Literary Mentorships


20 January 2011

I love this feature from Boldtype about literary mentorships.  I wish it was more common practice, what with the proliferation of writing programs, for experienced writers to take younger writers under their wing in a significant way.  Certainly it happens, but not as frequently as one might hope.

There is “teaching,” and a lot of that happens; mentoring is something different.  How does one live and sustain one’s life as a writer?  Mentoring is necessarily long-term and blurs the professional and the personal, recognizing that, for a writer, they are really one.  I suppose I’ve answered my own question about why mentoring doesn’t happen that often; it’s a serious commitment, a deep relationship – something that must happen organically, not systematically. Not unlike falling in love.


One Response to “Literary Mentorships”

  1. Tracy Says:


    I still bemoan the lack of a true mentor (intellectual, professional, personal, etc.) in my life because I can look back (not too far, even) and see points where I really could have benefited from one. (But I am thankful that I at least fell in love with someone who is there for me always.) Though it is hard, I try to mentor the more junior people who are around me, with whom I have good chemistry. I feel some compulsion to do so. It’s like when I find a good bargain or deal on something — I want to share that info with my fellow shoppers.


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