There are Mentors Everywhere. Life has taught me this. Whenever I am desperate for help. Whenever I have no idea what to do next, a mentor appears in the nick of time to rescue me from my ignorance. Even if I don’t know exactly what I need. Even when I’m embarrassed to reveal how little I know, I find Mentors Everywhere, and when it is career direction I lack, they usually come from career organizations.
I met Nancy Herkness at an NJRW (New Jersey Romance Writers) conference. She was the workshop leader, and I was being led. For many years, I had done what Nancy was doing and been one of the Mentors Everywhere myself. Now I needed mentoring, specifically with how to market my writing work. My problem wasn’t too little advice. My problem was too much advice. Get with this social media platform. Grab onto that attention-seeking gimmick. Nancy cut through the mind-whirling noise.
“Do this,” she said. “Don’t bother with that.”
I the latter needed most. A list of time sucks and energy burners that yield too little for the dollars spent and the effort invested. A busy woman’s To Do’s and To Don’t’s I could trust, because I trusted her. My sigh of relief was so profound it echoed through that hotel conference room. Nancy was proof there are Mentors Everywhere, and they don’t always have to be me.
I met Jean Joachim at RWA-NYC (the New York City chapter of Romance Writers of America). She is a common-sensible, no-nonsense woman too, with a city girl edge to match. In other words, we speak the same language, which made her the perfect next addition to my personal Mentors Everywhere team. Her advice was also direct and definite. She generously shared what had worked for her as a publishing-marketing author, and what had not. Through many phone conversations, I wrote down everything Jean said. Then we celebrated over cocktails.
“Listen more than you talk,” she told me, and I heard her.
Mentors Everywhere, including the Upper Westside, maybe especially there.
I met Paula Scardamalia at IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild). A rainy-day version of their bi-annual Big Apple event, another venue where I’d been the teacher in years past. On this particular Saturday, I was damp and too sloppily dressed, visibly in need of being taught, when Paula reminded me by example that there are Mentors Everywhere. She used a tarot deck as the medium for her message, but beyond the cards her own right-on wisdom was unmistakable.
“Try a different direction,” she said.
As it happened, I had been trying too many directions. Writing a bit of memoir here. A few pages of literary fiction there. Paula’s words arrived, accompanied by a flash of recognition. I needed to settle on a single writing road. That flash was followed by another. I should return to the romantic suspense stories and series characters I love to create.
“And know that your work matters in the world,” Paula added.
The clouds of confusion parted. The very next day, I dove straight back into my Riverton Road Romantic Suspense series, and I’ve been swimming happily through the North Country ever since. Paula had proven, once again, that there are Mentors Everywhere.
I met Kayelle Allen at MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers), the online forum where writers ask questions and other writers answer. Kayelle is the founder and guiding light of this many-faceted organization. I’d been lurking there for quite some time, reading all of her messages, before I mustered the nerve to ask if I might guest post on her immensely popular blog, RLF (Romance Lives Forever), and she agreed. My first visit to her blogsite nearly stopped my heart. I’d blundered deep over my head into unfamiliar territory. Everything was perfectly organized in minute detail and RTF (Rich Text Format), and I didn’t even know what that was. I stumbled forward anyway. My heart hadn’t stopped, but it was solidly planted in my throat, along with huge clogs of self-doubt.
“We all had to start somewhere,” Kayelle told me in one of several helpful emails.
There it was again. Mentors Everywhere. They were on my laptop and my cellphone and anywhere else I was savvy enough to search them out and pay close attention to their sage advice. Four busy women, and many others also, took the time to share their experience. Now, my own experience is far more productive, satisfying and enjoyable than before they appeared.
Look around you. Check out the resources I’ve mentioned. Research and discover others. When you do, pay attention to what they teach you. Take notes. Follow through on their good advice. Because there are Mentors Everywhere. Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.
– R|R –
Rocket through the result of Alice’s mentoring. Take the thrill ride that is her latest story, A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5. Available HERE. You can find all of Alice’s books HERE.
What readers are saying about A Time of Fear & Loving. “Alice Orr is the queen of ramped-up stakes and page-turning suspense.”
“Warning. Don’t read before bed. You won’t want to sleep.”
“The tension in this novel was through the roof.”
“A budding romance that sizzles in the background until it ignites with passion.”
“I never want an Alice Orr book to end.”
“The best one yet, Alice!”