I’ve always been a big fan of mentoring the young writer. When I was a seventh grade teacher, my Mom and I facilitated an after-school young author’s club. Once a week, I set the chairs in a circle and Mom arrived with writing ideas and snacks. We spent two hours, writing and talking about writing. In the spring, I took the young writers to the Skagit Valley Young Author’s Conference. It was at this conference, listening to local children’s authors, that I began to clue into the fact I wanted to be a writer much more than I wanted to be a full-time classroom teacher. (Although I never regret having my classroom teaching experience and holding a teaching certification as those skills and credentials have proven to be invaluable to my life as a writer).
Now that I am a published writer, I often receive emails from local high school and college students who are looking to meet with a local writer and find out more about the career of writing. Usually, it’s a one-time meeting where I bring some of my published articles, acceptance letters, contracts, and books and we talk about what it takes to be a writer–discipline to do the work, as well as flexibility and the ability to adapt to change is the most common thing I say in the interview!
Youth WRITE matches young writers (ages 5-17) with adult writing mentors. You can find out more about how to be a writing mentor here.
I am currently mentoring a young lady, age 8. We have been emailing about character and where to find ideas. She sends me a bit of her writing (a poem or a small story) about once a week, and I make comments and suggestions. I also send her things to do like character questions, or a listing of places which publish young people.
Here is a guest post from a writing mentee in the program, Brooke, talking about why she applied to have a writing mentor.
If you are looking for a fun and easy way to connect with young writers, I’d recommend the Youth WRITE Now program!