How does mentoring work?

We want to make sure that you get the most out of your mentoring and feel confident that you’re choosing the right mentor for you.


Our mentoring scheme has been designed so that writers can work individually with a mentor to overcome creative obstacles. Our expert mentors are uniquely placed to help writers of all levels, from the finer details of a specific project to the bigger picture of your life as a writer. Working one-to-one, each session is focused on how best to help you, wherever you are in your writing journey. The scheme is tailored to your needs, allowing you to book single or multiple sessions to suit your timeline and availability.


How does it work?

To get started, we advise you to book an introductory session with the mentor of your choice. Together, you will talk through your project and the main obstacles that you’re facing. 

Your mentor will read an extract of your work in advance, in order to discuss your project in detail. We ask you to email us this work no later than a week in advance of your session. We also recommend including one short paragraph about the aims of your project, and anything in particular you’d like support with.

Mentoring works best as a sustained relationship over a period of time. Your mentor will be able to support you through the writing and rewriting process, and to offer feedback and advice as you progress. If you’d like to book several sessions, we recommend leaving a gap of two-to-four weeks between each meeting. This is so that you will have time to reflect and implement the ideas you have developed, before seeing your mentor again.

How can I prepare for my session?

In order to ensure your mentor has time to read your work and give it a thorough evaluation, we kindly ask that you send work to us no later than one week in advance of your session. Please note that, unfortunately, if you send your work later than this deadline, we cannot guarantee that your mentor will be able to read all of it. We also ask that you are on-time for your session, and let us know as soon as you can if you’re running late.

To make the most of the mentoring sessions, we recommend that you go into each session with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Being clear on this and communicating it to your mentor will help them to help you.

When you send your work, a paragraph describing it in context is helpful; where it sits, issues you’ve had with the process, what you might like feedback on, anything else they might need to know to better read the work. Submitting the work in the best shape it can be, no matter how raw the work is, will be of great benefit. Dealing with errors, typos and grammatical things first will help your mentor see through the superficial mistakes to better advise you. If you would like a coaching session, you don’t need to submit any work.

Be honest about your difficulties; your mentor has likely trodden this path. Your job is not to impress them but to allow them to help you, even when things aren’t going well – especially then!

We also advise making the most of your feedback. Consider it indiscriminately, and don’t take it personally. Remember that your mentor is there to challenge you, and that feedback is part of the broader conversation with your mentor. Experiment with using their advice – did it show you new ways of thinking and approaching things? Remember that the work is yours and so ultimately, what you do with it is your decision.

Where do sessions take place?

All our mentoring sessions are currently virtual and take place online over Zoom. If you are local to Norfolk and would like to organise in-person meetings, please discuss this with your mentor.

Do you offer coaching sessions?

Some of our mentors also offer coaching sessions. Coaching sessions take place without the mentor reading an extract of your work. Rather, through questions and discussion with your mentor, you will identify difficulties, re-frame habits and received ideas, and find a new way through that is rooted in your values and intentions. Coaching sessions can be booked in the same way as mentoring sessions – please contact us after you have booked to specify that you wish to undertake coaching rather than mentoring.

What can I expect from the National Centre for Writing?

We provide an online and telephone booking service, and can answer any queries you might have. Our team will handle all correspondence with mentors, including sending them your work.

Can I book more than one session at once?

Mentoring works best as a sustained relationship over a period of time. Once you have had your introductory session, any further sessions are eligible for a 10% discount when you book three or more with the same mentor. This discount will be automatically applied to your basket when booking three or more sessions at once.

Can I book a mentoring session for a writer that is under the age of 18?

If you are under 18 and are interested in mentoring sessions, please contact us by email or telephone before booking.

Got a question?

If you have a question or need advice about mentoring, get in touch with the learning team by email [email protected] or phone (+44) 01603 877177 between our working hours of 9am – 5pm BST, Monday to Friday.