Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What is #WoMentoring and why am I doing it?

On April 15th the WoMentoringProject was launched "to offer free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities." 

I'm glad to be part of it.

Why? About ten weeks ago, I saw a tweet by writer Kerry Hudson, (whose idea this is) asking for volunteers, and instinct led me to say yes immediately. Instinct is a powerful thing - I didn't really need to think about it. The concept - women helping other women - is something I've believed in quite strongly since I can remember.

Why do I use the phrase 'believed in'? I'm not sure I 'believe' in anything strongly... not in religious doctrines, or even absolute moralities (with some vital exceptions). Writing fiction for many years has taught me something about certainties; the more I write, the fewer I have.

But I digress.

Perhaps it's possible to believe in an ideal, when you've had sufficient proof that others share it. (See projects like EverdaySexism and VIDA if you need further proof of why this sorority is needed.)

So - I will offer some time and experience to other women who write (probably one at a time!) for a while, because it feels right to me. It's a thing I've already been doing, stealthily, here and there, and a gift I've received from some brilliant and generous women writers I've been lucky enough to encounter; women not always older than me, but further along their paths, and able to point out a few puddles and potholes and tripwires, and hold out a hand when I've got lost (I've got lost a lot), and brush dried twigs and mud off my face, and set me going again.

(There are male writers who've been handy with j-cloths and getting grit out of your shoe, too, and I gladly acknowledge their help.)

I have no idea who, if anyone, will ask for my help. If they do, I hope it will be because they have read some stuff I've written, and liked what I write about, or how I wrote it; but also from a sense of how I view the important things about human relationships and individual choices and how to fall down and get up - because that's what's I know, a little, and that's what's being offered. 

Here's the FAQ about WoMentoring - read carefully before applying - and good luck to all involved.

More writers, more stories...? 
Yes. Let all the flowers bloom.