Friday, March 28, 2008

To cling or not to cling

Mentoring and receiving instruction
“If you be a lover of instruction, you will be well instructed.” Isocrates
While I was on my morning walk the other day I saw a vine clinging to a tree. It reminded me of mentoring. Weird I know, but then, that’s how my crazy mind works sometimes. Most times. The vine starts out crawling along the ground, it makes its way to the tree, then clings while it grows ever upwards.
Mentoring is partnering with someone more knowledgeable for the purpose of instruction. The corporate world has grasped this concept in a big way, and it's successful among youth programs. Have you ever thought about a mentor in the ‘trade’ of romance writing?
How would I do that? While the question seems a big one, may I add some of my own thoughts on this topic? While you may not need a mentor in the true sense of the word, there is a wealth of information out there already available for newbies to glean from.
Firstly, read widely and generally. Find the niche within the market you feel most comfortable with, (that is, if you haven’t already decided). The one you enjoy reading will prove to be the most obvious place to start. For example – It’s no good trying to write a paranormal if you don’t enjoy reading paranormals, even if the market is huge.
Secondly, find a few writers whose work you love and examine their content, voice and technique. Check out if they have a web presence and learn all you can from them.
Next - join groups, associations and forums with the aim of seeking out those more knowledgeable on topics of interest to you. Historical writers could do worse than forming a professional relationship with a history buff. And, while you’re involved in those group/forum situations don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make a list if necessary, to be prepared. Most people are happy to share their insight of what they’re passionate about. You may find someone who will help you more than you could ever imagine.
Even by entering competitions with feedback, you are submitting your work to others who’ve walked further up the road to publication than you. This feedback can be a valuable source of instruction.
Like the vine, use the strength of the other for your upward growth.
“Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” Lou Holtz
Any othe ideas I haven't thought of?

Regards Annie


Chicki said...

So true! I don't know what I'd do without my local RWA group or the many industry/author blogs and web sites. They are a wonderful source of information and encouragement.

Annie Doyle said...

Me too, Chicki
Don't know where I'd be either. Discouraged probably! There is an array of help out there, but sometimes we need help from someone else to find it.

Chelle Sandell said...

Our critique group has been a huge source of support and encouragement. When I took the plunge and joined my local RWA group, it's the same way. I've also had some wonderful opportunities through my local group because they have some incredible pubbed authors working extensively with the group.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I think a big part of writing is the networking, too. Talking to other writers, whether on the internet or in person, makes such a huge difference. :)

Annie Doyle said...

I agree Chicki and Jennifer, networking is important as is the amazing thing that happens in group dynamics.

Annie Doyle said...

Our critique group is wonderful isn't it? Hope your man made it!!

Theresa said...

I agree with Chelle too. Once I got past the fear of letting others see my work I've gotten better.
Writers networking is great.

Amanda Reynolds-Smith said...

Oh Annie!! I would have stopped before I startd without everyone's fabulous comments, ideas and suggestions!!!