Summer is coming, and along with it, the opportunity for a change of pace. What will this summer bring for your family? Vacation? Day trips? A summer reading challenge? How about a creative writing project?
What makes summer the right time for a mentorship?
During the school year, students are guided in a learning journey by teachers. In the summer, students have the opportunity to take the lead and follow their own curiosity and passion. Where will this curiosity lead them?
Here are some interesting challenges past mentees have taken on:
- researching dark matter, and writing both a research summary and a fictional (hilarious!) story about the antics of a dark matter character
- drafting a fantasy novel from start to finish
- starting a writing club and working together to write short stories to share at the end of the summer
Mentorship is Student-Driven
Writing a passion project is an entirely different experience than writing in response to school assignments or prompts. I love talking to youth writers before and after a passion project with a mentor. Before a passion project, common complaints include a lack of focus and stamina, and the inability to add layers, depth, and details to their work. After completing and sharing their work, writers report a seemingly magical transformation. Focus, patience, confidence, and unexpected skills have shown up. How has this happened, they wonder? Why was writing so difficult before, and how is it now so much easier?
Mentorship Provides Guidance and Connection
While youth can certainly take on a passion project on their own over the summer, a mentor helps focus and support the experience. The regular accountability, the ability to problem-solve along the way, and the encouragement from a mentor who is also passionate about storytelling, all make a significant difference. In particular, those difficult writing moments—and we all have them—are much easier to face and work through with the help of an experienced guide.
Mentorship Builds Self-Awareness and Confidence
Mentors ask questions that writers don’t ask on their own. In fact, asking a helpful question is one of a mentor’s most important tasks. Mentors watch closely to identify what a mentee can’t yet see. Through exploratory questions, mentors help their charges consider the next possibilities and take next steps. As writers speak with mentors about their work and about their creative strengths and weaknesses, they develop a strong self-awareness and confidence. In this way, a summer writing project is one of the most powerful experiences a student can take on. After the project is done, the benefits reach far beyond the finished story that sits on a shelf, deep into the next school year, and to many experiences beyond.
Is a Summer Mentorship Right for Your Young Writer?
Whether you’re traveling or staying home, mentorship is flexible and can work with your schedule. A summer writing project adds that little touch of magic that makes any experience more meaningful. Whether the mentorship focuses on writing a memoir of summer experiences, a novel-length fantasy, or creative practice through short prompts and games, young writers will come through the summer having grown from the experience. And the best part? The creativity is likely to spill over to the whole family, too.
Wondering how you can take part in the process, and support your young writer along the way? Check out our RX for Youth Writers: Five Strategies to Help Your Child Overcome Common Blocks in the box below.
Rx for Youth Writers
Five Strategies to Help Your Creative Child Overcome Common Blocks