It would be easy to come up with several teachers who have been my writing mentors. Jim Bride, who introduced me to Ray Bradbury; Pete Mansfield who instructed us on grammar; Vinnie O’Brien who drilled us on history facts and gave me the parlor trick of being able to name every president up to Lincoln within ten seconds (comes in handy on Jeopardy.) Mark Harrington who made Latin class hip and cool and expanded my vocabulary. But my real mentors through life?
I’ve learned from other writers, authors, agents, editors, all of you. And before I started to write, I tried to absorb something of value from those around me at work. Sometimes it was too late to learn the lesson and I stumbled badly. Other times I picked up a great skill. Like what I learned from Carla Koeffler, my boss and mentor in my first job at Hill Holliday Advertising in Boston. Carla carried a black notebook full of well – notes. Everywhere. I started to do that, and learned to keep conversations/meetings/ideas in one place for easy retrieval. I still keep notes – and they help me with my writing. They are mostly on my computer now – but I jot a lot too. I have a sticky note feature on my computer I love.
We can learn from everyone around us and appreciate them as a mentor. Whether they know it or not. So here’s to you!
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