View Full Version : Looking for a mentor?? Read This!!

08-04-2004, 06:29 AM
First of all, let me say I am not a mentor. I am a newbie, who has found a good mentor/coach. It occurred to me, after my difficult search, that there should be a list of questions and suggestions, people should ask and check of those offering to be their mentor. I thought up this list after I had a bad experience with someone who offered to be MY mentor.

So here goes (now these are just my ideas and I am sure others will add their wisdom):

1. Are you a published writer? (to be a mentor for a writer they should be a successful PUBLISHED writer)

2. What have you written? (read the things they have written - not all mentors are right for every writer - see if they have something in common with your writing)

3. Do you have any limitations on what you will read? (not all people will consider reading certain things - such as violence or erotica)

4. When you give criticism, do you use harsh, condescending, insulting or belittling comments? (they may not be truthful but look for answers like "the ugly truth", "this is a harsh business", "honest no matter what" or "brutally honest"- these could be warning signs)

5. How many people do you mentor right now? (you need someone who can give you a fair amount of their time without overextending themselves)

6. Do you have references? (check them out - unfortunately some "mentors" are looking to "mentor" people just so they have someone to make them feel superior. No matter how bad you need a mentor, you don't want one of these people)

7. Do you have a website? (if so check them out carefully)

8. Do you charge for your services? (unfortunately there are those who do)

9. Ask for a bio on them. (sometimes no matter what the style of writing, personalities do not fit together. If that is the case then the relationship would be counter-productive)

10. Don't be afraid to ask about a person or business on the "Bewares" board. (this way if someone has had a bad experience with them, you will know)

11. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you will never be good enough. (no matter how bad or new you may be, you can improve, so stick to your dream)

12. If a relationship with a mentor is not working out, then move on. (otherwise it will just bring both of you down)

13. Never give one person the power to make you feel like a failure. (get other opinions - the world is made of different people for a reason. If we were all the same, nobody would have a purpose)

When you have the right mentor, things will be perceived in a positive light. You will look forward to talking to them and getting their opinions and suggestions. They will guide you and help you but the work will be up to you. Good luck to everyone on finding the right mentor!!

I wish someone had pointed these types of things out to me in the beginning. I hope I have not wasted your time and have been at least a little bit helpful. I am in no way an expert, just someone who followed this list when I found my mentor.


08-15-2004, 04:09 AM
Excellent questions. I'm running off this list of questions. Can you share your mentor or is she a secret? :)

08-19-2004, 02:42 AM
I don't know if my mentor would like their name shared. But I thought I read somewhere that you wanted a woman helper, my mentor is a man. He is just right for me and my needs, but may not be right for you.

I was approached by others that emailed me and I asked these questions to all of them. Or they answered them by way of introducing themselves. Anyway, if you take a moment to explain exactly what you are looking for, I am sure the right one will come. I wish I could help you more. But I am just a lowly newbie who has a lot of learning and growing to do.


08-17-2012, 03:27 AM
Sure, we'd all like a successfully published author, in our genre, who's not to busy, to mentor us.

But how do you find someone like that? And why would they pick you over someone else?

Right now I'll just hoping my dog will read my work, but he just ran out to back yard w/his tail between his legs.

08-17-2012, 06:45 PM
Sure, we'd all like a successfully published author, in our genre, who's not to busy, to mentor us.

But how do you find someone like that? And why would they pick you over someone else?


I was wondering this myself....not knocking the OP in the least, just saying some of this is much harder to attain in a mentor than others. AND sometimes has caveats of its own (After On Writing, I would not like to let King mentor me on how to break in, for example, as his "short stories in small presses" model is a much harder row now than it was 40 years ago, when we was doig it, and he seems a bit unaware of this.....)

08-17-2012, 07:29 PM
Another long-dead zombie thread dragged back from where it should have remained.

Anyway, I suspect any genuine 'mentor' would withdraw his offer long before the questioner were a fraction of the way down that list.

08-17-2012, 09:12 PM
dammmit, didn't realize I was feeding a zombie thread :-(