Following on from Rebecca Swift's post earlier this year about professional mentoring services for self-published authors, writer and editor Janette Currie explains how she has helped pay it forward to new writers by volunteering to help with a free writers' mentoring service: The WoMentoring Project.
The WoMentoring Project was launched in April 2014 by Kerry Hudson, author of Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Maw. The project exists to offer free mentoring by professional literary women to up-and-coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities. As explained on its website:
Each mentor selects their own mentee, and it is at their discretion how little or much time they donate. The WoMentoring Project is a completely free initiative and every aspect of the project – from the project management to the website design to the PR support – is being volunteered by a collective of female literary professionals. Quite simply this is about exceptional women supporting exceptional women.
The WoMentoring Project is run on an entirely voluntary basis and all of our mentors are professional writers, editors or literary agents. Many of us received unofficial or official mentoring ourselves which helped us get ahead and the emphasis is on ‘paying forward’ some of the support we’ve been given.
In an industry where male writers are still reviewed and paid more than their female counterparts in the UK, we wanted to balance the playing field. Likewise, we want to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard, a greater opportunity of reaching their true potential.
My Role in WoMentoring
As a mentor on the WoMentoring Project, I’m working with two women writers, and I’m honoured and pleased to be working with these exceptional women writers over an extended period of mentoring and providing focused feedback on their writing.
Over six visits, face-to-face in Glasgow with one of the women who lives locally, and by email with the other writer who is based overseas, we are focusing on an agreed area of their writing.
With one of the writers, whose confidence in her writing ability has been dented by unconstructive feedback, we are concentrating on imagery and how to create fresh descriptions that come alive in her reader’s mind.
The other writer is working on creative non-fiction essays. In the last month, with mentoring, she’s submitted two shorter pieces to writing competitions where the focus was on polishing them for submission and meeting deadlines. At the same time, we’re working together to develop a longer piece of work, and here the focus is on the arrangement of ideas, tightening the sentence structure, and deepening the emotional impact of her writing.
Paying It Forward
I’m just one of over sixty professional women volunteering their services to The WoMentoring Project. My reason for signing up to the project is simple: my career has flourished with the encouragement and guidance from experienced publishing professionals, and this is my way of saying thank you – of passing on my experience to new and emerging woman writers who are otherwise unable to access professional editing services.
On the WoMentoring Project website, you'll find more details about the rationale and ethos behind it. I hope you’ll take a look and lend your support. If you're a professional woman editor or experienced writer willing to pass on some time to help an emerging talented writer, or are an exceptional woman writer without access to professional mentoring to guide your writing career, we’d love to hear from you!
OVER TO YOU
Do you have experience of any mentoring projects for writers, either as a mentor or a mentee, paid or free? If so, please feel free to share your story via the comments box.
“Profile of a free mentoring service for women writers by Janette Currie aka @BookRambler for @IndieAuthorALLi: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/womentoring”