Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Every Writer Is a Mentor (Or Can Be)

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From Jeff: This is a guest post by Becky Kopitzke. Becky is a writer and contributor to mentorsaurus.com. You can join her in making a difference through this community of words.

My writing mentor always whips me into shape. She slings her red pen like a training whistle and sends me sprinting. And I love it.

Sure, the critiquing exercises hurt, at first. But my work always grows stronger as a result.

Writing Mentor Photo

Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations (Creative Commons)

We all need someone like that, don’t we? Someone who believes in us. A mentor who recognizes our potential, helps us reach it, and pushes us beyond it.

Who looks up to you?

If you’re a writer, you’re a mentor. I’m serious.

Think about it. Many of us writers have blogs. We make a habit of cracking open our souls so other people can peek inside — and comment.

I do this. Maybe you do, too. Sometimes, I catch responses to my writing that push the air right out of my chest:

  • “This is exactly what I needed to hear today.”
  • “Your insight makes me want to be a better parent.”
  • “I am so glad somebody else understands.”

And that’s when I realize I’m more than a writer. I’m somebody’s coach. I’m a mentor. And I need to start acting like it.

Your story is bigger than you

As a freelance writer and work-from-home mom, it’s easy to focus inward on my laptop, my deadlines, and the peanut butter smudges on my chair.

But comments like those remind me I’m not writing just for myself.

An audience lives and breathes beyond my desk — people who clip coupons and pack lunches just like I do. And they reserve a few minutes of their precious nap hour to meet me online, because we “get” each other.

I write to encourage them.

Why do you write?

Do you write because you love the craft? To capture memories? Fuel a movement? Those are all valid reasons to write, but I think the universal answer is simpler than all that:

We write because we have something to say. (Click here to tweet that.)

Our stories and words help people, encourage them. Whether you realize it or not, writers carry tremendous influence influence. Time to start handling it wisely.

But how do we do that?

When we see ourselves as mentors, our ambitions take on a greater purpose.

Expanding our reach is no longer about numbers or platforms or even us. It’s about making a difference. Giving back. Shining a light on the path we travel so others won’t stumble along the way.

Mentors share their stories and experiences in order to help others, regardless of the topic: parenting (my favorite), relationships, careers, lifestyle, etc.

I believe in mentoring and the people that are a part of it. I’m learning my words have tremendous power — to inspire, encourage, and challenge. All through my writing.

I can’t think of a more meaningful and fulfilling way to add value to other people’s lives. Can you?

So… what’s your story?

You’ve got a story to share. I’m sure of it.

  • What are you good at?
  • What shaped you?
  • What drives you?
  • What would you do differently — if you could do it all again?

You have a tale to tell, and someone needs to hear it. The answers to those questions are the beginning to a whole new world in which your words are about much more than you.

How can you start using your words to mentor others? Share in the comments.

You can join Becky and other mentors on Mentorsaurus to learn more about how a whole community of people are living, learning, and sharing together. You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

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About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://www.nurturingcreativity.net/ Denise Urena

    I love this – “When we see ourselves as mentors, our ambitions take on a greater purpose.”  

    I just launched a second blog and it’s focus is on this very thing – mentors, peers, how we support each other’s success & development. The idea of hiring a coach has, understandably, become so popular, but what if more people just acted like coaches – “inspire, encourage, and challenge” their friends and peers?

    And I agree writing is one great way to do that.

    • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

      What if more people just acted like coaches – imagine! Great thoughts, Denise. Less competition and more support and encouragement.

  • Digginsmo

    One would think that Mentors are easy to find.  It’s more than just hanging a shingle outside your office saying “Mentor”.  I’ been on the search for a Mentor for oh, say, about a year or more now.  “Hey, mentor man, or woman, where are you hiding.  Surely not behind your shingle.

    • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

      Check out mentorsaurus. Your mentor might be waiting for you there!

  • Lisa R

    Thanks for this! I met some wonderful authors back in May who have been mentoring me, and I am doing my best to pay it forward. 

    http://writewhatyouknowdotorg.wordpress.com/

    • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

      Yes! Paying it forward, that’s my goal, too, Lisa. I’ve been blessed with excellent mentors, not just in writing but in parenting, marriage, etc. I like to think I’m carrying their wisdom into the future by mentoring others as well.

  • Jo Cstr1

    I think if you can write from the heart and really mean it, you will inspire others and your own questions will become their challenges which they may answer and thus in return, mentor you.

  • Halina

    Great idea here. Actually, I do offer a pro bono mentoring program for aspiring freelance writers on my website http://www.haelix.com The program offers advice on how freelance writers can stop earning peanuts at content mills and win bigger and better clients. I just started this program 2 months ago and have had around 10 writers use it so far.

  • Krbrid

    Yes, I believe in writing because we have something to say.  Having a blog for the past two years and getting wonderful comments, I have realized there really is a real, live, breathing audience out there on the other side of the screen and I take that seriously. 
    I’d like to think that you are one of my mentors, you have so much good advice on your blog! One of the things you said once is that we need to start calling ourselves ‘writers”.  I have upgraded to being able to call myself a blogger and even though I just finished a book of my own, I still stutter and stammer with that “other” title, but I’m working on it.
    My husband and I just finished your book.  It’s like you took the words right out of our hearts!  Could we be kindred spirits? :)
    If you ever come down the road to BG, KY, we’d love to show you around in our homeless coummunity and introduce you to our friends:)

    • Krbrid

      *community*. . .I really do know how to spell;)

  • Susan Ekins

    I mentor women into being leaders in their own lives. So many of us don’t take care of ourselves as much as we do others. We all face challenges, and it is best to accept them.  Please see the first post in my blog, Women Making Strides:
    http://www.womenmakingstrides.com/2012/06/07/women-making-strides

  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    I love this, Becky. Thanks!

  • http://www.OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com/ Elise Daly Parker

    I’ve been blogging at OurStoriesGodsGlory.blogspot.com for a few years. And you’re right. I hope my little stories make a difference in someone’s life. I hope they’re an encouragement for someone who is hurting or struggling or just having a bad day. I hope I help them to see God in the everydayness of life…and in some of the biggest moments. And because I believe everyone has something to say, I’ve just launched CirclesOfFaith.org, Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect. And where I, along with my co-founder, will be sharing articles, blogs, and spotlights/reviews from lots of writers (and even non-writers!). I have met so many awesome people in my life…and I want to help them share their story! Come on over…

  • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Awesome thoughts Becky.

    I have always believed that writers should write because they have a message to share. You are not necessarily a writer first – writing is just a channel of expression, a way by which you reach others.

    I am a mentor first. I recently wrote this piece for Godly Writers, http://www.godlywriters.com/christian-writers-weak-but-still-called/ – encouraging writers to stay true to the message they have. So often we get knocked around by what we don’t have, forgetting what we have – a message bigger than ourselves.

    Ps..mentorsaurus looks like a great community!

    • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

      You’re a mentor first – love it. I hope you’ll join us at mentorsaurus, Ngina!

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    “We write because we have something to say…and someone needs to hear it.”  Exactly.  I have seen this happen so often,  not only in writing but also leading and being involved in small groups.  Someone will courageously speak up and inevitably someone else in the group needed to hear the words they had to share.  It’s such a beautiful cycle.

    • http://www.beckykopitzke.blogspot.com/ Becky Kopitzke

      I agree, Eileen! I’ve seen this play out in small groups, too. Or in music, or other forms of communication. We’re all part of a bigger whole.

    • http://twitter.com/KatieKMercer1 Katie K. Mercer

      @186a2e0f1888d5a5107fe4cb9098862a:disqus I just started this program 2 months ago and have had around 10 writers use it so far. as Jòsepħ iṁplieḑ I aṁ aṁâzed ṫhât ańý bòḑý Çâń geṫ pâid $9021 iń fòúr ŵeêḱs òń ṫhê ińṫêrńêṫ. havê yòú rêaḑ ṫħis ŵêb sitê..NDOQESB.Tk

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    With everything I write and with my story, my goal is to give my readers hope that they can live the life of their dreams. I work towards this goal everyday, every word :) Great post Becky.

  • katina vaselopulos

    Great post Becky, Jeff! Thanks for acknowledging the way I feel.
    I started writing to heal my life and my body.  Soon my words were asking me to give them voice. That is when I decided to write and share my story, my ecperiences, my challenges and my triumphs; to inspire and challenge others, to teach them what I learned from life and great teachers who shaped my life.

    Jeff, although younger than my youngest child, you are my teacher as well. I am grateful you came to my life! You inspire me and push me to get out and empty my self to others.
    God bless you both!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.dowden.12 Jack Dowden

    We write because we have something to say. Brilliant in its simplicity. This recalls a post I read on Write to Done a few weeks ago, about how writing can change the world. A lot of people think that you can only change the world by creating something huge, something read and loved and triumphed by everyone. I think the reality is much simpler. Write something for one person, and they write and then those people write and it keeps going. You can change the world by inspiring one person.

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    A great perspective, Becky! I started writing because I just couldn’t not write any longer. When I view my writing as part of a bigger purpose, as reaching out and helping and encouraging others, as a mentor, however, it takes on such more meaning. 

    The first time I received a comment like you noted above-I needed to hear this-it brought tears to my eyes. When the comments start to build and create further conversations, that is a wonderful thing indeed! 

    I think one important point to keep in mind is to keep our feet on the ground and keep a humble perspective. If we don’t, I think our message will suffer for it.

  • http://garymorland.com/ Gary Morland

    “If what you say has value, it will last longer than you will.” – Vance Havner

    Now, that’s mentoring. Thanks for this.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Love it, Gary.

  • Kgowsell

    “…writers carry tremendous influence influence. Time to start handling it wisely.” This resonates with me as I consider taking my blog on a new course. Great post/advice. I am going to print it and hang it beside by desk as I work through Jeff”s Tribewriter course and work to improve my blog. Thank you. Kathi 

  • http://www.themommyhoodmemos.com/ Adriel Booker

    Love this Becky. So much wisdom here. When I first had the revelation that my writing was a form of mentoring, it really changed the way I approached it. I still sometimes “forget” that people really are listening, learning, and constantly evaluating what I put out there. I don’t want to just be another noisy voice. I want my words to matter, to improve someone’s life, to make a difference. We should all write as mentors, even if we aren’t “teaching” something outright. The other thing I’ve learned from mentoring (not in writing, but mentoring in life in general) is that when you purpose to be a mentor… you actually position yourself to grow as well. It’s a win win. Every time. 

  • http://www.ordinaryservant.com/ Pilar Arsenec

    I liked that “we write because we have something to say…” I write because I have all the stuff in my heart that wants to come out and connect with others who have a bunch of stuff on their hearts. I also want to make a difference in this world somehow. I don’t want it to be about me.

  • http://twitter.com/Sherrey_Meyer Sherrey Meyer

    I just experienced what Eileen Knowles described in her comment on Thursday evening.  I mentor moms of preschoolers, and we had a meeting of our table leaders and the mentor moms (my role).  Our year’s them centers around building community and our meeting facilitator asked that we share how our tables are doing so far and then share something either good or bad that we’d like to receive group support for.  The more that we shared the greater the discussion became.  The group sensed safety, a feeling that everyone had something going on that needed others, a story to tell as it were. 

    “We write [or share] because we have something to say . . .  and someone needs to hear it.”  I love these words!

  • Margie L.

    The goal from the get-go has been to make a difference.  The writing is a nice tool to use for that purpose.  I don’t have a lot of followers that I know of, but I write anyway, because the I know it’s making a difference for some. Hopefully, I’ll move to Wordpress before long, but for now I’m at: http://lifelifted.blogspot.com

  • Margie L.

    Thank you!

  • Sarahaira

    Thank you So much Jeff. You make me think about what I’m portraying in my story.

  • http://arielco.wordpress.com/ Ariel Constantinof

    That’s what i call a great post! :D

  • Amanda Wall14

    I guess as a 40something mom and a single parent to two teenage girls made me realize that I do have something to say to my single and married friends. Not as an expert but just sharing my experiences and hoping they will not do the same. My facebook posts are filled with that and even if they are not saying anything cos its too public..but their own status posts are like a shout for help… So I write things that inspires and lift up their spirits . So I can feel  that they are learning a lesson or two as well and that makes me happy. In a way, its like telling me I am like a mentor to them cos they are starting to change their ways for the better.

  • http://www.colorexpertsbd.com/ Ayisha Papiya

    It is definitely a great post. Thanks for sharing !!

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