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Retreats and Mentoring in Writing Part 11 of 15

Welcome to all who are new, great to have you here. I’ll mention once again about the contest, it’s a few posts down, so if you want to join in the fun you can, feel free to leave a comment or send an email. I’ve gone through all the emails, and well, so many good ones, and so many asking more about it. I’ll answer the most common of those questions right here: No, you don’t need to wait until this series is finished to write in.

I want to flip this post over a bit and ask the question to you: What happens to a write who doesn’t have a mentor or writing buddy or some form of critiquing done?

I could say that they would be lost with out help. I was admittedly one of those when I first began writing about 15 years ago. I always wanted to write, I’d make up small stories and write. I’d buy little books, Terry Brooks mostly, but C.S. Lewis was also a big favorite of mine. Still they seemed to take me somewhere else.

So, I though hey it doesn’t look too hard, I can get this done no problem. Big problem. Got myself the desk, the paper and pen, and then wrote. Then wrote it again on the computer and… after about 2 years, I began to send it out. Now, here’s the funny part. I did the first thing that comes to mind with a seventeen year old… mass query letters. Yep, I did it. Got them all back as form letters and some helpful suggestions.

One editor went so far as to suggest I rewrite my story. Then it dawned on me, maybe I should get some other person to read it. I did, and continued to write. And write, and write and write.
If you want to see what happens when you think something is good, give a first draft of anything to someone else.

I got myself some writing buddies first, then later a mentor. My writing improved, possibly because these people will look at writing in a different way than I do.

That’s a good thing. It challenges me and makes me a more improved writer. That’s what we all want right?

5 Comments

  • AmberInGlass

    I think having a good support group is invaluable. Mentors can be few and far between it seems, but sometimes even just a few words from a close friend can go a long way for aspiring writers.

    I think really, the key is to just keep writing and reading and listening. Talking to other writers and making an effort not to get too trapped inside your own head really goes a long way in and of itself, in my own opinion.

    It can be really hard to find a mentor, I must say I'm a bit envious of your relationship with Rachel. But for those of us without a strong mentor, like you have, I think if you just keep perservering and communicating with other writers the pieces will all slowly and surely fall into place.

  • PrettySiren

    Yeah, I'd definitely say we all want to be challenged, as writers. And definitely improve!

    But, at the same time, I think we, collectively, want to horde away our writing until publication.Yet — as your story relates, Rebecca — it doesn't always work like that.

    To answer your question: Critiquing is another pair of eyes. It lets us know how others, including readers and editors, will see our work. Everyone views the world, including the written word, differently. Another pair of eyes, at the very least, shows you thinks that you might not have thought of, or things you might've missed.

    And I think critiquing, whether it be from a writing buddy or mentor, is an important thing that every writer needs. Everyone needs to be critiqued at least once. It thickens our skins and opens our eyes.

  • Beth

    Looking for a critic has been a little difficult for me. I'm always trying to get somebody to read my posts and give me some tips but people seem to be afraid to be a critic.

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