Being an inspirational writing mentor isn’t easy. In fact, if you are not careful, you might end up discouraging a young writer instead of motivating him/her to practice the craft. Writing is a craft. It requires patience and a lot of practice, however, the writing craft requires learning. A popular saying is that writing can be taught, but it doesn’t say how it can be taught. A better expression is: writing can be learned – by anyone who has the desire to learn writing from the bottom of their souls. If you’ve decided to mentor another person, or persons, in the art and craft of writing, then we hope the tips we have provided below will help you be a better mentor, and thus, help your pupils learn more.
1. Individualistic approach
Nothing means more to an aspiring, young writer than an experienced writer, or a mentor, taking an interest in them. If you are working with a group, or teaching a creative writing class, then a smaller group would allow you to get to know every person. This will make your pupils feel seen, which in turn, will allow them the freedom to express themselves creatively in your lessons. However, even if you’re only mentoring one person, you should still take an interest in his/her life, especially the reason why the individual wants to become a writer.
2. Unlocking creativity
The individualistic approach will help you get to know your pupils. Getting to know your pupils is crucial in helping them unlock their creativity. Many young writers are blocked – and your job is to help them get over whatever it is that’s causing the block. Different reasons, different problems, need different solutions and different ways of getting over the block. Another part of unlocking a person’s creativity is to teach them to focus on what inspires them. Writing is a tough job, sure, but it should never be torture.
3. Making it personal
Share your pupils’ elation at having written a story, and be there for them if they feel like they haven’t made any progress. Make it personal for yourself and for them – you are in this process of learning together, and as such, go through the stages together. Never allow your pupils to feel alone, especially if they’ve come to you for mentoring because they feel they need help by another person. A grand part of the teaching process is teaching your pupils to have confidence in their writing, and by becoming personally involved in their progress, you will inspire them to seek progress continuously.
4. Learning by writing
Teach your pupils the most important writing lesson – you can learn by reading, by listening, but the best way you can learn how to write is by writing. When you read, you absorb the knowledge of how to write, almost unconsciously. When you listen to a writer giving a lesson about writing, you absorb knowledge. But the only way to use that knowledge is to write. Writing without thinking, following the instinct, that’s the moment when all the accumulated writing knowledge can flourish and give results. The learning process is accumulative – if you’ve progressed today, you will progress tomorrow. And this is something new writers need to know and remember.
5. Constructive criticism
When your pupils give you the fruit of their work, a short story, a novella, a novel, or even better, a writing exercise you’ve designed for them, they are looking for constructive criticism. Don’t give them false flattery to inspire them to write more – you would only be inspiring them to continue what they are doing, and not focus on getting better. Additionally, you shouldn’t be too strict and only point out the ways in which they have done wrong – you would be stifling the progress they’ve made until that moment. You must tell them where they’ve done well, and where they have made mistakes. That way, your pupils would know that they have something they need to improve, but they will also be confident in their success because they know that they have done well.
Image credit: Pixabay [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.