Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Importance of Mentoring

Today I was thinking about how many aspiring novelists there are out there. I have gotten several reader letters lately from people who express interest in writing. When they ask my advice on how to get started, I easily recall days not so long ago when I was in the place of longing that they are. I hope and pray that my advice to them is as solid and sound as the advice I received.

I started writing while on bedrest with a pregnancy. That's also the season in my life when I stumbled upon the Steeple Hill message boards. I had seen the Web site advertized in one of the Steeple Hill books that I'd read. I was thrilled to find a community of other aspiring authors just like me. AND, when the authors I'd been reading for months or years started extending encouragment and mentoring moments with me, I knew THIS was the publisher I wanted to write for.

Many of those authors who aspired with me, and who I met online, then later at an American Christian Fiction Writers conference, become some of my closest friends. Camy Tang, Cynthia Hawkins, Danica Favorite-McDonald to name a few. Margaret Daley not only befriended and encouraged me, she mentored me for years...and she's still there when I need to brainstorm or when I have questions. Others who helped were my now-good friend Ginny Aiken, Marta Perry, Mae Nunn, Lenora Worth, Debra Clopton, Allie Pleiter, Janet Tronstad, Janet Spaeth (Barbour author), Lena Nelson Dooley (Heartsong and Summerside author) and others I'm SURE I'm forgetting.

These women live the faith you find in their stories.

Today's post is dedicated to thanking them. I hope to be able to help other aspirings' the way these ladies have helped me...often more than they know or realize. But I know that God knows and I've prayed He blesses their writing because of it.

I hope you have women mentoring you in your life and I hope you're mentoring others. Whether it's in your field of work, in your giftings and talents or spiritual mentoring.

I'd love to hear about mentors who've meant the most in your life. Please share!




Spooky Ol' Cheryl said...

Don't you love how God works??? I'm betting you thought being on bedrest was a challenge in your life, and the reasons you were on bedrest were scary. Turns out, I'm guessing God had it planned as the only way to slow you down so that you could be led to what He really had in store for your life. You honor His plan through your writing, and You lead others to Him in subtle but tangible ways. I admire you and all your fellow Christian writers for your ability and willingness to listen and be led. Bravo Steeple Hill authors! :) God bless all who mentor you and are mentored by you.

TheAtticGirl said...

I love Steeple Hill authors. My biggest mentor in my life was my grandma, who passed away right after I graduated high school. She always encouraged me to write and to go after my dreams. I write for fun and just got into blogging. I have always wanted to write a book, but haven't had the inspiration to actually do it yet. Maybe some day. lol

Project Journal said...

One of my biggest mentors was our Sunday School Adviser(I don't know her official title). She ran our sunday school at church. However, that wasn't all she did...She did everything! She was an incredibly remarkable woman. Later on in life, she was diagnosed with cancer. In hopes of defeating it, she had both of her legs amputated, which was extremely hard for her as you can imagine. In the end, she did pass to be with her Lord Jesus. It was sad for all of us that left behind, but we were ultimately happy for her.
Mrs. Stevens not only inspired me to become more active in the church and step up to be a leader at church(I work in the nursery now). She also encouraged me to bring leadership skills to the rest of my life. She was always there for me and for that I am truly grateful. Thank you, Mrs. Stevens.
In loving memory of Mrs. Evelyn Stevens,

Camy Tang said...

I remember when we took that picture! That was a fun breakfast with all of us.

Margaret has made huge impacts on my writing career, too! She's awesome!

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Aww! Cheryl, thank you. Your post touched my heart and encouraged me. Love you!!!!

Shelly, my grandmothers are very special to me, too. I'm very close to them.

Hannah, your comments and stories are always so heartfelt. What a blessing I'll bet you are to your friends and family.

Camy, I always love getting to see my online buddies face to face at conferences. Or when we futuristically invade alpaca farms in the name of research. LOL!

Hugs all!


Hope Chastain said...

Some of my favorite mentors...hmmm. Well, you know who would top the list. (No names, but her initials are Cheryl Wyatt. Pause so you can blush.) Your Story Starter challenges got me out of the rut of thinking I had to have everything completely worked out in my mind before starting a story. I've turned two of the challenges into books already, and hope to write some of the others in the future.

Then there's Margaret Daley, who brainstormed one of the books with me. It isn't her fault it didn't sell! Like you, I count her a friend as well as a mentor.

Diana Cosby (currently writing historicals, but who also loves & writes suspense) also has mentored me.

Just about all the published ladies of Steeple Hill (and some from the other lines) have encouraged me & bolstered my writing confidence. I'm so thankful the Lord guided my steps to the eharlequin community boards, especially the Steeple Hill boards, when I was looking for a home for my romantic suspense. That book didn't sell, either, but it taught me a lot. (You helped me learn how to trim the fat on that one! Eventually, I will rewrite that book from the ground up.)

Who else: my mom, her mom, favorite great-aunts & cousins, teachers... You have all inspired me, and I hope to mentor others someday!