Is a writing mentorship for you?
A dear friend of mine, and a writer whose talent I greatly admire, applied for an SCBWI mentoring program a few years back. This surprised me on a number of levels. Mostly because she already had more published books and stories than I can hope to achieve in my lifetime. So why would she apply for a mentorship? Then, a few months ago in Quebec I met up with a lovely writer friend from my MFA days. She was also involved in a mentorship and was very enthusiastic about her experience.
The whole mentorship-for-hire concept was new for me. I was busy taking writing classes and writing boot camps and writing webinars but I’d never considered a mentorship. I’ve used two editors in the past. Both were professional, lauded and quite excellent. But there’s a big difference between an editor and a mentor.
A good editor will give you important feedback on your manuscript. They will even spend some time discussing their edits with you. But once that’s complete, their job is done. When you work with a mentor you enter into a longer relationship with a built-in back and forth component, which gives you the chance to discuss ideas, options, directions. For someone like me, who tends to veer off course like a crow spotting a shiny penny, the idea of someone helping me stay on track during the writing process was very appealing. I decided to investigate.
I took a leap and contacted Gail Anderson-Dargatz. Gail is a bestselling Canadian novelist. I met her briefly when she was still an instructor at UBC’s Optional Residency MFA. I never had Gail as an instructor when I was a student and I’ve always regretted not making time for her courses. She had a no bullshit approach, which I so admire. And best of all for my needs, she had a reputation for being a stickler when it came to craft. I’m not talking about pretty-sentence craft. I’m talking about big craft. Structure. Pacing. POV. Gail is a master crafts(wo)man.
I contacted Gail, signed up, and have begun my first mentorship. Over the course of the next five months I’ll be journaling about my experiences. The ups and the downs. The highs and the lows of learning and polishing my craft.
If you’re interested in mentorships, here are some links to explore.
To find out more about mentorships with Gail Anderson-Dargatz.
Click on Gail’s Classroom upper right hand corner. And, don’t miss reading her novels. RHINESTONE BUTTON is my favourite.
If you write for children, you may want to consider one of the fine mentorships available through the Society For Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.