Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

The Art of the Mentor

rt-2008-reduThere’s a reason why the mentor, the wise old guide or teacher, ranks high on every list of archetypal characters. After all, every kick butt hero occasionally needs a helping hand along the way with his or her journey.  King Arthur had Merlin, Harry Potter had Dumbledore, Buffy had Giles, and so it goes.


I was reminded of the importance of the mentor role this past weekend while having tea with a former student from my novel writing course.  She’s working on her first draft of a fantasy.  Mostly I listened.  Every now and then I made a suggestion or mentioned a problem with my own books and how I handled it.  She was delighted to have someone to talk to who really understood the process and her struggles.  I was delighted to know I’d made a small difference in her life.


When I began to seriously pursue writing, I was fortunate to be mentored by two published authors who took an interest in me and encouraged my early attempts.  One of them became a dear friend.  Her continued faith in me kept me going many times when I was about to give up my dream.  I owe much of my writing successes to her.  Sadly, she is gone now, but I think of her every time I begin a new novel writing class.


As much as I love writing, teaching and mentoring the new writers I’ve met through my course has been immensely full filling.  I get a thrill every time I sign one of my books.  I get an equal thrill each time one of my former students contacts me with news about their writing progress.  I’ve led many of them to local writing groups.  One of them belongs to my critique group.  I feel blessed.


You can too.  Other than holding your book in your hands, there is no greater reward than being someone’s Gandalf, Obi Wan or Glinda.  Try it.  I promise you won’t regret it.  Oh, and think how many times your name might turn up on the acknowledgements page.  As a promotional tool, that could be almost as good as twitter.


April 8, 2009 - Posted by | Writer's Life


  1. Great post, Kathy–and how true.
    Thanks for being a mentor to me.

    Comment by pattie | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great blog, Kathy! Mentors can be a wonderful thing for a writer.

    Comment by Amber Skyze | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. You are so right! Encouraging and supporting someone as they reach for their dreams is a gift for both people.

    Comment by Tessie Bradford | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  4. Kathy, This is a wonderful post. I have goose-bumps thinking of your mentor because she also was a mentor to me. I miss her. I only hope I can help someone and encourge them as she did and as you are doing now. Thank you. AJ

    Comment by Autumn Jordon | April 9, 2009 | Reply

  5. Nice Kath, and insightfull. I count myself among those you have mentored.

    Comment by Bart P | April 10, 2009 | Reply

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