5 Crucial Ways a Writing Mentor Can Help You Be a Better Writer

I've been a writing mentor for nearly 20 years. I've been a writer and editor for more than 30 years.  I have helped hundreds of writers improve their writing and get published, often through a mentoring relationship. 

I see at least 5  important ways any writer might benefit from having a private mentor.

1. A Writing Mentor Helps You Understand What publishers Expect

Publishers have expectations. Whether you're writing a short story, a novel or a book of nonfiction, some conventions are set  for fiction, where a book begins, what the setup accomplishes, how the arc progresses, the prerequisites of particular genres, etc. 

Publishers expect a distinct voice and consistent point of view and fresh, vivid characters. The writing should be dense and rich in detail, but not overwritten. Writers rarely see where their own work is overwritten.

The story must feel balanced with a strong story thread or question and a strong causal progression. Scenes must be deftly crafted with well developed stimulus-response sequencing and scene endings that propel readers into the next scene or chapter. For non-fiction, publishers will be looking at the premise itself, the logic of the argument and the value of examples,  headings, subheadings, etc.

Even professional writers become so immersed in their work that it is difficult to see it objectively. A writing mentor helps a writers write more of what editors hope to see.

2. A Mentor Makes a knowledgeable Sounding Board For Your Ideas

Running your ideas by a mentor allows you to discuss your work with someone who understands the writing process, as well as what you hope to accomplish. I've written two novels, numerous  short stories, memoir, and thousands of targeted business pages. I understand the universal need to make an impact with words.  You can brainstorm ideas and get helpful feedback about:

  • development
  •  organization
  • gaps in logic
  • accuracy and specificity
  •  general flow
  • and much more

3. A Writing Mentor Provides Supportive Feedback

Writing is a solitary endeavour. You can feel lonely and misunderstood. As a writing mentor, I provide encouragement to writers who have lost their confidence in a project or in the value of their writing overall. Just knowing that I believe in you and see the potential in your writing can be enough to boost your  morale and inspire you to keep going. 

I wish I had found you sooner. Over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars on contest entries and I rarely heard a word in response. Now I know why! Thank you for your help and encouragement. ~ Jacqueline Sturgess, Toronto, Ontario

4. A Writing Mentor Sees what you Miss and Provides specific advice

We've all had the experience of reading our work to friends or family members who murmur vague encouraging words (or not!) when we're finished. But that's not as helpful as solid, impartial feedback on the specific  strengths and weaknesses of the text from someone who intimately understands the art and craft of writing.

Sometimes, when writers read their work aloud, they know intuitively that something is amiss, but they can't pinpoint the exact problem. In most cases, neither can friends.

An experienced writing mentor quickly spots issues and articulates what needs to be done to correct the problem.

Decades of reading and text analysis have honed my analytical and critical thinking skills. I’ve developed an ear for rhythm in language and an eye for accuracy and detail. As a result, I can quickly assess and strengthen your business or creative writing. 

Pearl Luke's evaluation of my manuscript was invaluable. The clarity of her comments and insightful suggestions backed up by concrete examples provided me with a road map to improve my book. She not only pointed out areas of weakness but also pointed out where the writing worked and why. I wish I had used  her to evaluate my previously published novel as I am certain her critique would have improved it  considerably.

One other thing I have to say about Pearl Luke's manuscript evaluation is that it is obvious from the depth of her comments and specific citations that she dedicates an extraordinary amount of time and effort to the task.

 ~E. David Brown, Montreal, QC

5. A writing Mentor Helps You Find Your Unique Voice

A writer's "voice" develops over time, as the writer gains confidence and feels secure enough to become more vulnerable.

Are you a witty conversationalist? Do you naturally joke with friends? Or are you more serious, a quiet person who sees the subtleties others often miss? Did you grow up in the south or the midwest? 

The answer to those questions and more affect your writer's voice. As I talk to you and work with you, I can recognize when your writing is authentic and when you haven't quite got there yet.

Just having me point out the discrepancies  is usually enough to help you gain confidence and  distinguish between what rings true on the page and what doesn't. 

Thank you so much for your evaluation of my manuscript, Raised by Committee. The type of feedback you've given is exactly what I was looking for—succinct, relevant and useful. Your ability to pinpoint two major inconsistencies in the text enabled me to make needed edits.

Your feedback exceeded my expectations, and your turn around time was amazing. Thank you, Pearl, it was a pleasure working with you, and money well spent. 

~ Carollyne Haynes, Qualicum Beach, BC

7 ways I Mentor Creative Writers

  1. By teaching advanced writing techniques to take your writing up a notch
  2. By evaluating your writing strengths and weaknesses
  3. By commenting on ideas and offering suggestions when you're stuck
  4. By listening to you read your work aloud (This is where writers often sense that the writing is not doing what it should.)
  5. By offering substantive suggestions for how you might reorganize your text for better effect
  6. By stylistically editing to reduce wordiness, replace weak verbs, eliminate cliches, and  improve overall diction and syntax
  7. By providing a "writing checklist" of areas to focus on
  8. By offering opportunities for paid publication

Your comments have saved me from countless hours of future editing and rewriting had I not been made aware of the short-comings in my early work.

Without any doubt, taking advantage of your service has been the best decision I have made in taking my writing more seriously.  ~ John Geddes, Vancouver, BC 

If my services will help you reach your writing goals, please contact me to plan a mentoring strategy and to buy a block of coaching time. Choose from one of the three options below. All prices are in Canadian dollars.

My Rates

$1999     20-hour prepaid block of coaching/editing time for novelists and advanced writers. Over a one-month period, we work intensively on all aspects of your writing, with the aim of having a finished piece of work to submit for publication.  

As your writing mentor, you will have my full attention for 5 hours every week, in whatever way will be most helpful to you and your projectteaching, telephone, Skype, email,  editingwhatever you need.

$237     2-hour prepaid block of coaching/editing time for short projects and  varied needs, such as general feedback for new writers, read-aloud feedback,  assistance with short stories, Skype discussions, editing, and whatever mentoring suits your situation.

$99     For those who want  to test the waters first. You may submit up to 2000 words to receive the personal "quick look" 50-point checklist. This fast, economical assessment of your writing uses a checklist and detailed comments to alert you to the strengths and weaknesses in a sample of your writing. Use this option to assess any piece of fiction,  creative nonfiction, memoir or blog post. 

Thanks for enlightening me with very clear and consistent general advice that applies not only to the chapters I sent you but will also be useful in the future. 

 ~ Cam Carruthers, Bonn, Germany

Read a Sample Manuscript Evaluation 

I am pleased that I feel less intimidated than before our time together. I think that is the sign of a great writing mentor. I hoped for more confidence to try new things and I feel like I have more of that.

It has been a great pleasure working with you and I would love to work with you again! I feel like I have taken away important skills that I desperately needed. This has been a very good experience for me, in every way. 

 ~ Linda Theodosakis, Naramata, BC

Please CLICK HERE to contact me, order services or ask questions

Search this site: