentors are also the ideal way to keep motivated – a regular check-in with your mentor is a great way to ensure you stick to your deadline!
What are some of the advantages of having a writing mentor?
- A mentor is familiar with the high, lows and pitfalls of the writing life and can talk you through them.
- Having someone on hand to discuss the finer details of your novel will ensure you keep writing and don’t give up when you hit a patch of (inevitable) writer’s block.
- A mentor can give personal attention to your manuscript and help you hone your craft.
- A mentor will keep you motivated to meet your deadlines and keep writing, even when you don’t necessarily feel like it.
- A mentor can help you set goals and shape your writing career.
What are some things to look for when you are ready to choose a writing mentor?
- A writing mentor should be a good listener. It’s important for the mentors to stay focused on the goals of those they’re mentoring and not impose their own dreams over the dreams of those whom they are mentoring.
- A writing mentor should be knowledgeable and experienced and should have some professional standing amongst peers. Anyone can put up a website and self-publish a few stories. Beginning writers should look for people who have been working in the field for some time and have the respect of the community.
- A writing mentor should work in a similar genre. If you’re writing romances and the only writer you know is a close friend who specialises in newsletters and white papers for businesses, you may be tempted to ease the anxiety of asking someone to be your mentor by turning to that friend. But the best mentor for a romance writer is a fellow romance writer or at least a writer who specializes in commercial fiction.
Luckily, our Now Novel mentors meet all these criteria – they are on hand to guide you through the novel-writing process, from start to finish.
If you’re not yet convinced of the power of the writing mentor, consider just a few famous pairings from contemporary times as well as literary history:
- V.S. Naipaul mentored Paul Theroux – which eventually result in a vicious literary feud, but the two old friends have since made up.
So where did they meet? The answers are as varied as the writers themselves.
Oates was Safran Foer’s thesis advisor at Princeton; Stein and Hemingway met in the literary salons of 1920s Paris; Naipaul and Theroux met when Theroux was teaching English in Uganda. But you don’t have to get an Ivy League education or hang out in exotic locales in order to meet a mentor. Now Novel offers a mentorship option on our monthly subscription that gives you twice-monthly Skype sessions with your dedicated mentor, as well as frequent email contact any time you have any questions.
Want to find out more? Get all the info about our mentors here.
What are you looking for in a writing mentor?