When Louise met Louise
The email to say I had been successful in my application to the WoMentoring Project triggered an impromtu happy dance around the lounge.
‘I have a mentor!’ I joyfully told my son who was huddled on the edge of the sofa, mentally calculating his escape route.
‘What does a mentor do?’ he asked.
I stopped dancing. ‘Umm, I’m not sure, but I think it involves a sprinkling of fairy dust and then I will have written a book.’
‘Yeah. Good luck with that, Mum.’ He bolted for the door.
Euphoria was replaced by hot panic. What had I done? I had only decided to write fiction 2 weeks before. I had no education, no experience, and couldn’t distinguish a noun from an adjective.
I met my mentor, Louise Walters, clutching my ideas and passion tightly, half expecting her to point a finger and say ‘how dare you try and impersonate a writer?’ I was slightly disappointed she was neither wearing a pink sparkly dress nor brandishing a magic wand, but her oodles of knowledge, enthusiasm and desire to help more than made up for that. We had much in common and spent the day talking, sometimes even about writing.
Her first critique of my opening few chapters was sensitively honest. Well written but disjointed and not flowing together, and why had I written so much about a cat? I had a lot to learn.
I had been thrilled to have written 10,000 words, the most I had ever attempted before was a 200 word flash fiction piece, but eager to gain as much as I could from my experience I deleted most of my first draft, and I didn’t cry that much.
I sent my second draft off with a dollop of self doubt. I wanted Louise to like it but, more importantly, to see that I had taken on board everything she had said. I am so grateful she has selflessly given her time to this project I wanted her to see how seriously I had taken it. I had made all the changes she suggested. Well almost all. The cat still lingered.
Louise’s feedback was really positive, apart from the cat.
I have now come to the end of my three months mentoring and miraculously have written 20,000 words (none of which now contain a cat).
So what does a mentor do?
Mine gave me confidence which I had never had much of before and made me believe that maybe, just maybe I can write a book, (perhaps she did have a wand hidden away after all). For that I will be eternally grateful.