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34 New Things: Be a Mentor

Each year I make a list of new things I want to try. Some are easy, some are difficult, some are so ridiculously mundane. You can read about previous adventures here


It’s hard to view yourself as someone who has wisdom worth imparting when you’re pretty sure your own adult life is a comedy of errors, possibly involving hidden cameras. (On my recent roadtrip, I got pulled over and tried to convince the police officer that the receipt for the purchase of my car was actually the registration.  Like, I walked up the highway to his car, knocked on the window and was all “Is this it?”)Be that as it may, there are some things that I know about.  Things like writingtravel, moving a million times,  mastering the internet – and as a former teacher, I love few things more than helping people understand stuff that I know about.  When I added ‘be a mentor’ to my list for this year, I knew this might be sort of challenging.  I travel a lot and I didn’t want to bond with – and then inadvertently abandon – a sweet , in-need-of-reliable-adult-interaction preteen, so I decided that I wanted to try an internet mentorship of sorts.

I first met Alicia when she bought advertising space and Yes and Yes.  As with all of my sponsors, I checked out her blog to see if she was a good fit for my readers and I was impressed with her candid, engaging writing style and nice photography. She always sent me the links and photos for her sponsor posts before the deadline and whenever she sent through her photos they were always appropriately resized and labeled. (Your mom wasn’t lying about people noticing the details.) Eventually Alicia started contributing the Read // Eat series and I rather awkwardly asked her if she was in the market for a mentor.  As luck would have it, she was!

How does one mentor?  Well, we set up a once-monthly video pow wow. We talk about work and writing and interneting and life and I answer any questions she might have about reaching out to bloggers and publications she likes, how to deal with guest posts, and anything I know about.  It’s been so, so lovely to share what I know and hopefully help her avoid some of those mistakes we all learn the hard way (I’m looking at you, Twitter oversharing.)

I’m sure there will come a day when Alicia is helming HuffPo and I tell everybody that I knew her way back when. And then I’ll awkwardly email another youngster and ask if they need my input on the merits of @mentioning.Have you ever mentored or been mentored?  Tell us about your experience!