Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Mentored by a Community

This Week's Topic: Paying It Forward:
Did anyone give me sound advice? Did I have a mentor?
How do I pay it (mentorship) forward without getting buried by requests?

Once upon a time, in the days of snail-mailing hardcopies of queries and manuscripts, I had the good sense to join a writing guild that was both local, virtual, and national. I could attend a monthly in-person meeting and make social connections as well as learn from experts in writing and specific trades that heroes and heroines often occupied. The person in charge of our local special programs was brilliant and well-connected and we had an absolute blast. The virtual guild gave me access to free classes taught by agents and editors. It also kept us up-to-date with the latest scuttlebutt in our niche market.  Alas, the local guild was forced to disband by the national organization, the virtual guild crumbled to infighting, then the national guild imploded. 

I'll be forever grateful to the organization in its many aspects because it was one of the few that accepted total n00bs and taught us everything from story structure, to how to query, to what the hell a synopsis is (long and short), and it gave us access to the gatekeepers of publishing--who were 97% inaccessible to anyone outside NYC back then. 

So, to answer this week's question: Did I have a mentor? No, not as a specific individual. I had a community. It was through that community that I met the founder and original bloggers of this very blog. Back then, we were known as the Word Whores. 11 years later, we're still sharing our experiences with readers.

How do I pay it forward without getting buried by requests? I'm not connected to any particular community anymore, so requests aren't often made of me. I'm akin to a crow sitting in the branches watching the goings on. When a cry for help catches my attention--if I'm suited to fulfill the ask--then I offer. 

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