efore I begin with relaying here what I told a woman, on LinkedIn of all places, how to find a writing mentor, I just want to talk about the weather. The flooding is a lot worse than I thought it was in the Midwest. Somewhere in Iowa, somewhere in Nebraska, somewhere in South Dakota, the waters exceed the borders of the rivers, the usual little creeks, and pour out all around them into the farmers' fields, into peoples' homes, into the roads. In spite of the heat and sun, the water sits. It is all at once impressive, intimidating, beautiful, and horrible. Frogs hopped on wet roads where cars usually roar at freeway speeds, splashing carelessly in water ankle deep and higher. Different spectrums of green. Robust frogs.
That is, I'm guessing. My husband saw the frogs. I stayed in the car, waiting.
Now very simply, someone on LinkedIn asked how can she get a writing mentor. She does not have an MFA, and she does not want one. Here is my response:
I wouldn't know how to find a mentor, but I'll take a few guesses:
Check out Fictionaut. Although it's called Fictionaut, there is also poetry. As it is now, it's invite only, but they will soon open up to everyone.
Check out the writing community on Google+. It's pretty big. If you have an account, just type "writer" in the search box. People talk about writing topics all the time here, ask for jobs, advice, etc.
Check out writers on Twitter.
Find out if one of your favorite writers, or writers you read, or a writer who writes like you, is approachable. If her/his name is really big, like Margaret Atwood, s/he may not have the time to help you, nor may be able to help you legally (I mention Atwood because she notes that her lawyers advise her against reading folks' unpublished work). You can find writers via their blogs, publicists (check the acknowledgement page of their books, the websites of their publishers, etc), or sometimes, a simple search on a search engine.
Find out if there is a local writing community. There may be published or aspiring writers in your area. You are more than able to start a writing group, too! Put up a call at your local library or bookshop. Or find an online community (many exist). If you've never been in a workshop, you may want to look up how these work.
You don't have to be a student to take a writing workshop. Audit a class! If the prof is really cool (like a poor graduate student/teacher asst), s/he may let you sit in for free. You may find a mentor in that prof or in one of the students in the class (many grad students are already accomplished writers). Or, maybe your local community college has continuing education classes.