Last month I applied and was accepted onto the WoMentoring Project, a scheme that aims to offer free mentoring to emerging writers from professional literary women. I was delighted to have my application to be mentored by writer Wendy Pratt, a poet I already admired; it has certainly been the highlight of my year so far. In this month’s blog I want to share a bit about that experience, as well as looking at ways writers can go about finding their own mentor.
Having a mentor these last few weeks has been like a breath of fresh air. I have found it to be a wonderfully nourishing experience, so much so that I even felt cushioned from the rejections I received this month. Somehow they felt less personal, and more just a part of the work I’m doing. Having the opportunity to receive professional feedback on my work has taught me a lot about editing, it’s incredible the difference an outside eye can make. I have also learned a great deal about how to give feedback from Wendy, who has been a model of good leadership. I never felt she held back on her comments, nor did I ever feel knocked down by them. I’ve also had the opportunity to ask for her advice in relation to career development, which has been very helpful. It’s been an incredible experience and I highly recommend it. So how can emerging writers go about finding one for themselves?
If you are a woman writer then the WoMentoring Project is still running. It’s free to apply to and if you don’t get accepted by your first choice you are welcome to reapply for a different mentor. It’s a wonderful scheme, and a great way to connect with professional authors. If this is not an option for you then another idea is to find someone you would like to work with within your own circle. It doesn’t have to be someone who is on the top ten best seller list, a writer with more experience than you can be of immense help and support. Prior to working with Wendy, I was exchanging poems with Ellie from Poetry and Pandemonium. While I also give feedback on her work, I am certainly getting the better deal and her feedback is always helpful.
Having a mentor has been a great boost to my writing and hopefully one day I will be a place where I can pass the goodness on, until then I am going to keep learning as much as I can from those who are generous enough to give their time. The writing world is a better place because of them.
Stephanie Arsoska lives on the east coast of Scotland with her husband and two children. She originally trained as an actor before gaining a BA Hons in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. She has worked extensively in theatre and education, and trained to be a Drama Teacher in 2005. More recently she gained a post
graduate certificate in Physical Theatre from Royal Holloway University.
Stephanie writes at her own blog Beautiful Misbehaviour where she runs a monthly virtual open mic night for mothers to perform their creative writing without the need of a babysitter. She was featured in Word Bohemia’s first quarterly journal and in February 2014 she will have a poem published by the Emma Press in their Anthology on Motherhood.