Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Will you accept the call to mentor?

It's flattering when someone learns you're a writer and shows an interest in your stories. You outline what you write, how you got started, and regale them with snippets of what your books are like. As the conversation progresses, you learn they've always had a desire to write. Inevitably you're asked the question, "How do you go about getting published?"

How much will you tell them? Will it be a brief overview of the process, a detailed explanation, or will you put them off? Of course, much of what you say will depend on your snap judgement of how serious you believe them to be. Another consideration is the amount of time you have to spend on the subject. If you're in a rush, you might hand them your card and tell them to contact you and you'll get back. But will you?

If you do get back to them, how much of your time and self are you willing to give?

Do writers have a responsibility to help new writers when asked? Did someone mentor you, help you develop your craft?

We've all had varying experiences. I was fortunate to have a mentor who helped me a great deal. As a result, I feel I need to help when I can. How about you?



Judith Leger said...

Oh, absolutely, Linda. The little bit of time that you give to someone is so tiny compared with how much they appreciate and will never forget the help you've given. I still remember mine.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You have a generous spirit. I agree that we should mentor those who have a serious desire, "and give us the wisdom to know the difference."


Big Mike said...

I've always enjoyed the mentoring process and the thought that I may have helped someone do a little better with their inherit talents. Probably because I never had anyone step up to the plate for me personally, I've never drawn limits to how far I will go, long as the person is serious and committed to learn. Serendipitously, I find that in figuring how to explain something to someone else always provides me with a new appreciation of elements I took for granted before.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Sherry Gloag said...

I'm happy to help a writer when they ask for it, and like to step back when they feel confident enough on their own. It could be almost immediately - the ones who just needed that push to find their confidence, or take a little longer because they lack self-belief.
I try never to become a crutch for them.

Wajiha said...

This is something many great writers do not realize. And I'm glad you decided to write a post on it.
Sometimes a little help you give to these aspiring writers can make all the difference :)

Ashley Barnard said...

I love helping with all the basic stuff -- writing query letters, formatting, how to find a publisher, etc.; it's the help with the actual writing that I shy away from. I remember how defensive I was when I first started writing, and I don't want to hurt feelings or anger anyone with suggestions. But I do love helping with the non-artistic side of it.

Ciara Gold said...

Oh, most definitely. I find my time is rather sparce right now, but in the past I've tried to help other authors a lot. And I still do help, just not as much as I'd like to.