Eight Benefits of Working with a Writing Mentor

You’ve reached the end of what you hope is a fairly decent first draft. You’ve read it back to yourself. You think it’s okay, but you know it could be better - especially as you want to see your words in print. Sound familiar? Maybe your next step isn’t to jump straight ahead to proofreading and publishing, but to consider working with a writing mentor.

What is a writing mentor?

A writing mentor is usually an experienced writer who is available to work with, and support, another writer who may be at an earlier stage of their writing career, or who might be an experienced professional. Some writers work with a mentor when they reach a creative block, or when they want to take a different direction, or when they have a challenging project that needs a fresh perspective. Others might feel they’re not making the headway they need, or they’re getting bogged down in the early chapters and find it hard to make progress. A writing mentor is a critical friend who can support you and give experienced advice to help you get back on track.

How does a mentor differ from a book coach?

Writing mentors and book coaches are similar but come from subtly different backgrounds.

A writing mentor is usually an experienced writer who understands the creative path you’re on and its emotional challenges. They can help you to find your own pathway and to complete your own journey to a finished work. A mentor appreciates that your direction of travel may wander and they’re there to hold your hand and lead you gently back on track. Your relationship may be more informal, last a longer period of time than with a coach, and you may even become friends that stay in touch.

A book coach is usually an expert in a specific genre and is more likely to have been a professional developmental editor rather than a writer. They will probably work in a structured way, taking you through a programme designed to get you from where you are now to a finished book that’s ready for publication. They may have a set timetable for the coaching sessions and will almost certainly allocate homework. The period of the relationship is usually defined at the outset, with a clear goal (or goals).

What are the benefits of working with a writing mentor?

  1. They’re a fresh pair of eyes for your work and bring a point of view that you might not have previously considered.
  2. Their experience can help you refine and improve your writing.
  3. They help bring accountability. If you’ve committed to regular sessions together, then you know you have to do the work in between times.
  4. You’ll get honest feedback.
  5. Time will be devoted entirely to you and your writing.
  6. There will be discussions about the best way to approach and solve a writing problem.
  7. They can help you weigh up the pros and cons of taking a certain decision.
  8. You gain confidence in your work and clear vision of the next steps.

What have other writers found helpful about the process?

"The most useful aspect of having a mentor for me personally was that it helped put some form of sensible chronological order to my story. This was most beneficial to me as my ideas tend to come from my brain onto the paper in a kind of tsunami of chaotic, disorganised writing that really does need straightening out, and putting it into a logical order. My mentor helped me to make calm out of the chaos."

"It was wonderful for me to have someone reassuring me, helping me to produce the best possible version of the story I was trying to share. When one has confidence in some areas of life but not in others it is good to have someone to offer support and advice."

"The result I achieved by working with a mentor was a manuscript fit to present back to the publisher that was now well ordered and free from clutter, repetition, and exclamation marks(!)"

"My mentor helped me learn so much more about myself emotionally. For example, she reminded me that a great deal of my rambling writing happened when I was discussing emotive topics of difficult relationships or people. She helped me to let go of more emotional baggage than I had previously managed. She diplomatically drew my attention to the tangents I went off on, and helped me to see that while they might be cathartic to me personally, they were not really required for telling my story."

Can SilverWood put me in touch with a mentor who is a good fit?

We’d love to. It’s important to us that our authors don’t rush to self-publish before their work is ready, so we enjoy giving honest, constructive feedback and making introductions to mentors and book coaches who can help.

The first step is for us to take a look at your manuscript and see where you are in your writing journey. If we think you’re ready to move ahead with publication, then we’ll prepare a publishing plan and estimate, and help you to get started. However, if your writing has potential but there’s still a little way to go before it’s ready to commit to publication, then we’ll explain why. Then, if you feel a writing mentor or coach is the right step for you, we’ll introduce you to one of our trusted and reputable professionals. We usually suggest you start with a no-obligation chat or video call to get to know each other a little. The mentor can outline their fee structure and the type of work they’re likely to explore with you, and give you time to decide if you’d like to commit.

Ready to take the first step?

Check our Quick Start Guide here. Then drop us a line and let us know what you’re working on and how we can help. Or simply book a Discovery Call with one of SilverWood’s knowledgeable publishing assistants here.

SilverWood Book Writing Club

Our writing club holds a monthly writing masterclass from a guest expert, online, with a Q&A discussion to follow. There is also a private Facebook group for conversation and support, and a weekly motivation and discussion video call. We’d love to see you there. Find out more: https://bit.ly/SWB-Club

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“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins