When you’re starting out as a writer, or have been plodding along for a while, it can be hard to write in a vacuum. Friends nod and ask how it’s coming along and are you really still working on it? You long for someone who knows, who’s been there already, to tell you where you’re going wrong. To share any nuggets of wisdom that they have gleaned from their own writing journey. Maybe just to champion you or give you a pep talk.
There’s a TON of information on writing and publishing out there, and a veritable explosion of masterclasses , MA’s, residential courses and seminars, and they all have their part to play, but many of them are prohibitively expensive for many people. Whether it’s actually true or not, the whole business can appear, to those on the outside looking in, to be a closed shop.
This is where the idea of the WoMentoring Project comes in – a brand new, entirely free mentoring system exclusively for women writers. It’s open to any genre, to women of all ages and from diverse backgrounds.
The initial idea was born out of a conversation on Twitter started by novelist Kerry Hudson (author of the award winning Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before He Stole my Ma and the upcoming Thirst). She was at once flooded with offers of help from published authors eager to offer their advice, alongside editors, literary agents, illustrators, non-fiction writers, both in the UK and the States. It’s underpinned by the ethos of paying it forward – helping others along the path as once others helped you. I love that.
The list the women who have volunteered is like a roll-call of the industry. Just to single out a few there are authors such as Shelley Harris (Jubilee) and Emylia Hall (The Book of Summers and A Heart Bent Out of Shape ) and editors such as Francesca Main, the Editorial Director of Picador, and Jo Unwin from the Jo Unwin Literary Agency who said,
I wanted to get involved with this project because I’d like to help authors feel that whoever they are, and wherever they come from, they have a right to be heard.
Prospective mentees are asked to submit a 1,000 word writing sample and 500 words on why they feel they would benefit from a mentor.
If you would like to know more and details of how to apply, visit their website The WoMentoring Project. Even if you don’t think you’re eligible, tell other women about it who may benefit. Pass it on.
Follow them on Twitter @WoMentoringP