Finding Mentorship on Social Media
Michael recently surprised his teacher with his writing skills, so much so that she suspected that Michael might have gotten help from his elder sister. However, after carefully following up on the matter, Michael’s teacher was surprised to find out that not only was the work genuinely Michael’s, but he had also written some of the outstanding writings attributed to his sister. Michael’s writing is so good, that his classmates have nicknamed him Shakespeare. This has won him accolades and awards at school, and it certainly seems like he has a promising future as an author.
Asked about how he developed the outstanding writing skills, Michael narrated how his imaginative mind has always come in handy- right from childhood. He explained that at the tender age of 7, he always had his mind wandering in the fantasy world. Right there in his mind, he developed plots and built intimate connections with the characters he interacted with. In time, he realized that he could bring those fantasies to life using pen and paper, and so as he turned ten, he slowly began transitioning from poems to short stories.
At thirteen years, he created a Facebook page called “Michael’s Encounters”.He narrated his story as follows: “One day, a story I had posted attracted quite a lot of attention. The comments were in their thousands, the likes were almost twenty thousand and people couldn’t stop sharing it. But one comment stood out for me. One of the prominent authors I have always looked up to praised my writing skills, but then added that I could get much better if I proof-read my works before posting them. He had critiqued me, but I was over the moon! I knew I had found a mentor.”
He continued, “I wasn’t gonna let that chance pass me. I wasted no time in sending him a private message. I asked him if he would be willing to guide me and help me horn my skills. He took a bit of time to respond, and his first response wasn’t so encouraging. He told me that he was handling several projects at the time and that his hands were full. Not to be dissuaded, I crafted a plan whereby I offered to help him with part of his work in exchange for his guidance. After a bit of haggling, he finally gave in. Over a long time, sent me his drafts and I suggested some changes to him. He didn’t pay me for the work, but he didn’t have to. The satisfaction I got from editing for an accomplished author was invaluable! I was even more thrilled when I finally met him, about one year later.”
Michael’s story is sure proof that social media is indeed a great place to find mentors. The beauty of it is that the platforms have broken the barriers that previously existed between accomplished professionals and budding professionals. If you are good at what you do, you no longer have to walk the journey alone.
You can put your work on display on social media, and with the right strategy, you can grab the attention of those pros. However, you should conduct your own research to identify who can be of help and who can’t. Not everybody who extends his or her hands has good intentions. Some will want to use the opportunity to endear themselves to the public, while some will even steal your idea, make money out of it and leave you high and dry.
Once you identify the right mentor, you should carefully work out your approach strategy. Understand that they also have a demanding work schedule and may therefore not be available whenever you want them. They may even take long to reply to your messages. You should not be afraid to remind them, but remember that too many reminders may border on nuisance or even be considered harassment. Therefore, send a reminder, but be patient.
Once your mentor agrees to work with you, the next step is to learn to be humble. Be ready and willing to start from the bottom. You may initially perceive some of the tasks you are given as “demeaning”, but the important thing is that you will eventually work your way up. Learn from them, pick their brain and climb up the ladder. Luckily, modern technology has made it possible for us to keep in touch with our mentors without having to physically follow them around like an armor bearer.
With all the technological advancements, you can simply follow them virtually. Read their social media posts, read their publications, listen to their podcasts, and all that. As you get down to learn, be ready to deal with some negative comments that may come your way regarding your mentor. Do not let negative energy distract you from your mission. Stand your ground and fight to the end.