I'm a firm believer in giving back. That's why I judge writers' contests and spend hours giving the writer tips rather than criticisms. We all need help from time to time, gentle nudges, words of encouragement and heaps of praise for small accomplishments...and of course hugs for the big achievements.
That's why I also mentor other writers.
We start out with an agreement to try it for a month. After all, they might find me too picky or not helpful in any way. They email me a chapter and I use tract changes to mark things up and leave comments. I look for pov issues, passive verb usage, holes in plot or weakness with character development. I make comments and send the chapter back. What do I expect in return? Improvement.
Why, when time is so crucial to a writer, do I mentor? Because everyone needs help to reach their goals...to climb toward achieving their dreams. I have a mentor, too: my husband, Calvin. He is my cheerleader, my go-to-guy for answers, my support system, my hero. I would not be writing fulltime--a dream I held in my heart for 50 years--without his gentle nudging. In less than a month, I'll be holding my first book because of him. So, I'm passing it on, paying it forward, if you will.
I mentor two writers--a lovely lady in Boston and a sweetheart in Arizona. Both are growing as writers. Getting stronger. Their writing is becoming more vivid. Not because I'm such a great teacher, but because I can point out things and offer suggestions. I nudge them.
Their writing talent is already there--blooming in their souls. All I do is water the bloom and nudge it with the sunshine of encouragement.
Our mentoring relationship is a two-way street. I'm learning from them, too. In addition, I've made two wonderful friends. Somehow they always seem to know when I'm down or not feeling well and they email, and I smile. Lucky me, I'm a mentor.