A Celebration of Mentors Past, Present, and Future


 Recently, I was rummaging through the many boxes of writing materials I’ve stuffed in the attic  and I found a collection of calendars dated 1998 -2008.  They were in a box with three drafts of novels I wrote over eight years ago.  Whoa.  I also found tons of material from classes I’d taken over the course of thirteen years: lectures, drafts, feedback, and bits and pieces of writing assignments.

Apparently, I’ve applied my butt to the seat of my chair for a very long time. (see my chair above)

As I nosed through pages and pages of my early writing, it dawned on me that I have probably taken close to a hundred classes over the last 13 years.  Some were at the traditional university. Some at the library. Most have been online.  When I compare what was available thirteen years ago and what is available now, I want to get down on my knees and worship at the feet of the people who created the Internet.

I bet few people remember the prejudice aimed at writers who didn’t go to a brick and mortar school to learn writing, but chose to take an online class.  I bet few people remember the meager selection of courses, the scarcity of good writing groups, or the nearly nonexistent support for writers looking for publication.

Nothing like today, eh?

Although things have changed drastically since I began my journey, some things have remained the same.  There are mediocre classes being offered online and there are exceptional classes being offered online.  The prices vary from free to over one thousand dollars and up.  In my  years of taking classes, I’ve learned a very significant fact.

The quality of an online class is not determined by price.

I’ve heard my share of complaints from writers who have taken classes at universities, online and in classrooms.  Writers who have paid hundreds of dollars for classes and felt they did not get their money’s worth.  Likewise, I’ve heard writers complain about a fifteen dollar class online.

Once, I listened to a woman complain about a free three hour writing class.

Each writer has her/his specific needs.  Sometimes, a teacher can’t meet them. Sometimes, a teacher goes beyond them.

In the spirit of sharing, I thought I’d begin a series of posts focusing on teachers and/or classes that I feel gave the most bang for my buck.  I intend to give an honest account of  what I feel are the pros and cons of the class and the teacher. I won’t be reviewing the classes in any particular order.  As far as I’m concerned, all the instructors mentioned are equally good.

Just to be clear, no one is paying me to do this.  I simply think it’s time to pass on the good karma that many mentors have bestowed on me.  Please keep in mind, I am passing on to you my assessment of the class and the teacher.  This is a personal opinion.

Don’t expect any name bashing.  This isn’t about discrediting anyone.  It’s about giving kudos to the teachers who have made a difference in my life.

And it’s about letting you know there are fantastic mentors out there if you know where to look.



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