Mentoring

In December, I started working with a high school student who wanted to write science fiction for his senior project. Last year, I worked with a different high school student who was writing historical romance. [This is in the context of my day job, not a side gig for money.] One of the hardest parts of mentoring students (and also Pitch Wars writers) is the constant need to check my thinking about whose journey this is. I’m able to keep my distance from the actual book and not take that over. BUT the journey, the next steps in order to grow, that’s where my latent, “I’m the teacher and because I said so” tendencies might appear. One of the techniques I’ve been trying lately is to surface and share other authors’ journey stories. In On Writing by Stephen King, he describes his childhood fascination with writing, through the long years of submitting stories and being rejected by various publications, to the day when he first saw ‘real’ money as an author. At writers’ conferences, keynote speakers will sometimes include their journey stories. And sometimes you can find ‘how I made it’ stories in other publications by and for writers. Student writers, but really all of us, need more of these to help us navigate the journey and choose our own next steps.

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Jenna Lincoln