Conversations: 1/6/2017

WRITER SEEKS MENTOR

January and the New Year nudge many of us to look into the future and consider what we might accomplish during the next twelve months. Quite often this season of new loungingpossibilities fills me with memories of the English/writing teachers in my life—the men and women who were passionate about grammar, sentence structure and the specific definitions of words. Many of my friends talk about the professors who became their tour guides into the worlds of American and English Literature, Shakespeare and Renaissance writings and the dramatic works of stage plays and poetry. For me, personally, I continued my education through writers’ conferences and local creative writing workshops. Without exception, each of the instructors fed me the knowledge they’d learned—and experienced—giving me the opportunity to absorb as much as I would or could at the time. I will forever be thankful for these counselors, advisors and mentors in my life.

Have you been a protégé of an English teacher, Journalism professor or local Creative Writing instructor?  Have you advanced your skills and abilities under their tutoring? Are you now ready to be a Mentor? Here are few thoughts to consider in this New Year—as you find yourself in position to encourage the youngest and oldest writers in your neighborhoods.

  • Be prepared with lists of resources. Take an inventory of your own writing resources. Include books and articles you’ve found most helpful and also include several of your favorite books—in several genres—that demonstrate the best of writing expertise.
  • Learn about your own personality type and the corresponding communication skills that allow you to connect with someone who asks for your advice.
  • Create a list of questions that you can select from which will help you understand what the person—and their writing project—need from you.
  • Be willing to decline a request for help. It is quite possible that you are a link to help that person connect with the writer/person who will be their best advisor.

There are several authors I know who are offering creative support to writers. Two of my “go to” mentors are Francine Rivers (Christian Fiction) and Joanne Penn (Thrillers). Their websites and blogs offer excellent advice developed from years of experience and award-winning writing. They are excellent resources for those who are a bit shy about meeting face-to-face. However, should you wish to locate a writer in your location, you can contact the National Writing Organizations in your genre and ask for recommendations. Another source is your local Universities and Community Colleges. Their professors may be a good fit, or they will know of author/mentors in your area.

It is an exciting time when one writer seeks mentoring by another. I never imagined that I would someday be in both positions—simultaneously. Experience has and is teaching me, that every writer—as we grow in our craft—become counselor, advisor and partner/assistant to other writers. What we learn from helping other writers, both through them and their specific projects, enhances our own skills in ways we may not realize for years. These are continuing paths of education that cannot be measured or given a monetary value.

As we begin this year of 2017, I hope we’ll all enjoy the blessings of being mentored and mentoring at least one other person. And may we never be shy about seeking the mentoring we need. It is through these experiences we become lifetime-learners! ⚓︎


Royalene

ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 4/11/14

OH MY GOSH! My hands are so full! The two-year-old just pulled the pile of clean laundry onto the floor where the dog threw up! My phone is vibrating in my pocket and the computer is dinging with incoming messages. The crockpot has run dry and the stew is burning. My coffee is cold and the snow outside is at least eight inches deep. Is it really vital that I shovel a path to the mailbox? Today?

I don’t suppose any other writer has experienced this conundrum. Right? Well, I’m guessing that most of us have at least a passing memory of such days—unless, of course, you might be an Ernest Hemingway who sat back and came up with quotes like, “Never confuse movement with action.” He may have been suggesting that it takes a lot of sitting and thinking to produce literature, yet I do wonder how he ever got those books written.

Time and time again I see the truth of another concept as stated in this quote from Lucille Ball (actress/comedian): “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” THAT is how I see my author friends in the midst of their creative process—BUSY with life and living! So, when someone throws a red flag in my direction and tells me that finishing their book is “just impossible,” they will see my hand raised in stop-sign motion. Don’t EVER think in that direction! There are just too many support avenues to help a writer over the speed bumps. SO…if you’re feeling weighed down with the “can’t make its” here are a few tips.

  • Pick up a BOOK! If you have a true favorite book (mine is the ROBE by Lloyd C. Douglas), pull it off the shelf and start reading! Not only will this alert everyone around you that you’re entering “quiet-time,” the story will take you to marvelous places.
  • IF your “hands” are really too full, talk to your family and ask for help. You are a very important person in their lives and I believe (and I’m rarely wrong-ha!) that they will step up and DO some of those chores—taking you out of the pressure cooker. That is better than any “bubble bath moment” you’ve ever experienced!
  • Call a writing friend. Don’t talk about the problems you might be facing! Talk about their book project. Not only will their efforts re-energize you, they will probably ask about your characters (or plot or setting) and you’ll find yourself making notes to use the minute you’re off the phone.
  • If you’ve reached the point of selecting a publisher, talk to your support team. Their inspired ideas for the production of your book will motivate you, too.

Finally, the best resource you’ll ever find is TOMORROW. There is only so much any human being can fit into one day. So get a good night’s sleep and remember that the giant trees of tomorrow (your books) are planted by the seeds of today.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 3/28/14

MENTOR! MENTOR!

From the first cave carvings, to the invention of paper, the printing press, computers, blogs, tweets and twitters, people have been simply driven to communicate. However, what we communicate and how well we do so can be “a horse of a different color” altogether. When the desire is there and ink is flying, sometimes clarity (or focus) is lost. That is why I applaud all writers who read as passionately as they write and who seek the mentorship of authors they admire. If you read my blog last week you know of my mentor and friend Lois Beebe Hayna, who has definitely made a big difference in my life! (Google her name and you’ll be inspired.)

One of the genres I love to read (and write when time allows) is Science Fiction. Two of the big names in that field are Isaac Asimov (biochemistry professor and science fiction author) and Gene Roddenberry (screenwriter and creator of the Star Trek phenomenon). I have read—and watched—the creations of both these gentleman, appreciating their differences while thankfully enjoying their individual expertise. Then I discovered that they had become fast friends and actually considered each other “mentors,” as science inspired imagination and imagination pushed science. However, that didn’t happen immediately. Mr. Azimov wrote a challenging letter to “show” where Mr. Roddenberry was wrong in the scientific portrayal of scenes in Star Trek. It was Mr. Roddenberry’s passionate defense of his TV series that caused Azimov to re-think his position. Eventually Azimov agreed that Roddenberry’s writing was “intellectually stimulating,” and through their close friendship, he served as an advisor on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yes, writers who seem to be at an impasse can (and do) mentor each other.

So, how do you find the best writing mentor? Here are a few tips:

  • Look for an author of your preferred genre, one whose books you sincerely appreciate.
  • Research that person, website, Facebook, Twitter, publisher, etc, and decide which avenue they have opened for “contact.” It is important to be respectful of that; it is also valuable to discover whether or not they’ve mentored other writers.
  • Write to them. You are a writer seeking writing help and the way you construct your request will speak beyond the words on the page. Be brief, be polite (not overly solicitous), and be ready to thank them for any reply even if it is “No.” This can be an email message; however, I highly recommend mailing a letter.
  • Mentors can also be found through genre-specific conferences and writing groups, such as Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, Science Fiction Writers of America and the Colorado (or Philadelphia) Christian Writers Conference.

One exceptional group of people who can and DO mentor fledgling authors are the self-publishing teams who are totally focused on helping authors see their books in print. If you are too shy to contact a “famous” author, research the self-publishing industry and select one or two businesses to contact. You will be quickly impressed by the benefits!

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.