Growing up, I had a lot of people to give me encouragement for my writing. In second grade, my teacher told me I had talent. My family told me they loved my writing, and I even had some strangers tell me the same thing. Now, I am 45, and other than this blog site, I’ve only had five pieces published.
Now you may be asking, “If you have people to encourage you, why don’t you have more written?” Even if you’re not asking it, I certainly was today. I went over it and I believe the reason is a lack of a mentor. By mentor I mean another writer I can meet with and discuss writing.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family dearly, and as I’ve said before, my mom’s side of the family is highly creative. My mom is a painter; my younger brother is a musician; my older brother is skilled in engineering; and my sister is a well-known cosmetologist. With all this creative talent in the family, there are no other writers. The encouragement I’ve received has helped my confidence greatly; but only another writer can both encourage and push me the right direction into productivity.
A true mentor is someone with the same interest you have, but who also has more experience. They can show you new ways of doing something, and help you think in new directions. They will hold you accountable for your craft, and they will help when you get stuck. There are members of my online writing group who fall into that category, but the fact that they don’t live anywhere near me dis-qualifies them as true mentors. Even so, their help over the years has proven extremely valuable, and their support is always greatly appreciated.
Of course, what I look for in a mentor is someone I live close to, with whom I can meet with in a coffee shop, or another appropriate venue, where I can have a nice one on one conversation about writing. A place where we can read each other’s work, and offer constructive, and respectful, opinions about what we read, and possibly come up with solutions to the problem areas.
The best part of having a local mentor is this; they will push you to continue, and they won’t let you use your insecurities as an excuse to quit. A good mentor will hound you to keep you writing, and you won’t be able to get rid of them by turning off the computer.
If you are looking for a good writing group that will support your writing, and answer your questions, go to Writingandpublishing on yahoo groups. They are a very good group of writers on every level.