I spend many hours alone…writing. When I am not writing, I spend many hours alone…in my mind. Working on my writing, thinking about my stories, characters and marketing plans. Seems like a solitary existence, no? Well, yes. BUT, I am not really alone as a writer. My mentors are always with me in spirit. And they help me with my writing.
Who are your mentors, Chuck? And how did you find them?
I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you about five great mentors I have found along the way. Many of these wonderful people are within your reach. You just need to look around.
- Read books. Duh. So glad I read on. You should be. Many successful authors have written about their careers. They detail how they made it to the top of their profession and all the mistakes they made along the way. Their experiences are just as valuable to me and my situation as a person who can meet with me in person. Two of my favorite BOOK MENTORS are Stephen King and Wayne Stinnett. Their books, On Writing and Blue Collar to No Collar, respectively, have provided abundant education for my writing.
- Subscribe to blogs. Like I didn’t think about that. Well, maybe you did. But are you subscribing to the RIGHT kinds of blogs? The internet is full of people telling you what you should do. Only a select few can truly deliver the goods when it comes to writing advice. Two of my favorite BLOG MENTORS are Joanna Penn and Chuck Wendig. Their blogs, The Creative Penn and Terrible Minds, respectively, teach me more about the writer’s mind.
- Listen to podcasts. I don’t have time for podcasts. Sure you do. These treasure troves can be listened to while commuting to work, walking in the park, waiting for your kids at soccer practice. Anywhere, anytime. Two of my favorite PODCAST MENTORS are Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant and David Wright (they count as one person!) and Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl (also count as one person!). Their podcasts, The Self Publishing Podcast and Story Grid Podcast, respectively, get specific on tactics for successful writing.
- Attend events with other writers. Travel is not in my budget. You might be surprised what is available locally. Follow your favorite writers and you may find them hosting a nearby book signing. Or check out a convention where writers will be appearing and signing books. These events are great places to talk shop with the folks who are living the writing life. And you can get autographed copies of your favorite books at the same time. You’re going to buy them and read them anyway, right? The secret gem is observing the authors – how they talk to fans, sell their books and market their wares. Two of my favorite EVENT MENTORS are The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, TX and Scares That Care Weekend in Williamsburg, VA.
- Talk to writers. Real insightful, pal. I know, right? You would be surprised how many writers are willing to help you and answer your questions. I know I was floored to find authors responding to my Facebook comments or email questions. As a matter of fact, the list of authors who responded to me and opened up about writing and fiction is TOO BIG TO CAPTURE HERE. But all you need to do is communicate with your favorite authors. Respond to their newsletters. Comment on their Facebook or Twitter posts. Send them a note about how much you appreciate their style. I did it and I have been rewarded for doing so. Two of my favorite AUTHOR MENTORS are Armand Rosamilia and Gary Jonas. Both authors have been there whenever I needed help or encouragement. And all I had to do was ask them.
I hope these ideas spur you to take action. Nothing in this post is earth-shattering. It just takes some looking, listening and communicating. You’ll find your own set of mentors to guide you through the peaks and valleys of writing. They are out there. And they are waiting for you to speak up.
You can follow me on my own writing journey at The Mando Method Podcast. Give it a listen. Leave a comment. Ask a question. What are you waiting for?