3 Benefits of Mentoring Newer Writers

There was a point in your life when you had never written down a story before.

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If Novelty Revisions offered a virtual writer’s mentoring program, where more experienced writers would be paired with newer writers to help them build confidence and push them to write, would you join?

I ask because the idea crossed my mind earlier this week. I’m not making any promises, and I would need to gauge interest before actually putting something like that together. But the subject of mentoring is one I have only covered from one side: that of being mentored. What about being a mentor?

Sometimes, as much as I love giving out writing advice in this format, not everyone wants it. Those who visit and comment often do – and I appreciate that, believe me. I suppose it’s the byproduct of having had an amazing creative writing mentor when I was just starting out. I want to be able to be there for someone, writing wise, the way he was there for me.

But why? Why, when we have our own things to write and our own lives to live, should we even consider taking time and energy out of our busy schedules to act as a mentor to another writer?

Because the world needs more fearless writers.

Because too many people are being told they cannot create what they want to create. Too many people are stuck trying to do this on their own with no idea where to start. Most writers are busy – and it’s true that you cannot improve as a writer if you do not go off on your own and write. But what about the aspiring writers who just don’t have that kind of discipline? How can we help them learn? We can, can’t we?

We should never be allowed to forget where we came from.

From a mentoring perspective, spending time with someone who looks up to you is an often much-needed reminder that you may not be perfect, but you have come much father than you once thought you could. There was a point in your life when you had never written down a story before. At this point in your life you might not remember what that was like. But having someone there who is in a place you once were, you are able to look back on that time in your life and better appreciate how hard you worked to get to where you are today.

We know what we’re doing. Mostly. We can’t let that go to waste.

Many of us have been writing for a long, long time. I’m not that old, but even I have pretty much been writing for over a decade now. I may not be an expert, but I know well enough the ins and outs of the industry to be able to answer many of the questions many new writers have when they are first starting out. Even if I don’t have the answers, I have a decade’s worth of resources to refer them to for help. Newer writers don’t have any of the experience many of us have. Even if we are not “experts,” we still have valuable advice to offer. Even simple things can mean the world to someone who is unsure and doubtful about what they can and cannot do.

Have you ever had an opportunity to mentor a less experienced writer? Would you want one? If enough of you like the idea, I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps I will even recruit a few of you to help develop it. We shall see. :)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

Image courtesy of writingyorkshire.org.