5 Things I Learned during Mentoring Month

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January was the mentoring month and  over the last four weeks Rebecca and I have been working with Rebecca on my first novel, The Witches of New Moon Beach.  She has been incredibly creative, using many different strategies to teach me her craft. I think that this project has actually required far more time than she ever thought it would, and writing a book is far more work than I thought it would be.  I know how lucky I am to have her stick with me through this process. I get frustrated easily and expect perfection from myself far too often. Still, all is not lost.  I have learned a lot in the last few weeks and here are the five most important lessons.

1) Rewriting – a lot of rewriting – is part of the process not a punishment. Often, when I thought I was done, I was really  still at the starting line. I had to learn to be more patient and to embrace the fact that a book is not written overnight.

2) My  characters started living in my head. They travel with me everywhere. I see an outfit in a store and wonder how my character would look wearing it; I see a car and imagine her driving it.  That is kind of freaky, but it is definitely fun.

3) I found out that keeping track of a word count defeats creativity.

4) Sometimes I just had to walk away, rethink, and then re-imagine where I wanted my story to go. That downtime is just as important as the time I spend typing.

5) I learned that my mentor – and probably yours –  has  clear vision. They see things you don’t. As new writers we all need someone who can identify both our strengths and weakness.

Really, the most valuable lesson I learned is that I need to stop dreaming and really think about what kind of book I want to write. My mentor may be my friend (and in this case my sister-in-law) but she can’t and shouldn’t write my book for me.

My book isn’t finished, but it will be. The one thing I’ll never do is give up. One of these days I hope you’ll be looking inside a book called The Witches of New Moon Beach.

Thanks for the encouragement sent my way. Maybe one of these days, I’ll be mentoring a new writer of my own.

Happy writing,

Meriam Wilhelm.

 

 

 

The Magic of Mentoring: 3 weeks, 10 lessons

  • Iimages-2 hardly saw Meriam this last week, but it’s only because she’s been so busy. Here’s an update on her progress as an author and a report on my walk down memory lane. First, let’s look at what Meriam has accomplished:
  • 1) Revised dialogue making it less formal/creating distinctive voices.
  • 2) Completely revamped one main character and deleted another (the latter is being saved for another book).
  • 3) Rethought/reworked at least one full chapter in the book (many writers – including me – can’t bring themselves to delete or minimize large sections of their work. Kudos, Meriam.)
  • 4) Knocked chapter endings making them both compelling and strategic
  • 5) Policed herself on show/don’t tell

At 25,000 words and counting, this is a milestone draft for Meriam. A document that read like a character sketch of The Witches of New Moon Beach is now taking on the form and substance of a book. Continue Reading →

The Mentor Maze: 4 weeks, 2 authors, 1 book

images-2According to Costco Magazine, January is Mentoring Month.

I’m not sure it’s necessary to have an official month since most adults already mentor someone – parents to children, teachers to students, managers to staff – but this January that news meant something to me. I had just become a mentor to a newbie author.

This wasn’t my first time. Thirty years ago I mentored a woman  who had a wonderful story to tell. For three months I labored over her work giving it as much (if not more) attention as my own. One day she informed me that writing was too much work. I was bewildered. Of course writing is a lot of work. Continue Reading →