A mentor is someone who has experience in a particular field and can train others in that field. Just like a teacher or a sports coach, a writing mentor helps you polish your manuscript before you publish it.
I have a mentor and she has guided and encouraged my writing. She taught me step-by-step how to write fiction. Writers try to write stories, but oftentimes what's being conveyed is unclear. A mentor looks at your work with a critical eye.
There are many benefits of a mentor.
Inspiration: A mentor can give you ideas, especially when you can’t think of anything to write. This gives you the opportunity to explore another person’s perspective. The mentor can help with character development, plot, and even with the language you are writing in.
Feedback: You may start out as a novice writer making a lot of mistakes, but a mentor points out your errors and either refines your writing or gives you an alternative to work on.
Professional development: Mentors are writers themselves, so they are up to date on the latest developments in the publishing world. Thus, they can offer insights to authors that enable them to improve their work.
Discipline: When we work by ourselves, we are usually lazy and we procrastinate. A mentor gives us work to do and monitors our progress. This helps us to continue with the writing instead of abandoning it.
Encouragement: When we realise that being an author isn’t easy, we can get depressed. This is when the mentor pushes us to continue working. We always need someone to tell us “Don’t give up.”
Develop your style: Every author has a style that suits them. A mentor helps you develop your own unique writing style.
Now, the next question is “Where can I find a mentor?” There are many ways you can search for a writing mentor. I found my mentor on LinkedIn. Similarly, you can join groups on Facebook and Yahoo.
The groups are free to join and you can choose a mentor who suits you. Then you can arrange a one-to-one session which will allow the person to guide you.
Mentors are writers who have years of experience, but they are not free. Sadly, you may have a hard time securing a mentor if you are financially constrained. Many people think they can get some beta readers who read their manuscripts for free, and they’re done. Without the help of a professional, your readers won’t be impressed. For most writers, it takes years before their books are published. This shows not only how much effort they exert, but also how much refinement their books have to go through before they’re published.
This is why I think it is very important to have mentor, someone who guides us in the right direction toward our publishing goals.