Rachel Thompson

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Alex A. Akira – Why Mentors Write

Why Mentors Matter

by Alex A. Akira

Whether you are trying to increase your skills at writing, editing or self publishing, a mentor is extremely helpful because they can save you time. A good mentor generally has more experience than you, is someone you trust, and  they offer their knowledge in a manner which allows you to assimilate and apply it. A good mentor also provides encouragement and support.

If you are like me, new to the world of writing to publish, you may find that after publishing your initial effort, the desire to improve your writing skill becomes extremely important. You may start to research online, purchase writing and editing books and try to decipher the rules of the writing game. A mentor can help you recognize whether the changes you make in your skills are bringing you closer to your desired goal.

While you can learn through books and articles, having access to an experienced person who can answer your questions is invaluable. To put it simply, while that automated voice, which we have all encountered on a telephone at some point in our lives, can answer your questions; is it not better when an actual person answers your call and you are able to cut to the heart of the matter? And is it not even better when you and that person are compatible and develop a trust. A trust that allows you to listen to their suggestions and apply their advice?

Mentors can be, teachers, editors, beta readers, a writing partner or simply someone whose work you saw and admired. I connected with my first mentor by writing them a fan letter. Sometimes it’s someone who shared  a writing tip with you, but they conveyed it to you in such a way that you quickly grasped the concept and were able to apply it.

The greatest reward for a mentor is when your work shows improvement due to their input. Mentors generally offer their advice and support because they remember when they struggled with the same topics that you are working on. They also use the mentorship to reiterate the lesson for themselves. If  you or they see no improvement in your work or find that you are not applying any of their suggestions, well you and that mentor are not a match. There is another mentor out there for you, thank the person and try again.

Also, unless you are paying a person to mentor you and even if you are, do not abuse the mentor relationship by counting on them for every little question. There are hundreds of articles, books and blogs that offer advice. Use these to garner knowledge and to locate the holes in your writing, then compose concise questions that relate to your current WIP and pose those to your mentor. You may find several mentors work better than  a single mentor, as each person may have expertise in a different area of the writing field.

I have several mentors, some help me with editing, some with story content, others with self-publishing. Outside of that I have mentors to help me navigate the social networking and marketing waters. I am also a mentor to others, sharing my knowledge with those who  are just entering the writing to publish  arena.

Writing can be a lonely thing. With the support of a mentor or several, you have access to valuable input that can help you grow in a more immediate fashion allowing you to meet your goals sooner than later.

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Genre – M/M Romance

Rating – R

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