The Black Writers Collective's mentoring program offers members multiple ways to connect with experienced mentors and supporters.
Mentoring focuses on advising and guiding mentees on various aspects of career, focus, discipline, and goals, or discussing things that are holding them back from writing or finding a niche (freelance writers) or genre. It’s more geared toward advice and greater focus on self-development. Our program works two ways. First, let’s define what mentoring is and how it differs from coaching.
Mentoring is designed to help the mentee to achieve his or her goals. Mentees must have a clear goal or problem upfront so that the mentor can effectively design mentoring to meet the mentee’s needs. Mentors do not have to be creative writers; they merely need experience in an area that gives them authority to lend guidance and advice on how to navigate a particular journey.
Mentors play an important role in shaping the publishing industry by supporting mentees. Mentors are usually self-motivated to offer their support in a field that is meaningful to them, but they can also gain mentoring experience by sharing their professional expertise and experience with newcomers or people transitioning into the publishing and writing industry.
You may benefit from mentoring if:
- You’re a beginner looking for answers to basic questions.
- You need help balancing your writing, personal, and professional lives.
- You want to learn how to overcome struggles you are facing that your mentor also faced and overcame.
- You’re facing a specific challenge in your freelancing business or writing, and you need help to overcome it.
- You’re tired of starting and stopping your progress as a writer every time you hit a dry spell; you’d like a mentor to help you set clear goals and then hold you accountable to meeting them.
- You could really use someone you trust in your corner to help you deal with rejections and setbacks.
While mentoring is a part of coaching, coaching is more project-oriented and focuses on specific tasks, such as finishing a manuscript, the editing phase, pitching agents, finding a publisher, the self-publishing process, etc. If you are seeking a mentor but what you want falls under coaching, note that these are not included in mentoring and you will need to seek and work with a coach instead.
How to know you are seeking a coach and not a mentor:
- You’re currently writing a book and need help with developing any aspect of your work.
- You need a reader to show you when something in your writing isn’t working, point out plot holes, and tell you when to go another direction.
- You want help to develop your voice and improve your writing skills by having someone review and critique your work.
- You’ve finished the first draft of your manuscript and would like a professional analysis and guidance to prepare your final draft.
- You’re finishing your book and want coaching through pitching agents or publishers.
- You’re new to freelance writing or editing and have no idea where to start.
- You’re unsure how to upsell your current services or improve your techniques to score more lucrative contracts and bigger clients.
Fees for each range widely, but mentoring tends to be a lower-cost investment. Micro-mentoring is free.
BWC offers various types of mentoring and coaching. Our directory (under development) lists mentors and coaches available for paid one-on-one mentoring and coaching to offer writers the level of private support you seek. If you cannot afford a mentor or coach at this time, we also offer other options through our organization which are included in membership. These include:
- Online writing group (general)
- Online critique groups (genre specific)
- Online writing support groups (general)
Self-guided accountability partners
- Writing courses
- Micro mentoring (Q&A style)
- One-on-one mentor exchange (two program mentors mentor each other)
It’s up to you to find the best mentoring relationship for your goals, writing style, and budget.