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Writing and Publishing

Seven Tips to Find a Mentor

A friend recently asked how to find a writing mentor.

Yeah, I’d like one, too!

One of my graduate classes was on mentoring, albeit focused on Millennials and spirituality. The principles I learned, however, apply to any type of mentoring, for almost any age.

The reality is those good mentors are hard to find. The best-qualified ones don’t usually have time to mentor, whereas the people with time often have less to offer. Expertise and availability usually exist in inverse proportion.

Instead of just waiting for someone to offer to mentor you, here are seven ideas:

1. Look at Existing Relationships

If you have a connection with an author you respect, ask if he or she is willing to consider being your mentor. But don’t make this person feel obligated; provide the space for him or her to say “no.”

2. Form New Relationships

Network with other writers and see what develops. However, don’t approach this with an agenda; if you do, you will fail. Instead, seek to help others, give to others, encourage others, and support others. You may catch the attention of a potential mentor who will approach you. And even if that doesn’t happen you will learn, grow, and feel good about yourself in the process.

3. Be Patient and Pray

Yes, I said to pray that someone will offer to mentor you. I could have said “wait and hope,” but prayer is so much more effective and maybe your best option.

4. Consider Peer Mentoring

You can seek a peer mentoring relationship, where two writers help each other. There is strength in traveling the writing path with a friend. If one of you falls down, the other can pick you up.

5. Offer to be a Mentor

Often when we give to others, what we receive back is more valuable.

6. Use Books

Books allow mentoring at a distance, be it over space or time. Of course, the information is one-way and more general, but this may be the only way to receive guidance from a famous author.

7. Respect the Process

If you find a mentor, honor his or her commitment to you: prepare for each meeting, take diligent notes, follow through on every suggestion, be easy to work with, and seek tangible ways to give back. Also, always arrive early and never cancel.

If you don’t have a mentor, what are your thoughts on finding one?

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Does Grammar Trip Up Your Writing?

Grammar is my weakness. It seems I switched schools at the wrong time and missed foundational instruction. I never did catch up, struggling with it to this day. As such, Grammarly, the online grammar checker, has intrigued me.

Finally, I made time to check it out. According to the site, “Grammarly is an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach. Correct up to ten times more mistakes than popular word processors.”

The process is simple: copy and paste text into their text box (or upload a file) and click “smart review.” Grammarly goes to work on your text, checking more issues than I knew existed. Even though my work passed the grammar checker in my word processor, Grammarly found many more potential errors.

I pasted last week’s 190-word post into Grammarly, which showed me eleven possible errors. Ten related to contractions and personal pronouns, which I deem acceptable for bloging. The eleventh item was a misplaced comma. Comma placement, by the way, haunts me.

A longer 3,000-word short story contained 117 “issues” in the following categories:

  • Pronoun agreement
  • Use of adjectives and adverbs
  • Comparing two or more things
  • Faulty parallelism
  • Confusing modifiers
  • Verb form use
  • Conditional sentences
  • Punctuation within a sentence
  • Sentence structure
  • Wordiness
  • Passive voice use
  • Spelling
  • Commonly confused words
  • Writing style
  • Vocabulary use

That was on the “general” setting; the “casual” option presented a less confounding list of forty-six issues. It does take a while to wade through each item, and, frankly, some of the explanations are beyond my understanding, while others are more basic, being easy to comprehend and fix.

After playing around with it, I know Grammarly will definitely improve my writing. But will I take the time to actually use it?

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

Tribe Writers: Online Writing Course

Last year I took an online writing course from Jeff Goins. It’s called Tribe Writers. It was the most significant thing I did all year to grow as a writer.

I enjoyed it so much, I took the class again to make sure I didn’t miss a thing. Then I took it a third time.

Now Jeff is ready to start another class. Signup begins today, November 6. If you want to grow as a writer, I encourage you to check it out. You’ll improve your writing, learn how to build your platform, make new friends in the writing community, and more.

The class has four modules: 1) Honing Your Voice, 2) Establishing a Platform, 3) Expanding Your Reach, and 4) Getting Published.

Each module has several lessons, many short writing assignments, a slew of recorded interviews and teachings, and unlimited networking opportunities with other students. The class is designed to last eight weeks, but you can work on it at your own pace.

I hope you’ll check out Tribe Writers—I’m glad I did.

[This is an affiliate link. I only recommend what I use, and I’m sold on this course.]

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Writing and Publishing

What Are You Doing in November?

November is National Novel Writing Month, “NaNoWriMo” for short.

NaNoWriMo encourages writers to crank out the first draft of a novel in the month of November, a mere 30 days. This starts in less than two weeks.

(Don’t complain about not having enough advance warning, because I mentioned this eleven and a half months ago. That’s almost a year to prepare.)

Actually, the advance warning was for me. Even though I’m not a novelist, I hoped to take part this year; I planned to; I wanted to. But more pressing things will prevent me from the experience. Maybe next year.

However, all is not lost. I can still take part, albeit on a lesser scale. Check out part of an email message I received this week:

“In November 2013, Grammarly will throw its hat into the ring [for NaNoWriMo] – but with a twist. We plan to organize the largest group of authors to ever collaborate on a novel; we’re calling the project #GrammoWriMo, and we’ve published a blog entry here to provide additional information on participation.”

I told them I’m in. Perhaps I’ll have an opportunity to collaborate on a novel. Maybe I’ll take part in NaNoWriMo after all. Well sort of.

Care to join me?

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Online Writing Course: Finding Your Audience

Over the past few months, I’ve taken a writing course from my new online friend Jeff Goins. It’s the most significant thing I’ve done this year (perhaps ever) to grow as a writer. And with as many things I’ve done, that’s saying a lot.

I was part of the inaugural class and now Jeff is ready to start a second one. I encourage you to consider it. There are four modules, each with several lessons, many short assignments, a slew of recorded interviews and teachings, and unlimited opportunities to network with the class on-line.

It’s called Tribe Writers and there’s a special rate if you sign up by Monday, December 17. If you missed the deadline, submit your name and email and you will receive notice of when the next class starts.

If this sounds like a sales pitch, I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m that excited about this online course..

Because of this class, I have a new self-published e-book coming out in a few weeks, A Faith Manifesto (the book is now called How Big is Your Tent? A Call for Christian Unity, Tolerance, and Love). I have Jeff to thank for it.

[This is an affiliate link. I only recommend what I use, and I’m sold on this course.]

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.