Why I Chose to Mentor
I mentor while I continue on my own journey to publication. Why?
I’ll be the first to admit, when I first began on this writing journey, my first draft needed a ton of work. Yes, it was messy, but first drafts often are. It wasn’t a complete disaster as it was portrayed. Instead of praising the good, the story, the dialogue, some of the scenes, anything that worked, the questionable “editor” I hired pointed out everything that was wrong and told me I wrote like a 5th grader. Ugh! No bueno. Dream crusher in da house!
How dare she? She should be ashamed!!!
She offered no positive feedback or support.
“Here’s how you can fix this.”
“Switch this around and it might work better.”
“The story and concept are unique, but you need to be more specific with your descriptions.”
“Make sure you include the five senses in your scenes.”
“Spread out your exposition.”
In other words, no concrete advice or constructive criticism was offered. Instead, she dished out negative feedback and insults like a boss. Oh, and an excuse laced with idiocy – “this is how I learned. It’s the best way to learn.”
Um, no it’s not.
The best way to learn is to be taught the basics, the tricks, the tactics, the strategies, the meat and bones, the book must-haves, the story essentials, proper story structure, how to keep the story pace, how to organize plots and subplots, and how to begin and end chapters to keep readers turning pages. Newbies need to get in the know about why opening lines need to grab the reader’s attention immediately. Beginners must learn how to choose character names that have meaning and build those characters, so they are not flat, and one dimensional, but have depth. Aspiring authors need to grasp how to write to their audience, how to write for their particular genre. All of these things and more I learned on my own, not from the so-called editor who attempted to destroy my confidence instead of building it up. Because I choose to see the positive instead of focusing on the negative, I believe that experience led me to mentoring.
So, what if I would have stopped writing right there? Many do. What if I would have given up? So many give up. Well, then, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. I was excited about writing a book and I wanted to stay excited, so I did, despite the negativity. I grew in every way that counts. I watered my writing seeds every day, and my seeds grew then flourished. Yours can too and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I honed my craft and became a better writer. I took the negative feedback, well perhaps “negative feedback” is too mild a phrase. I took the destructive feedback, whose only goal was to wound instead of help, and I let it roll right off my back. Knowing what I know now about the ins and outs of publishing and best practices when it comes to writing a book, or writing in general, I say with certainty there wasn’t a morsel of instruction or a crumb of validation in the feedback I first received. Ripping someone apart because you were “ripped apart” is no way to conduct your life. It’s no way to improve anyone’s writing.
This I why I decided to mentor new writers and aspiring authors. Mentor them with kindness, arm them with concrete advise, tips, and info. Help them build a writing arsenal that has the potential to mold them into wonderful writers and authors. My goal is to help others realize their dreams and I can tell you that in the process I have come closer to realizing my own dreams. I’m proud to say I did so without destroying the hopes and dreams of anyone else. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t succeed, you suck as a writer, you’ll never be published. You are the only one who has the power to keep going or stop. I hope when you’re given the choice to sit it out or dance, you dance.