Attention Women Writers: Meet the #WoMentoring Project!

15 Apr

Today I’m honored to help introduce something very exciting, timely and worthwhile: The WoMentoring Project! 

The Wo-what now?

The WoMentoring Project exists to offer free mentoring by professional literary women to up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities.

The mission of The WoMentoring Project is simply to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support. The hope is that we’ll see new, talented and diverse female voices emerging as a result of time and guidance received from our mentors.

Each mentor selects their own mentee and it is at their discretion how little or much time they donate. We have no budget, it’s a completely free initiative and every aspect of the project – from the project management to the website design to the PR support – is being volunteered by a collective of female literary professionals. Quite simply this is about exceptional women supporting exceptional women. Welcome to The WoMentoring Project.

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But wo-why?

Like many great (and not so great) ideas The WoMentoring Project came about via a conversation on Twitter. While discussing the current lack of peer mentoring and the prohibitive expense for many of professional mentoring we asked our followers – largely writers, editors and agents – who would be willing to donate a few hours of their time to another woman just starting out. The response was overwhelming – within two hours we had over sixty volunteer mentors.

The WoMentoring Project is managed by novelist Kerry Hudson and all of our mentors are all professional writers, editors or literary agents. Many of us received unofficial or official mentoring ourselves which helped us get ahead and the emphasis is on ‘paying forward’ some of the support we’ve been given.

In an industry where male writers are still reviewed and paid more than their female counterparts in the UK, we wanted to balance the playing field. Likewise, we want to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard, a greater opportunity of reaching their true potential.

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Sign me up!

In an ideal world we would offer a mentor to every writer who needed and wanted one. Of course this isn’t possible so instead we’ve tried to ensure the application process is accessible while also ensuring that out mentors have enough information with which to make their selection.

Applicant mentees will submit a 1000 word writing sample and a 500 word statement about why they would benefit from free mentoring. All applications will be in application to a specific mentor and mentees can only apply for one mentor at a time.

Why our mentors are getting involved

I have only achieved the success I have with the help of others, and now I am keen to pass on that help. I particularly want to reach out to those who don’t have the privileges of wealth, status or existing contacts, but who have so much to gain and to give.

–Marie Phillips, author Gods Behaving Badly

I’m so pleased to be involved in the WoMentoring Project, and I can’t wait to meet my mentee. I know from my own authors how isolating an experience writing can often be, especially when you’re just starting out, and so I really wanted to be involved. I hope that knowing that there is someone on your side in those early days will give writers courage and confidence in their work.

–Alison Hennessy, Senior Editor at Harvill Secker

I wanted to get involved with this project because I’d like to help authors feel that whoever they are, and wherever they come from, they have a right to be heard.

–Jo Unwin of the Jo Unwin Literary Agency

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Why female writers feel they need this opportunity

The idea of women sharing their skills and experience in a dynamic, nurturing way is a really important one given the lower profile given to female writers. Even though the mentoring is one to one a collective voice and resilience is still being built up – I think it’s a great idea that, for writers like me, will help get rid of some of the layers of doubt and creative loneliness that come with being a beginner.

–Clare Archibald

I’m on my third novel; I’ve had good notices from Faber, HoZ etc. but still not quite there. What I need is that final push. I especially need guidance on pacing, keeping the action pulsing along. I feel a mentor could be hugely beneficial in this process.

–Suzy Norman

So there you have it.

Want to know more? Visit www.womentoringproject.co.uk and follow @WoMentoringP on Twitter, or search for the hashtag #WoMentoring.

12 Responses to “Attention Women Writers: Meet the #WoMentoring Project!”

  1. Harliqueen April 15, 2014 at 12:03 #

    What a great idea!

  2. @hell4heather April 15, 2014 at 14:06 #

    Hats off to the wonderful Kerry Hudson for this absolute stormer of an idea. Good luck to everyone involved :)

  3. Karin April 15, 2014 at 14:41 #

    So exciting! :)

  4. Author Unpublished April 15, 2014 at 15:04 #

    Reblogged this on Author Unpublished and commented:
    A mentoring program for women writers has begun over at Catherine, Caffeinated – be sure to check it out!

  5. VictoriaGiggles April 15, 2014 at 15:10 #

    That’s a great idea! I completely understand the need for it. Good luck to everyone taking part!

  6. Dan Perry April 15, 2014 at 16:51 #

    This sounds like a great idea. I could also use some mentoring — there’s so much to learn with self-publishing, it’s a bit overwhelming. Does anyone know of a similar program that includes men?

  7. klparry April 15, 2014 at 18:25 #

    Catherine, wonderful idea! Will this program be open to women world wide or exclusive to the UK? Inquiring minds would like to know ;)

  8. Widdershins April 15, 2014 at 21:13 #

    What a splendiferous idea … will now go forth and check out the website. :D

  9. Marie Moneysmith April 20, 2014 at 18:59 #

    Brilliant idea!

  10. Jess McClary April 26, 2014 at 23:41 #

    Reblogged this on Writing = Passion and commented:
    What a neat idea. When I get the chance I’m going to pursue this and I think others should to. Now – all they have to do is the same for men!!!

  11. jpchoquette May 8, 2014 at 22:13 #

    This sounds so great–thanks for sharing, Catherine!

  12. hoogen May 13, 2014 at 18:01 #

    Good idea, but something similar for men would also be good.

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