I've been mulling over a concept (which may already be available) for a few days and wanted to see what readers thought... how about an "Adopt-a-Writer" program where seasoned writers (preferably those who are garlicky or spicy) help out novices?
I'm thinking about a 30-day mentoring relationship whereby newbies can ask questions, get advice, obtain realistic (but not constantly pessimistic) feedback, and generally receive support ("You can do it, Junior! Rejections are part of the business! Use 'em to paper your walls!")
Of course, I realize there are always problems with such coaching programs:
A. Mentors are nasty or consistently unavailable.
B. Mentees are demanding and unreasonable.
C. Mentors and mentees don't "mesh".
D. Everyone becomes disgruntled (instead of "gruntled".) The whole project fizzles into a cloud of dust and an angry mob (carrying torches) turns on the program's founder a la Frankenstein.
And then there are more conundrums:
1. Would "matchmakers" be needed or could mentors/mentees choose each other without assistance?
2. Would mentors pick mentees... or would it be the other way around?
3. Would someone have to oversee each relationship to make sure it was working for both parties?
Geesh. There are plenty of kinks to work out. And, quite frankly, I don't think I'm the one to organize such an undertaking. (Right now, I can barely match socks, fold them, and get them into the proper dresser drawers.) But I still think the program has value.
I know (as someone who is about mid-career in terms of freelance writing) that it's very satisfying to help others just breaking into my specific field. Consequently, I'm happy to give feedback on query letters or pay rates. Sure, I don't know it all. Who does? But what I do know, I freely share because I think it's important to help others achieve their aspirations.
It still seems to me that an Adopt-a-Writer program would be a low-key way for knowledgeable writers to help novice novelists, fiction/nonfiction authors, and/or poets in a one-on-one environment.
Blogs are awesome... so are writer development/advice sites and books... but there's just something magical about being able to turn to a specific someone for advice (with no strings attached.)
So... do I live in the real world? Is this type of mentoring program even possible? Or am I just a crazed author looking for a way to avoid writing this morning?