Improving your writing skills and discipline is much easier when you find mentors who are writers. Here’s how to find a writing mentor who can help you write and get published.
Did you know a book such as Make Your Words Work: Proven Techniques for Effective Writing-For Fiction and Nonfiction by Gary Provost can be a “writing mentor”? His book is like a writing course that will help you make your work more powerful, more readable, and easier to get published.
Finding writing mentors can be hard work…but the right teachers help you get “luckier” and get your work published! If you want to be a writer, you need to learn from other writers. How do you start? By asking people you know about finding a writing mentor. You’d be surprised how many successful writers you have access to! Here’s what happened when I asked a life coach about finding a writing mentor…
I contacted life coach Susan Wilson for an article I was writing for Woman’s Day. She told me about Daphne Gray-Grant, a publication coach and writer who offers e-books and teleclasses. Though I haven’t tried Grant’s products, I did sign up for the weekly newsletters. Bonanza! They’re short, practical, and effective. Of all the writing newsletters I’ve signed up for, hers is by far the most useful and inspiring. She’s one of my writing mentors.
If you’d rather just go directly to learning how to be a freelance writer, read 5 Things You Need to Know About Writing for Magazines.
How to Find the Right Writing Mentor
Find a writing mentor who inspires you to keep writing better (and faster). The writing newsletters that lead you on bunny trails or include the writer’s personal lives or offer the perspectives of a gazillion people on the price of gas aren’t particularly helpful.
Remember that newsletters can be “writing mentors”
Part of Daphne’s most recent newsletter goes like this: “Use transitions. Transitional words “such as because, as well, but, in contrast, similarly” belong in everything you write. They help “pull” the reader through your writing – much as a rope tow pulls a skier uphill,” she says. “As well, don’t ignore the power of “conceptual” transitions. These occur when you repeat a word or phrase or otherwise refer back to an earlier sentence. The second paragraph of this article (“Not me”), for example, harkens back to the first paragraph (“You probably…”).”
How do you recognize a helpful writing newsletter? It’s short, practical, reinforces what you already know, and/or offers new insights. It doesn’t detract from your writing life – it adds to it in measurable ways. You’re not just inspired by good writing newsletters…you’re actually challenged by them to be a better writer.
Be open to writing tips from less-famous or unknown writers
The popular writing sites are great…and the less-known ones can be even better. If everyone’s taking the same writing advice, then what makes you stand out? For instance, I read one one popular writing site that writing articles called “10 Things You Never Knew About…..” was smart. Yeah – it’s a great idea – and now the editors will be drowning in things you never knew about! You see what I mean?
Ask your writing friends or query on writing forums
There’s gold in them thar hills, and some people are mining it….and I know they’d be happy to share the wealth! They just need to be asked.
Get on a blog carnival
This is new to me, and I’m hooked! Every week – this is just one example – Missy Frye hosts a writing carnival on her blog, the Incurable Disease of Writing. She gathers several blogs relating to all sorts of writing topics, and hosts them all on one page. It’s a fabulous way to discover new writing mentors or writing newsletters.
If you think you have nothing to share on your blog, read How to Know What to Write About.
Fellow scribes, do you have any tips on finding writing mentors? Do you have a mentor – and has it helped your writing process and progress?
When a man is willing and eager, the gods join in. – Aeschylus