The great athletes you see today would not be where they are without their coaches. The same is true for writers, and thus why you need a writing mentor. Mentors, coaches, and leaders act as guides.
They teach you what to do, what not to do, and how to move forward. If you’ve ever wondered why you need a writing mentor, you’re in a great headspace. Simply asking the question shows that you:
- Understand there is more to learn
- Know you can’t find all the information on your own
- Are you willing to accept guidance from someone who is further along
With these reasons in mind, let’s dive into why you need a writing mentor, what exactly a mentor is, the benefits they bring, and how to find one!
Why you need a writing mentor: defined
Why you need a writing mentor correlates directly with an experience I had years ago on one of Michigan’s Great Lakes. On an open-bow boat on a beautiful day, sudden fog rolled in. There was no way to tell where land was or if there were other boats nearby.
If we floated in place, a boat could easily hit us. If we put the boat in gear and throttled forward, we risked running into another boat. What we needed in that moment was a guide who understood how to get through the uncertainty and find land.
This very reason is why you need a writing mentor. Mentors coach writers because they have been there before and experienced the claustrophobia of being stuck at a certain level of their career, but they found the way out.
Mentors understand what you’re going through because they did as well. Maybe they write a different genre or reach a different audience, but the fundamentals of writing are the same:
- You must get an idea
- You need to write the book
- Marketing is crucial
- Reaching your audience is a must
The list could go on for pages. If you are willing to learn from someone further down the career path, you will likely experience many benefits. Let’s talk about a few of such benefits.
Benefits a writing mentor provides
When you realize the many benefits of partnering with a professional in your field, you will soon realize why you need a writing mentor, no matter what stage of the writing process you find yourself in.
1 – A writing mentor pushes you
Mentors and coaches are extremely helpful because they often are more aware of their mentee’s limitations than the mentee is. When you work with a mentor, you will likely cover more ground in less time due to their help.
2 – Helps you create good habits
Sometimes it’s difficult to make, let alone keep, good writing habits. If you struggle in this area, welcome to the rest of us! But, why you need a writing mentor? They help keep you on track.
3 – Shines a spotlight on your blind spots
Mentors can also see areas that you are unaware of. Whether you need to make a character more realistic or write your memoir in a strong voice, you mentor is there to guide you.
4 – Refines your voice
Speaking of voice, a mentor can see your unique writing voice from an outsider’s perspective and teach you how to capitalize on it.
5 – Shares tips you may not find elsewhere
There are only so many tips you can find that directly pertain to you and your needs. Why you need a writing mentor often comes down to the personalized coaching and tips you receive.
6 – Recognizes your ability and areas for growth
Because your mentor will have walked in your shoes many times before, they have a great vantage point to see your strengths and areas you can improve. Trust them when they compliment your writing or habits, and take their advice to heart!
7 – Knows when you need a break
My writing mentor has told me to take a break before, and I was so thankful for this because I likely wouldn’t have done so on my own. Sometimes just having a mentor encourage a day or two of rest does wonders.
8 – Offers advice specific to your needs
Along with recognizing your ability comes curated feedback specific to you and your goals. What works for one writer may not work for you, and vice versa. A writing mentor knows what advice to give you and why.
9 – Sees the long game
Due to their establishment of their own career, they see twists and turns you can’t simply because you’re just starting out. Listen to their advice when they say a specific career move may not be best at this time. They likely know more than you do.
10 – Keeps you humble
And, of course, why do you need a writing mentor if not to keep you humble? There’s nothing like meeting a monumental goal or hitting a bestseller list and then listening to your mentor give you areas to improve. This is an extremely healthy way to both celebrate your success but also stay humble.
Ways to find your best match
Now that you’re inundated with reasons why you need a writing mentor, you may wonder how to find one. A simple Internet search will reveal many options. Whether you want to join a successful author’s writing guild, a private Facebook group, or hire a mentor for specific, one-on-one help, how do you find the best match for you?
Many writing groups that include mentoring (in addition to classes) offer a trial period. Depending on the genre you write, the method you want to publish, and your specific needs, you can always reach out to a group and try it.
If you want more one-on-one coaching, you may want to consider taking a course from selfpublishing.com and include coaching along with it. This coaching offers:
- Exactly what you need to build your brand
- Help with growing your reach
- Tips to expand your income
Our self-publishing coaches are bestselling authors trained to enable you to create the business and life of your dreams by using a bestselling book as your launchpad.
Train under a successful author
While this method may be a little less conventional, reaching out to an established author can be a great way to receive mentoring. Often, authors offer services on their websites that include coaching and mentoring for newer authors.
You could always reach out, mention you’re looking for something more long-term, and ask if they would consider a trial period.
Now you know why you need a writing mentor…what next?
Reaching out to mentors can be intimidating, but rest assured they have been where you are. Established authors want to help newer authors succeed. They are rooting for you.
Dare to reach out. Be respectful yet bold, and then wait for an answer.
Remember, anything worth trying is usually worth failing at in the beginning. It may take several tries to find the best mentor for you, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Trial and error is the name of the game when it comes to creativity. Give it your best and see what happens!