By Sha’terra M., age 18 and Nadia V., WriteGirl Mentor
Last week one of our mentor and mentee pairs sat down to chat about the magic of writing and their experiences working together in WriteGirl!
S: How did you first find out about WriteGirl?
N: On Instagram! My friend was posting photos of some WriteGirl teens performing during a workshop and I thought, “That looks like fun!” I did more research on it, watched some YouTube videos, saw the Facebook comments full of passionate WriteGirl mentees and mentors, and I thought, "I AM IN!"
N: What were your favorite WriteGirl workshops?
S: The creative non-fiction and screenwriting workshops. My dream is to become a journalist or a director, so both of these workshops inspired me. Plus I got to meet some actors I never thought I’d get a chance to meet, all while working to improve my writing skills.
S: Which workshop was your favorite?
N: I would have to say definitely the comedy writing workshop. We had such awesome guests, and I remember you being super stoked on getting to write dialogue. I also got to be a helper backstage and got to see what it takes to put the workshops on and I was just so impressed!
S: What inspired you to become a weekly mentor for WriteGirl?
N: I wanted to be involved with WriteGirl as much as possible, and the chance to have someone to be paired up with consistently at workshops sounded like the best option. And... I definitely think we got along really well! I was so blown away by how great a job WriteGirl did pairing us together –– our love of comedy, music, and our favorite types of fiction are so similar. Sometimes I just wanted to talk to you for hours until I remembered we were there to actually write!
N: What did you learn during our mentoring sessions or the workshops that you remember when you're writing?
S: I remember you telling me that I’m really good at coming up with ideas. I never really thought about that being my strong point in writing, but over time I started to see what you saw. I see now that I end up having a trillion ideas in my head and I almost always seem to pick one that isn’t extremely horrible! I’m really glad you told me that or else I wouldn’t have realized it myself.
N: What has been your favorite piece of writing since you started WriteGirl?
S: The piece I did at the Japanese American National Museum. I had to look at the wall of suitcases and write a fictional piece about a time I had to pack up all my bags and leave behind my entire family. I’ve never had to leave anyone behind so I decided to wing it really.
S: What have you enjoyed the most about being a weekly mentor?
N: During my training to be a mentor, Keren said, "You need these girls as much as they need you," and she was right. I learned so much from you during our time together. I was also really impressed that you came into our meetings with way more writing than I had. You are a writing powerhouse! You are so dedicated to what you love, and I felt like I really needed to step up my game to be on your level!
S: If any, what things do you and I have in common? How has it influenced our relationship?
N: Well, not only are our interests similar (we both love rock music and hilarious TV), but what we write about always interconnects. You told me during our first session that you were really interested in human relationships, and that is a fascination of mine, too! We did an exercise where we looked around us and picked a couple of people to write a dialogue between. We picked the cook and the cashier at the cafe. We both wrote a confession-of-love scene for these two! Clearly, we both want to see happy endings. I feel very privileged to continue to read your work. I feel so comfortable talking to you because I know you come from a place where you truly care about the people in your life. I know you love your family and your mom especially, and it always makes me want to text my mom a little heart emoji.
N: What advice would you give a mentor like me when they apply to volunteer for WriteGirl?
S: Give good advice. You might not know how much it helps to hear that you’re impressed with my writing. It really feels good. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something great. As long as you keep that up, I know you’ll do great as a volunteer!
S: How has the experience of being a weekly mentor affected you?
N: I don't think I learned as much about a passion for writing until I got to see you work and grow in WriteGirl. I always knew people wrote for a living, but I didn't know that there was a true passion and fire for writing until we met up and talked shop. I feel like I can write, and write, and write, and still not get everything out of me that I want to! But what I learned from you is that your writing is special because it comes from you! So I'll keep writing if you will... which I hope you do!