Thank All Of Your Writing Mentors.

14 Mar

After yesterday’s blog post Does Music Help Your Writing generated so much feedback, I thought I’d stick with the topic of writing for today’s post as well. However, I don’t want to focus on just writing, but mainly how certain people have impacted your writing…and the different ways that they have helped you broaden your writing experience. I’ll start with some of the writing mentors I’ve had over the years.

  1. My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Trish: Though I enjoyed writing before I took Mrs. Trish’s English class, the belief in my ability grew when I entered her classroom. Not only did she encourage me to keep on writing, she helped me realize that I could use writing as an outlet, as a way to escape when reality became too painful. She was also the first person (other than my parents) who told me that I had “a gift.” Hearing that from someone other than my parents was a huge turning point. I remember when I let Mrs. Trish read the first article that I ever got published (Writing To Survive). She cried, telling me how proud she was of me and how she knew that one day I’d truly impact the world with my writing. I didn’t remember some of the great advice she gave me until reflecting on what I gained from her in terms of my writing, but I know that she was the one who first really supported me (besides my parents) in my love of writing. To this day, we still keep up, but not as much as I’d like since college keeps me busy.
  2. A previous co-worker, Mike: In my junior year at Salem, I interned at the Columbia Star (and wrote the article “Writing To Survive,” mentioned above). One of my co-workers there, Mike, had a huge impact on me and my writing. I interned at The Star for three weeks, and while I was there, Mike was constantly picking at me. Not in a mean way, but in a way that solidified our mentor-mentee relationship. When my internship was over, Mike wrote me a letter (that is still one of the most honest portrayals of what it means to be a writer I’ve ever read) and gave me Stephen King’s book, On Writing (which has been extremely helpful through the process of writing my book). I met Mike back in 2009, and I’m happy to say that we keep up a regular email correspondence, which I’m grateful for. He is one of those writers who I know will give me completely honest feedback on my writing. He knows what I’ve been through, and so he also knows that I can take the criticism, especially since he also points out that the criticisms he gives me come from his heart since he wants to see me grow as a writer and a person.
  3. My AP English teacher, Dr. Cahill: Between my internship with The Star and the start of my freshman year at Wofford College, I took a hiatus from writing. However, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have people supporting my writing. Dr. Cahill is one of the teachers that I’ll never forget. She loves what she teaches, and she makes that known to her students. Though I didn’t do much personal writing during my senior year (since I had so many other responsibilities like college applications and being the editor-in-chief of my school paper), I still had support. For every literary analysis that I wrote in AP English, I went to see Dr. Cahill in order to get her feedback before turning in my final draft. Though she knew that I was an anxious student, she always made a point to try to lift me up. I remember one day when I was in her office she said: “Amelia, you’ve got to believe in yourself a little more. You’re a great writer. Can’t you see that?” It was in that moment that I realized how hard I was being on myself as a writer. To this day, I’m still hard on myself in terms of my writing, and I think it’s something that all artists face when trying to express themselves. However, having Dr. Cahill point it out to me was an important realization in terms of growing as a writer.
  4. My Freshman English teacher, Dr. Cox: Beginning in August of 2010 (my freshman year at Wofford College), Dr. Cox had a huge impact on me. She’s a writer herself, and one of the truest writing professors that I’ve known. I remember one specific assignment we were given during the fall semester of 2010. The assignment was to write a short story in which we held a specific belief and then over time our position/opinion changed regarding this particular belief. I put a personal spin on my story. I wrote about how as a kid I thought that I only had friends because I thought they pitied me. This opinion changed when, in seventh grade, I befriended my first true friend, Lauren. She showed me what it meant to be a true friend, and she helped me realize that I shouldn’t automatically jump to the assumption of pity when it comes to friends. Anyway, Dr. Cox helped me so much with this story. After a short conversation with her after class, I realized that she knew me better than I knew myself. I remember the end of that conversation because Dr. Cox said: “Amelia, writing isn’t true unless it costs you something,” and I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget that. In my case, this meant showing my vulnerability to Dr. Cox as well as my English class, and I was scared. However, I got positive reactions from my classmates, and on future writing assignments I noticed that my classmates were sharing stories that were more personal for them. One day, I came out of class smiling because after having numerous classmates share personal stories, Dr. Cox pulled me aside and said: “It’s because of you, Amelia. You broke down the wall of fear that people had built around their personal experiences and made it known that it was okay to share them.” That is something that will always stick with me because it’s a reminder that my words have the power to impact others around me.

I have no idea where I’d be without these 4 people. Well, yes, I do. My writing wouldn’t be as developed as it is at this point. I wouldn’t have grown so much over the last few years. Thankfully, I still correspond with all 4 of my writing mentors, and every day I am happy to have their support and love. As writers, we all need guidance, whether we care to admit it or not. As it turns out, the people who guide us may be some of the most influential people in our lives, because they’ve taught us not only what it means to express ourselves, but how to look within ourselves to find our true inner voice. I know from experience that it can take a while to find your inner voice, but once you’re able to find it, a strong and life-long connection to creativity, and ultimately, to ourselves and those around us, emerges.


12 Responses to “Thank All Of Your Writing Mentors.”

  1. Dana Staves March 14, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    A wonderful post! It’s good to put that grateful energy out into the world. I wrote a post about an influential teacher of mine back in August, and I was really happy to encounter her in memory:

    • ameliaclaire92 March 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      I’ll definitely have to check yours out! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. Lisa W. Rosenberg March 14, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Such a nice tribute, Amelia. It is so important to look back at those who have influenced and supported us. I am inspired by my husband’s love of the written word (though he does not consider himself a writer) and my friend and neighbor who helps me to keep believing in the dream.

    • ameliaclaire92 March 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      It’s always great to keep in mind those that have the power to keep our creative juices flowing. 🙂

  3. melissacuevas March 14, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Unfortunately, the person who raised me saying “You want to be an author? Absolutely!” is not here to hear my thanks, I can only hope she knows I’m still chasing the dream. My husband and best friend, however, are endless sources of hope, support and inspiration. The handful of fans who will read anything that semiiramiis writes, even though it’s not fan fiction, come lastly but not leastly (yeah, I can make up words with the best of them!) in the thanks for supporting my dream speech.

    • melissacuevas March 14, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      Off topic. When I realized I was going to be using my blogsite to support my writing, I changed the blog name from semiiramiis to my real name, and transfered the blog over. Now I notice when I click on my own name link here, I get that my blog (semiiramiis) has been deleted by user. :/ Any clues how to fix this?

      • ameliaclaire92 March 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

        No, I’m sorry. I don’t know how to fix it. 😦

    • ameliaclaire92 March 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Trust me, I bet she knows! Even though we lose loved ones along our journey of life, it’s important to realize that even know they’re not physically with us, they are here with us in spirit and cheering us on as we write.

  4. rmangena March 14, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    You have made me feel ashamed that I haven’t had the time to look back, reflect and identify who has impacted on my life and how. I am trying to imagine how those 4 people will feel when they learn that you have actually acknowledged their role in your life to the whole wide world!!!
    Someone in your yesterday’s post asked if you could be her Beta Reader, and running the risk of overloading rather than freeing you to pursue what you seem to like so much, could you also be that to me, only that my writing will have a different perspective to what you are familiar with? please!

    • ameliaclaire92 March 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      They’d probably be shocked (and honored) that I acknowledged them on my blog that everyone can see.
      And sure, I’d love to be your Beta Reader. 🙂 Just let me know when you’re going to send me things, and I’ll try and get them back to you as soon as possible. Granted, I am in college and classes are my utmost importance, but I’ll still be glad to be your Beta Reader! 🙂

  5. ailialana March 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Great post…they will be honoured!


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