Thursday, June 01, 2006

Warning - obscure pun ahead: Mentor as Anything

For the past couple of years the Scottish Book Trust's words@work team have been running a mentoring project, in which scribes are various stages of their careers are paired with a personal mentor for nine months to help them achieve an individual writing goal. The scheme is not just for authors, nor is it merely for first-time writers. Among those who have been mentors in the past are top Scottish writers, editors, rights agents, dramatists, playwrights and screenwriters. Projects tackled have ranged from finishing an unfinishable novel to creating a new stage play to moving from book illustration into writing drawing illustrated stories.

Last month words@work opened the doors to applications for the third year of the scheme. All you had to do was send in a brief CV and a letter detailing:-
• the project, change of direction, or area of work with which you would like to work with a mentor
• other assistance you may have had so far (creative writing course, advice from writer in residence, writers’ workshops etc)
• what you hope to achieve at the end of the mentoring project
• your ideal mentor (fellow writer, editor etc)

Well, I'm never one to miss an opportunity if I think it could be useful - and this sounded invaluable. So I put together an application letter, brushed up my CV and fired it all off. I always assume I'll never get short-listed as a way of insulating myself from too much disappointment - a bit like buying travel insurance. It won't help that much when things go awry, but you'll have the comfort of having expected the worse and done something to prepare for it.

Happily, words@work invited me for an interview and I went into Edinburgh for that yesterday. Due to a miscommunciation I arrived at 2.30 for what was apparently a 2pm meeting, but they managed to squeeze me in between people who had gotten their timings right. I've no idea how the interview went or whether I've got a cat in hell's chance of being one of the six fortunate people selected for the project, but it was an interesting experience. With any luck I should know by this time next week.

Having finished my Warhammer synopsis and submitted that [after a year of procrastination brought on my endless, consecutive deadlines], I'm giving myself the day off - sort of. I've got an appointment with the accountant to talk tax bills at 4pm, followed by drinks to celebrate the end of Year One on my part-time MA Screenwriting course. Let alcohol be free-flowing and hangovers avoided...

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