Writer Mentoring – A New Chapter

Timing is everything when you’re launching a new venture, and my latest undertaking is no exception. I’ve become an online writing mentor. :)

As an experienced writer, professional blogger, and former journalism professor, one of my long-cherished goals has been to mentor other writers. It’s something I’ve done informally for years, and every now and then I get a thank you from someone I’ve helped.

Several years ago, I’d just about decided to launch a formal writer mentoring program when the recession hit. Obviously, that wasn’t a great time for a launch, so I put it on hold.

Deciding on My 2018 Goal

But when I was thinking about what I wanted to achieve this year, I realized, after some soul searching with someone near and dear to me, that I still felt this could be useful to other writers, and immensely satisfying to me, if it worked out.

That same person advised me to go ahead and start, taking advantage of that New Year vibe. So I did, going with the motto “done is better than perfect”. While I have to say that my perfectionist’s heart rebels at that idea, the truth is that if I’d waited for everything to be in place, I wouldn’t have got started – or at least, not for a while.

Launching “The Biz of Writing”

The funny thing is, once I’d made the decision, everything fell into place. I sent a message to my email subscribers asking for volunteers to help me test the program, and I got double the number I’d expected.

So I went ahead and started the group in January. I decided to use Facebook, just because it had all the features I needed, and there was virtually no learning curve.

So far, it’s going well. The group is mixed, including people who’ve always wanted to write, people who are writing but want to change direction, and people who need some help with marketing to move their writing business to the next level.

The thing is, I’ve been in all those situations (though it’s a long, long time since I was new to writer), and I can empathize. More to the point, I’ve gathered some knowledge along the way that can help these writers avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.

The Biz of Writing – What’s Inside

So, what’s inside the writer mentoring program? At the moment, it consists of four modules:

  1. Getting your website together
  2. Blogging
  3. Marketing
  4. Leveling up

Each week there’s a task to complete, and I share resources I think will be helpful. I’m also around to answer questions as needed and to look over web pages and articles.

For the stuff I create, I’m keeping track of the main content and resources in a single document, so I can go back and refine it before the second run-through.

Writer Mentoring Group – Setting Goals

So why start a writer mentoring group now? As a business owner, it’s essential to plan for the future. I think this could be the start of a new direction for my business. I’ll talk more about that near the end of this post.

For now, I’m enjoying helping others discover the talents they already have and share those with the world.

My goals for the program are:

  • First, to complete it – getting it done will feel like an achievement
  • Second, to have writers progress in their careers

Initial Lessons

So far, I’ve learned a lot. For example, though I started with 6 people, I think 12’s a better number. That way there’s still interaction even when a couple of people are quiet.

I’ve also realized that if the group ends up much bigger, or if I add more to the mix, I might need some help with moderating the group, just to make sure everyone gets the answers they need quickly. That will probably call for the help of another experienced writer.

Planning for the Next Writer Mentoring Group

What’s next? Once the program is finished, I’ll get feedback, and improve the content if needed for the next run through later this year. I’ll also have to create marketing material.

Eventually, I may run a couple of courses a year, and perhaps a membership program for additional mentoring for graduates of this program.

And I’ll definitely be updating some of the ebooks I have, and creating new ones, to serve as resources for the program.

Running the group has also reminded me how much I enjoy sharing knowledge and learning from others. In the long run, this could be a way to maintain interest in writing, while taking a step back from day to day deadlines. Watch this space!

Want to find out when the next Biz of Writing programme is running? Get on my email list to be the first to know!