Are you female? Are you a writer? Do you feel you could benefit from the help of someone who’s successfully navigated the publishing industry already? Then do I have the thing for you! I am hugely proud to be part of The WoMentoring Project, which offers free mentoring by professional literary women to up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities. So proud I keep shouting out ‘lady writers’ like a teen intent on acting the cool class joker, when really they’re mega excited. LADY WRITERS! LADY WRITERS! (I was never any good at playing it cool).
My cringing enthusiasm aside, you should check out this amazing project. The full proper grown up details, courtesy of the talented Kerry Hudson who’s founded this organisation, are below:
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.
Like many 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 run on an entirely voluntary basis and all of our mentors are 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.
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 how they would benefit from free mentoring. All applications will be for a specific mentor and mentees can only apply for one mentor at a time. Selections will be at the mentor’s discretion.
Please see the website for further details on applications: http://www.womentoringproject.co.uk
With thanks to Sally Jane Thompson for the stunning illustrations.