I recently completed the online “ My Writing Mentor” program offered by award-winning Canadian author, Barbara Kyle. I spent 3 months under her tutelage along with 9 other writers who were hungry to improve their skills and grow as writers. We were a mixed group of writers varying in genres from fantasy, to mystery, to memoir, to children’s books and, of course, historical fiction. We were all in different stages of life as well and different stages of writing. We were a cornucopia of talent and backgrounds but we became good friends as we took this journey together.
We met every two weeks for our live online session with Barbara where we listen to her teaching, asked our questions, and pressed for tips and tricks of the trade. I have pages and pages of notes from these sessions that I refer to as I am preparing to write or edit my own work. One thing I found during these times was I had to lay aside my fear and leap with gusto into the fray. I asked the questions I wanted to know about, I put my work out for my peers to carve up with their suggestions and views, I withheld nothing as this was my chance to figure out what I need to know and what I had to know. Vulnerability is a scary thing, but in this case, with a group of strangers is was a great thing. I can only grow as much as I am willing to put myself under the stress of critique. I can keep my thoughts and my creation to myself and wonder why I have not reached the ultimate goal of being published. Or…or I can lay down my sweet babies and let Barbara and my peers identify where my baby is weak. I chose to lay down my baby so I can pick her up again, stronger and more beautiful then I ever imagine she could be.
This is one of the greatest things I learned. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I learned SO much in those months about writing, characterization, plot development, editing and the business that I could fill pages and pages for you. But in each of these sessions I had to be open and vulnerable in order to obtain the invaluable council I received so lavishly from this group.
If you are writing, and you are alone in this or your writing group isn’t working for you at this time, consider taking Barbara Kyle’s “My Writing Mentor” Program. It may be just what you are looking for to move forward.
Until next time. Be Vulnerable.