Mentoring

 

Imagine having your own guide, who commits to working with you on whatever aspect of your writing you want to focus on. Mentoring offers you a unique partnership, which has the space to develop over a period of several months. What we focus on is entirely up to you – what would you find most useful? How can I help you to write?

Sophy has been my writing mentor for the past two years as I finished finally a novel I have been working on for years. Could not have done it without her. She seems to know just what to say, making one or two observations or suggestions at a time, each one being what I need to hear. Now we’re into revising and editing.

As much as any work I have ever done, I have enjoyed this writing and this collaboration. Sophy has been my shepherd.

Todd Evans

I will bring all of my experience of the books world to help you to navigate your way around the writing process and, if you wish, help you to understand how publishing works, whether to submit your work to an agent, and so on. I can coach you on how to make your story more compelling and also on how to pitch an agent or publisher, if that is what you decide to do. I have also mentored people who had no particular interest in being published, who just wanted to make their writing as good as it could be and to enjoy the process of writing with the help of an experienced editor.

I had the good fortune of being mentored by Sophy for one year as part of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers’ Award Scheme. I could not have had a better mentor.

During challenging times, it was Sophy’s understanding and belief that bolstered my own and kept me from flagging. Her warmth and approachability is matched by a deep knowledge of her subject, helping her get the best out of people. I feel very lucky to have had her guidance on my writing journey.

– Kenneth Stephen

How does it work?

Over a period of six, nine or twelve months, we will work closely together, initially jointly forming a plan for what can realistically be achieved during this period and then working on improving your writing as the months unfold.

Or, if you’re not ready for that kind of commitment yet, I also run a 3 Month Start to Write Mini Mentorship – see here for more information.

What will I get out of it?

Some of the benefits of the mentoring partnership are motivation, accountability, specific advice and detailed editorial feedback, but often most importantly, the feeling that an experienced insider from the books world is on your side, understands what you are trying to do and is supporting you to make it as good as it can be.

How long does it take?

If you think a mentorship might be for you, my mentorships run either for six months, nine months or one year. Within those time periods, it’s up to you how much time you put into work on your writing – though of course, the more you put in, the more you will benefit. Mentorships can be combined with full time work if needs be.

I’m thinking of doing a Masters in Creative Writing. What’s the difference between a mentorship and a university creative writing course?

There are lots of differences, and of course, for some people, a university course will be the right choice. However, mentorships are much more personalised and entirely tailored to your interests and needs. You will have much more control over your time, and crucially can combine a mentorship with work and family commitments if you wish. Also, you won’t need to write any assignments simply to satisfy academic requirements – all your time can be spent working on whatever your core project is (which for most people is writing their first book). There are no academic requirements to meet before starting a mentorship – I’m only interested in the quality of your writing. Finally, a mentorship is a one-to-one experience – you’re not one of many in a tutorial group, instead you’re the only person working with me, which means that I can give my full attention to your work and can spend as much time as you like on whatever issues concern you most.

 

If you think this sounds like it might be for you, contact me on sparkforwriters[at]outlook[dot]com, giving me a little bit of background information about yourself and your writing, and attaching a short sample of your work, and we can take it from there. I will devise a bespoke package of support for you and give you a full costing at that point.

I was delighted to be chosen by the Scottish Book Trust to receive mentoring from Sophy whilst writing my second novel. It was invaluable to have someone as insightful and supportive as Sophy to help keep me focused and writing.

Zoe Venditozzi