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Working Productively with a Writing Mentor

By Barbara Gastel | Dec. 7, 2014  |

Greetings again. I hope that all is going well for you.

As mentioned last week, I recently gave a lecture containing tips on working productively with a writing mentor. Here are these tips, plus some discussion.

Establish expectations. For example, agree on the type(s) of guidance sought, the mechanism(s) for receiving guidance (in person or other), and the time frame. Stay somewhat flexible, though, as mentorship relationships often evolve over time.

Make the most of meeting time. Prepare well, for example by listing questions to ask. Don’t waste time asking your mentor things that you could look up yourself. Perhaps help your mentor prepare by providing items to review or consider in advance.

Learn from your mentor’s experience. Find out about publication challenges your mentor faced—and how your mentor addressed them. If your mentor has been a peer reviewer or editor, gain his or her advice from that perspective.

Be considerate of your mentor. Remember that mentors are busy. If you want them to review drafts, leave plenty of time. Show appreciation, for instance by thanking your mentor in the acknowledgments section of your paper. Avoid acting pushy.

Also be a resource for your mentor. A benefit of being a mentor is the chance to continue learning. So, for example, if you find readings that might interest or aid your mentor, share them.

If you’re not an AuthorAID mentee or mentor, we hope you’ll consider becoming one. Instructions for signing up appear in the mentoring section of the AuthorAID website, along with guidance on mentorship.

Until the next post—

Barbara

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