Shout-Out To My First Writing Mentor


Hello, Don’tRead Faithful!
Today I want to mention a special relationship we’ve probably all experienced at least once–the writing mentor relationship.

My first writing mentor was Dr. Vanessa Jackson, a professor of English at TAMUCC, my alma mater. I was about 20 and had finally figured out I was a writer. I had just finished my first novel and a handful of short stories and didn’t know what to do next. I had never taken a class with Dr. Jackson and pretty much just showed up during her office hours asking for advice.

Without ever having had me in class before, she read almost everything I’d ever written (even the hen-scratch handwritten stories) over the course of a year or so, met with me regularly despite me not being in a class, and gave me some of the best and most useful feedback I’ve ever gotten. I wasn’t always ready to hear it at the time, but she was right about pretty much everything, and I still recall her lessons while writing my new stuff. Needless to say, I ended up taking her class, which was a great critique group (on which I modeled much of the rules of my critique group manifesto).

Educators are a special type of person who are able to give of themselves and seek only the reward of their students’ success. But I know some of us students still wish we could do more to show appreciation for our teachers, our mentors.

Dr. Jackson has a new book out–The Revolving Year–about a woman in contemporary England coping with family cancer among others of life’s troubles. I think this genre is called ‘Women’s Fiction.’ I’ve read the sample and Dr. Jackson knows how to write a hook. Her prose is also quite pretty and she’s really good at creating the setting.
If this sounds like something you’d like, go download the sample and check it out!

The Revolving Year

So send a thank you note to your mentor today.
And leave me some comments!

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