Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

I have been writing, editing and teaching for a long time, and now provide a mentoring/coaching service for those writers, experienced and inexperienced, academic or non-academic, who are seeking guidance and motivation to assist them in reaching their goals by maintaining focus and adhering to a writing schedule.The support and guidance of a suitable mentor and/or editor is immeasurable, especially when a writer is ‘stuck’ or has no plan, or realises that she or he is losing objectivity about her/his writing project.

Some writers are just beginning their writing project when they approach me about a mentorship. They are seeking assistance for an extended period of time to put a plan in place and encourage them to bring to fruition their short or long-form works of fiction or non-fiction. They are not only looking for an objective critique of their work-in-progress, but also for a mentor who provides emotional support and encouragement. At times, encouragement may require probing questions and suggestions to help extend the writer’s thinking about the content and improve writing skills.

Other writers engage me as their mentor after I have provided them with a manuscript assessment. I assist them as they progress through rewrites until the manuscript is ready for editing and proofreading. I often review submission material to accompany the manuscript sent to publishers.

There is a myriad of reasons why writers seek my mentoring service, all incredibly interesting. I guess that is why I continue to offer my services as a mentor: each writer is unique and committed to their passion of writing about a specific subject matter, whether it’s for commerical and personal reasons. I am equally committed to encourage her or him to keep motivated, keep to deadlines, and produce the best writing possible through to the final full-stop. I am delighted when I receive emails such as the following after the book is written and my mentoring has come to an end:

Denise was thorough, honest and constructive in everything she did, from assessing my manuscript, to editing it, to reviewing it for submission. She really made me think about every word I’d written and helped me see the story through fresh eyes. Denise kept me motivated all the way along with her support, encouragement and infectious enthusiasm. She brought out the best in me in every way. (Jocelyn Eastway)

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Denise was invaluable in getting my novel from a rough 3rd draft to publication ready. I especially liked her capacity to develop a collaborative working relationship so that all the work of editing, polishing, re-writing was held in the spirit of my writing journey. Denise has well-honed writing skills, of course, but as well she has this unusual capacity to support and encourage. She really tuned in to my direction as a writer which was enormously helpful in moving my novel forward. Beyond the fine-tuning of my last draft, Denise then gave some timely coaching to help me negotiate the new realities of publishing. How great it was to have access to such a well-grounded and experienced mentor! Highly recommended. (Thupten Lekshe)

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I am often asked: Do you think it’s finished? Is it any good? Am I kidding myself?

Modernist English author, Virginia Woolf, was constantly plagued by self-doubt. On 30 April 1926, Virginia wrote in her diary:

Yesterday I finished the first part of To the Lighthouse, and today began the second . . . well, I rush at it, and at once scatter out two pages. Is it nonsense, is it brilliance? Why am I so flown with words and apparently free to do exactly what I like? When I read a bit it seems spirited too; needs compressing, but not much else.

 

I want my writers to own their work and feel free to disagree with my opinions and suggestions. Some writers find it difficult to accept constructive criticism and suggestions to improve passages, and instead of providing reasons why they disagree, and challenge with an open mind, they just become despondent. A mentor can be sympathetic, but must remain in a professional space at all times.

Being a writing mentor certainly has it challenges!

 

I have written an article that expands upon my role as a mentor.

Writing Mentor

I only mentor three writers at a time, so if you would like to discuss your project, and check my availability, why not contact me and we can set up a time to chat?

If I have availability and we seem compatible then I will send you a mentoring proposal. If you agree to appoint me as your mentor then we can come to an arrangement that usually involves regular face-to-face meetings or phone/Skype/Zoom chats following a constructive critique of your work in progress. My role is to keep my writers motivated and writing! A fee will be negotiated, usually in pre-pay blocks of 8 hours.

If I am unable to offer a mentorship, I may be able to help by providing a manuscript assessment.