This past year I have had the honor to serve as a Picture Book writing mentor for our local SCBWI chapter. The program was simple, team up a more experienced writer with a newer author to help them improve their skills. To say I was nervous would be an understatement. What did I have to offer a new writer? I was still learning myself. But I jumped in and decided to give it a try.
After deciding how many people we wanted to work with (I decided on four), the real work began. I was given a stack of over 20 manuscripts in different degrees of readiness to review. It was during this process that I gained a true appreciation for editors. I’ve heard it said before that an editor can tell if they like a manuscript from the first few lines. At the time I was incredulous. How could they know so quickly? What if the mansuscript got better after the first page? I realized that after reading only a few manuscripts that you can truly tell by the first few lines if you are going to like the manuscript. But, out of respect to the authors, I read each manuscript carefully (several times) just to make sure that I didn’t miss a thing.
Once I selected my mentees, we began our scheduled meetings. I must say that I truly enjoyed channelling my inner yoda and watching their manuscripts change and grow.
No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.
–YODA, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
This past Saturday I had my final mentee meeting. My job as a mentor is done. I have enjoyed the time I spent with four very lovely ladies, and I consider them more than mentees, I consider them friends. And a funny thing happened as I went through the process, I found my writing improving as well. In my efforts to find new information to pass on to my mentees, I was learning right along with them.
Thanks ladies, it’s been a fun year. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.
Writing on the Sidewalk