Do You Need A Writing Mentor?

Sherwood Anderson cph.3b16123

Photo of Author Sherwood Anderson taken by Pirie MacDonald, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


One way a writer can become successful is by having a more established writer as a mentor. While writing groups can serve as a mentor, the right personal mentor will help improve your writing by giving you guidance each step of the way. Let me share an example of the influence of a mentor.

In 1919 a young veteran returned from World War I. He moved to Chicago moving into a particular neighborhood for the purpose of being close to the author Sherwood Anderson.

Sherwood Anderson

The critical praise for Anderson and his book “Winesburg, Ohio” impressed a young, beginning writer. This hopeful writer had heard that Sherwood Anderson was willing to help aspiring writers. He worked to meet Anderson. The two men became close friends. They met almost every day to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. They dissected the writings they read.

Ernest Hemingway

The aspiring writer brought his own works for critique having Anderson help him improve his craft. Anderson went as far as introducing the want-to-be writer to his network of publishing contacts. The aspiring writer did okay with his first book “The Sun Also Rises.” The aspiring writer was Ernest Hemingway.

William Faulkner

Sherwood Anderson didn’t stop there. He moved to New Orléans where he met another aspiring writer. He took the young man through the same steps and paces of the craft. He became roommates with this young man. He even invested $300 in getting this writer’s first book “Soldier’s Pay” published. This young author was William Faulkner.

John Steinbeck

Anderson would later move to California and repeat the process with John Steinbeck. Thomas Wolfe and Erskine Caldwell were also mentored by Sherwood Anderson.

Ray Bradbury says Sherwood Anderson’s book “Winesburg, Ohio” was on his mind when he wrote The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury basically wrote “Winesburg, Ohio” placing it on the planet Mars.

Mark Twain

Arguably, only Mark Twain has had a greater influence in shaping modern American writing than Sherwood Anderson. Anderson didn’t do too badly, did he?

Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prizes

William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each won the Nobel Prize for Literature and there are multiple Pulitzer Prizes between them.

If you are serious about writing I urge you to find a mentor or join a writing group. The people in my writer’s and critique group keeps me encouraged and motivated.

Encourage your writer friends, keep reading and writing.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

Photo Source: Public Domain

Black Faces of War: A Legacy of Honor From the American Revolution to Today

With Black History Month just a couple of weeks away “Black Faces of War: A Legacy of Honor From the American Revolution to Today” commemorates the achievements by African-Americans in the United States military from the American Revolution to the present. I loved the perfect blend of paintings, photography and prose to tell this story. The book includes contributions from prominent historian Hal Chase, W. Stephen Morris, and Luther H. Smith, one of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen.

My own education of “The Black Faces of War” began when I was a college history major I visited Fort Davis, Texas and first learned of the Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Davis from 1867-1885. It showed a gap in my education concerning the role of African-American’s in the US military.

Author Robert V. Morris’ work includes black military heroes such as Crispus Attucks, the first man to die in the Revolutionary War. We learn the story of Lieutenant James Reese Europe. He brought jazz music to Europe in 1918. Lieutenant Charity Adams, commander of the only all-black Women’s Army Corps unit during World War II narrative is told. The book also includes General Colin Powell, who served with merit in Vietnam. He became the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. He also retired a four-star general before becoming the first African-American Secretary of State.

This is a must addition to any military historian’s library as well as community library. The history of African-Americans in the US military is a too often neglected history. It is necessary that not only African-Americans, but also all Americans know of the import contributions made throughout history.