Today I’d like to welcome Jen Greyson, author of the totally spectacular Lightning Rider. This one absolutely pulled me in and swept me away–or maybe I should say stormed in and took me under? Read my review and you’ll see just what I mean.
A huge thank you to Marlene here at Reading Reality for letting me visit (can I get a huge round of applause for librarians everywhere?)
With my first book coming out, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what got me here, and the points that stand out have all dealt with my mentors along the way, so I wanted to talk about the . . .
Importance of Mentors by Jen Greyson
I’m an eclectic. In every aspect of my life. My resume looks like those paintings where the artist throws random splashes of color on a canvas–the end result is passionate and beautiful, but it’s messy in the creating. I used to say my erratic work history made me a journeyman. Once I started writing, I realized it was fodder for my stories.
Because I have such a huge network filled with people from nearly every profession thanks to all those jobs, I’ve also been able to rely on the sea of humanity to give me mentors.
When I think of a mentor, I picture someone who has succeeded, who didn’t quit, who’s gone the extra mile to be exceptional. But when it comes to writing, my mentors aren’t all mega-accomplished writers. They’re also accountants and financial advisors and fiberglassers.
See, mentoring has to encompass every area of my life. I can’t be a writer without learning how to socialize and listen, respect deadlines and be tenacious, devote myself to my work and turn out the best possible product. Having a mentor in each of those areas gives me someone to admire and emulate, but they’ve come from every walk of life. A very blue-collar worker I know is a genius at listening and making a person feel like he’s hanging on their every word. An interaction with him makes me feel very special. I want my readers to feel that way when I meet them, so I watch the nuances of his interactions as he mentors me.
Writing is a solitary profession. I go in a room, talk to my imaginary friends for several hundred hours, and give those ramblings to other people and ask them what they think. It’s all very bizarre, if I really think about it. My daily interactions with people are pretty brief and superficial. (Not because I want them to be, but cashiers tend to want you to move along quickly and don’t care that it’s been 4 days since you’ve had an adult conversation. 🙂 Since they’re brief, I need them to be impactful and memorable, and not in a bad way. If I can make someone feel special (even in our 2 minute interaction), that’s an awesome day. But I have to work at it because socializing and listening doesn’t come naturally, I’ve had to learn and practice and improve.
Having great mentors means being a great disciple. I have to be someone they want to continue to teach. If I argue their points, or act like a jerk, I don’t imagine the mentoring would last long.
In my new book, Lightning Rider, the main character, Evy, gets bombarded by people who want to mentor her and she must choose wisely. The wrong mentor is often worse than no mentor. While the stakes in most cases aren’t ever saving-the-world-or-die-trying like they are in Evy’s, they are impactful and deserve the right mentor.
I’d love to know, do you have a mentor in your life? Is there one from the past that sticks out? Are you a mentor to others? What’s the most impactful thing you’ve learned from a mentor—or mentored to someone else?
Thanks again to Marlene and all her readers.
Jen is kindly giving away one ebook copy of Lightning Rider. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below: