Tag Archives: Mentor

#atozchallenge M is for Mentor


by Lillian Csernica on April 15, 2019

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One of the best things a writer can do is find a mentor.

Writing is a lonely business. We have to isolate ourselves, otherwise we’d never get any writing done. When it’s time to emerge from that productive isolation, it helps to have a supportive community of other writers. What helps even more is having a someone who’s been there and done that, who is doing it right now, and can offer support and advice about the process.

Joining a writers group can be one way of building a community and perhaps even finding a mentor. I discuss the pros and cons of writers groups here.

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Thotz.net

What can a writing mentor do for you?

Writing advice — The best way to find good guidance on how to improve your writing is to ask someone who has achieved at least some publishing success. Call me old-fashioned, but I respect the gatekeepers. Editors and publishers with established track records of professional success. Writers who have had fiction accepted by them have proven their level of skill. Both the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Romance Writers of America have mentor programs. If you’re writing in these genres, give them a look.

Professional etiquette — This can encompass everything from how to approach publishers and agents to coping with the perils of volunteering for a writers workshop. The experience and perspective of a good mentor can alert you to pitfalls and make sure you present your best polished professional demeanor.

Marketing tips — Writers who have a sales record will most likely acquire some familiarity with the tastes of the editors to whom they send their fiction. This familiarity arises in part from the submission process, but it can also be informed by face time at conventions. Getting the inside scoop on marketing trends is a wonderful thing.

Coping with rejection — There are three basic stages: form rejection, checklist rejection, personalized rejection. Given the speed of submission managers and email replies, the odds have gone up somewhat in terms of getting actual comments on submissions. That being said, it still takes experience to read such comments and understand their meaning. I was overjoyed the first time I got a rejection from Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine that included a comment about looking forward to seeing more stories from me.

Coping with success — This can be worse than rejection. Why? Because while success breeds success, it also breeds anxiety and pressure to perform. Not every idea will turn into a winner. It becomes a numbers game, which means a lot of hard work. In retail, I learned the 80 20 Rule, aka the Pareto Principle, which says 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities. Having a mentor will help you learn how to spend your available writing time wisely.

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Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, Conventions, creativity, editing, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, publication, science fiction, Writing

M is for Mentor


by Lillian Csernica on April 15, 2013

The world of publishing keeps changing. Electronic rights, intellectual property law, e-readers and new apps and whatever Amazon is up to today. When all you want to do is hole up with your novel or short story or essay or poems, how do you keep up with the changes that are constantly altering the playing field of your writing career?

You find yourself a mentor. A tutor. A person of knowledge, experience, and insight who can teach you how to establish your Web presence, expand your social media and create a platform that will bring in the kind of attention you’ve got to have to compete in today’s world of instant electronic gratification.

How do you find such a mentor? You look. You listen. You prowl the social media sites in search of the people who really do seem to have a good grasp of not just writing but writing in this Brave New World of paperless literacy. You ask questions, you read the FAQs, you get out there and educate yourself so when you find that mentor candidate you’ll be ready to ask for the kind of help that shows you’ve already done the legwork on learning the basics.

This is important. Take a tip from the journalists: When you’re granted an interview with an expert, do not ask the entry level questions. Do your homework! That way you make the most of the opportunity.

Be open-minded. Be polite. Be humble. Be alert. Don’t make up pictures in your head that might blind you to the person who can do you all kinds of good.

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Filed under Blog challenges, Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing