For the last three months I have been under the gentle wing of a mentor. As a hawk on the hunt, I have been learning to focus. My initial instincts were to flee in fear of my first meeting, to hide under the table in the coffee shop and pretend I wasn’t there. Having had my work scrutinised by a knowledgeable editor and finding myself waist-high in a rewrite of grand proportions, I was uncertain how helpful the mentoring would be. I was following the editor’s instructions and juggling with new ideas bred from that process. I found my bravery and embraced the experience.
Our monthly meetings in a local, quiet coffee shop were an hour well spent in deep discourse. Having had an editor’s eye, critique from my writing group and feedback from Beta readers, I doubted whether there would be much said that was new. However the personal and constructive criticism was fresh, inspiring and exciting me. My attention was drawn in to individuals and their roles, not merely within the scenes we covered but within the novel as a whole. My writer’s sight was sharpened and I saw aspects I had not previously seen.
Within the three months I have removed an entire plot arc and a minor character, which were cluttering up the storyline and confusing the reader; another minor character has been given more importance and the first page is having a facelift. I feel great fulfilment knowing we have met the goals we set out at the beginning. I am more aware of my own mistakes and therefore able to correct my writing to avoid them in future. I have a better understanding of the standard of my own work and my capabilities as a writer. I no longer fear the removal of beloved pieces of prose, if I know they will do nothing to move my story or my characters along.
I had lost my way, my confidence waning and the ideas running dry. Being able to share my work, one-to-one with a trusted writing companion was the discipline I needed. When I most needed it, structure and focus came to my aid. As we all know, we writers are a peculiar breed; each of us unique and demanding of ourselves in different ways. My grandmother always said, “A change is as good as a rest.” My 3 months’ rest has refuelled my mind and my heart. I am free to hunt again, my prose my prey.