Tuesday, May 18, 2010


***picture artfully acquired from an GrbGraphix on DeviantArt***

I've been at this writing game a while now. Big dose of honesty here when I say, I thought my pithy prose was the sh*t when I started writing. I was thoroughly in love with my own words. Then someone came along, seduced me away from the frothy drivel and with gentle guidance and firm coaching proved me wrong. That first editor taught me strong verbs, taught me to cut the passive writing, etc. His teaching chip away my "diamond in the rough" and created a publish-worthy gem.

I've learned so much from the past years of editors, critiques... My writing is so much stronger now for those early lessons. So on Writer Wednesday I'd like to take a few minutes an extol the virtues of mentoring.

Not can only can you warp young minds *cue wicked laugh*, but you can see them literally growing in their craft as their writing samples improve. The excitement in their eyes sparks brighter when a lesson catches, when they see the where's and how's to improve their work. Mentoring also helps reinforce the lessons you've learned, and between teacher and student, you may come upon new ideas for plots, new ways of dealing with Sheri's mentioned Writer's Block, new phrases that ring like beautiful music to your writer's ear.

The best part of mentoring the budding writer for me? Over the weekend, my young Padawan visited, and we were discussing first works versus currents, and he gave me a quiet look heavy with honesty and said, "First person, strong verbs, avoiding passive writing, letting the characters speak... You have changed me."

I didn't cry, but tears did sting and threaten.

If ever the opportunity avails itself to you, I say mentor. It's good for all involved. There are many opportunities to help the budding writers in your life. If you are not a YAlitchat member, you can start the process by clicking on our YAlitchat badge to the right, there you will find many opportunities to mentor and give feedback to other aspiring writers.


  1. I would love to mentor by I myself am still learning! But someday, I will. Great post and reminder to help along the people who can really benefit from our mistakes and wisdom!

  2. Teaching English is quite similar to mentoring - I have been doing it for around 20 years and am still not bored. That must say something for the great benefits!

    Loved reading about your thoughts and experiences on the subject!

  3. Great post, Ann. We each have something unique we can give back and share. Even if you're not ready to help a teen become a writer, there is something you are uniquely qualified to help someone else with. The more you give of yourself, the more fulfilled you become. Neat how that works, huh? (And no, I'm not a zen master in training. I just truly believe that you can only get as much out of life as you're willing to give.)

  4. I can totally relate to falling in love with your own words! We all need mentors and partners to talk us out of those affairs.

  5. @Lydia Definitely Pay It Forward when you get the chance! It is so worth your time.

    @Ann Marie I thought about teaching English--actually went through two years of college for it, but decided what I really wanted to do was write. There's just nothing quite like helping young writers grow, thugh. ^_^

    @Jessie This>>> The more you give of yourself, the more fulfilled you become. I so totally agree!

    @Andrea It's definitely a love affair we need to be able to sacrifice on the pyre of new growth.


Breaths that matter...

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