Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Benefits of a Writing Mentor

By Lacey Gunter

In nearly anything that takes a certain level of skill or practice, it can be helpful to have a mentor. Writing is no different. There are lots of benefits to having a writing mentor (or a few).

So, most people would consider a mentor to be someone with an expertise, or a high level of knowledge and/or experience who helps guide and teach you.  I would even go a little step further and include anyone who has a richer knowledge and experience base than you from who you seek advice and help from (whether they be an expert or not).  Sometimes just having someone who is a few steps ahead of you in the game can be quite helpful, while not so intimidating.

So how can having a writing mentor help you?  There are many ways, but here are just a few to consider. 

1) They can help you recognize the weaknesses in your writing and suggest ways to improve them.
2) They can help you understand the process of querying, submitting, contracts, publishing and marketing.
3) The can inform you about possible mistakes or pitfalls they have experienced or witnessed in the process of writing and publishing.
4) They can give you an insider's knowledge on agents, editors and publishers.
5) They can introduce or connect you with other people who can help you with your writing or with publishing.
6) They can be a source of strength and encouragement when facing the difficulties of  writers block and the disappointment of multiple rejections.

Then how does one go about finding a writing mentor?  They are many ways to do this. Attending  writers association's meetings and conferences is a great way to find a mentor. Meetings and conferences are full of people who are happy to offer wisdom and guidance. Being respectful of their time and showing gratitude for their help and advice can encourage someone to continue a mentoring relationship.  Finding people online and asking questions is also another good way to find a mentor. Mentors within your genre of writing can be most beneficial, but don't limit yourself as valuable advice and encouragement can come from many avenues.

Once you find that mentor and are guided and nurtured by them, remember the great help they have been to you and be willing to pass on that wisdom and experience to some one else when you become the expert.


  1. What a great idea, Lacey. I'd never even considered this!



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