There are a number of people I look up to.
Yeah, I know. Since I’m a whopping five feet two inches tall, I look up to lots of people.
My hubby has a whole foot on me. At our wedding, I stepped on a footstool lovingly crafted by my father-in-law and a dear friend of his when the pastor told Gwynly he could kiss his bride.
Obviously, though, I’m talking about experienced and trusted authors I admire who have taught me a great deal. And there are many.
Has anyone officially offered to be my mentor? Nope! But that doesn’t stop me from thinking of some talented writers as my experienced and trusted advisers.
One of my unofficial mentors . . .
I could share the names of numerous authors who have filled the role of mentor, unbeknownst to them, but since you have more important things to do with your day than read another of my novellas disguised as a blog post, I’ll limit myself to one: Deeanne Gist.
I’ve been a fan of Dee’s work since her debut novel, A Bride Most Begrudging, which I read back in 2005. As I savored her story and marveled at her writing skill, a lifelong dream I’d relegated to Someday Status reemerged.
In January of the following year, I began writing my first novel-length romance. Well, saga-length is more like it. That baby filled two 1-1/2 inch binders. While I aspired to use words as well as Dee, my prose at that point was pathetic.
Two and a half years into my writing journey, I was privileged to meet Dee in person when I attended RWA® Nationals in San Francisco the summer of 2008. I hightailed it to her table at the Literacy Autographing, and she spent a good twenty minutes talking with me and imparting words of wisdom.
Dee told me that after receiving a few rejections, she knew she didn’t like it and vowed to learn to write well. Having an aversion to rejections myself and knowing my writing wasn’t up to publishable standards, I took her advice to heart.
I spent a year studying craft and the better part of two more revising one of the stories I’d written during my first two years before I knew what I was doing. The result was a story my awesome agent sent out on submission last month.
At RWA Nationals in Orlando this past July, I volunteered to moderate Dee’s workshop, “Not in Front of the Servants: the Low-Down on Life Below Stairs.” We talked at the Autographing, where she gave me some more pointers, and she stopped by to offer me encouragement after the Awards Ceremony as well. Dee Gist knows me by name, and I think that’s pretty awesome!
I treasure my times with Dee and value the information she’s imparted. She’s one of many who have showered me with blessings.
And now it’s my turn . . .
This past summer, I learned that my sister is writing romance, which is way cool. She recently moved to a city about an hour away, and we’ve met halfway a couple of times for marathon lunches. We talked writing so long last time, we had to change restaurants. :-)
My sister writes in a different sub-genre, but I’m delighted to be serving as her mentor and count it an honor. She’s working to complete her first story, and I look forward to helping her as she embarks on her journey.
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I wanna know . . .
Do you have official (or unofficial) mentors?
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your mentors?
If you could choose any writer(s) you want to mentor you, who would you pick?
Are you currently serving as a mentor? If so, how did the relationship come about?
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This is Frabjous Friday, a day to have some fun and celebrate our successes. If you have good news, I invite you to share it in a comment so I can join in your happy dance. ~ Keli