So, I fancy myself a bit of a mentor. *snort* Okay, so I blow a lot of smoke out of my cake-hole and pretend it’s important manna from writing heaven.
It’s called fake confidence. I have loads of it. If you know me, you’re already well aware of this.
But for whatever reason, people listen to me. I’m an animated talker and I tell a good story. Sometimes, I even get it right.
My self-important spouting never reflects malice on my part. On the contrary. I sincerely want to help people succeed, even if success is never to be my lot in life.
My brain soaks up the variety of minutia I’ve learned from workshops, books and conferences and I enjoy wringing it out on any hapless person who asks me a writing question.
My father used to say he “knew a little bit about a lot of things, but was master of none.” No doubt, he was spouting off an oft-used quote he’d picked up somewhere, and now I follow in his footsteps of collecting mind-data to wow and impress unsuspecting victims.
It’s my thing. It’s my Pied Piper trademark. It’s how I’ve collected an amazing group of friends – my Brainstormers – to join me at my beloved B&N Starbucks. My fast talk and bravado convinced them to commit to weekly sessions. We talk shop, crack the whip and write, and discuss each other’s stories and how to make them stronger. I love it. I look forward to it. I twitch on the occasions I can’t make it.
Often, one of my Brainstormers will thank me for starting the group and for keeping it going. Because sometimes, like me, it’s the only time they’ve specifically set aside for writing. They’re glad for the opportunity to give themselves permission to check routine at the door and indulge in their dream. Typically, I shrug off their thanks with a smile and a nod, because here’s the thing: I know a little secret.
It’s not me that keeps it going.
The ones who keep showing up. Week after week. After week. For the past 2+ years. Every Wednesday 6-8pm. The ones who finish their books. The ones who go on to sell their books – 2 members sold so far!
Whether I’m there or not.
I may have nudged the rock at the top of the hill to get this group started, but the ones who continue to show up every week? They’re the ones who keep it rolling.
I’ve learned that mentorship isn’t about lording your knowledge over your followers. It’s about lighting the fire to ignite them. It’s about leading the way and encouraging people to show up, to pass you up, and to continue to move up. With or without you.
Earlier, I said that success might never be my lot in life. I lied. My mentorship has given me success.
My Brainstormers are my success story.
This is what they have taught me. This is how my fake confidence has become real.
Are you a mentor? Or are you the one who shows up?
Either way is a path to success, my friend.
I’m one of those who shows up – when Dan’s schedule permits. I’m also one who considers you a mentor. I don’t feel quite to where I would consider myself a mentor yet, but I hope to be one eventually to young writers just starting out.
Also, it may not be you who keeps us going, but it’s not just us either. It’s all of us together. And seriously, you should have seen the murder in my eyes when Dan said he’d be teaching Wednesday nights for another semester. And the relief I felt when that fell through, even though we could really use the money.
We are a team, that’s for sure. I’m so grateful this group keeps growing strong. I hope one day we all reach our individual goals.
You are a blessing Betsy. And you have an awesome whip to get us writing.
And you are MY blessing, Barb – my amazing and patient CP! I’m so glad to have you!
Great post, and quite inspirational to know there are people like you out there giving such mentorship and, most likely, friendship to others.
Thanks Harliqueen – I have made the most wonderful friends in this group. I hope you have success in creating one, too!