Mentoring

There are times when one steps outside one’s door, expecting to go down the street to the park. But something distracts you turn right and end up at the fire station. Such is the path of this blog post. I wanted to get more input on Romance Writers of America’s new Mentoring program. But searching for Mentoring brought me to a blog called All the Kissing. The particular post I landed on was written almost two years ago. But it is so perfect for this topic. I might as well stop typing and let you go read that!

I mean, really, Helen Hoang, a close personal friend from RWA touches on issues I would have ignored but that are so important. Not only RWA, but Twitter, critique groups, Pitch Wars (where Ms. Hoang hooked up with her mentor and slid into a published book life), Facebook, and lots more.

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There is no better poster person for Mentoring than Helen. And once she got her book deal, as you do, she became much too busy for sprinting with me on Facebook. I miss that, because no one else jumped in to take her place, and I have slipped away from it now. Still, I remember her sharing her day and her kids’ adventures with great fondness. I’m deeply impressed that she has a second book published.

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This RWA page states that the organization’s mentoring happens within the local groups. I’ve had three experiences within the chapter, the first two were less than wonderful. I got put on the spot, my work was torn to shreds, and nothing pushed me toward being published. However, my last one and a workshop in the chapter both were positive and pushed me into knowing how my work in progress would go. The work is much more publishable now. I also have a cheerleader in the group who gives me lots of feedback and encouragement.

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Pitch Wars has the advantage of an agent or editor seeing your work, helping you improve it, and working with you through the next pitch. And as if by magic, each mentor has a Wish List so that you can see if your work fits into a category they are wild about and can promote with honesty.

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And of course, if you find a group who meets in person, you will have struck gold. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has local groups that meet once or more times per week. The group I found was listed on MeetUp and has been not only a steady morning dedicated to writing but also where I found my critique group. If you’re an introvert who just can’t imagine socializing, well, my group is called “Sip it, Zip it, and Write.” Other than Hi, I’m My Name, you can sit there and be quiet while you write. Bring earbuds or headphones and let yourself write in a group. You might like it.

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It’s not easy to be a writer. The more help you can find, the easier you make it on yourself. Give yourself a chance and get the wind going under your wings. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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