Jennifer won a mentorship with Tim McCanna. Here are a few words about her experience.
As a rhymer, I’ve always respected Tim McCanna’s skill, and aspired to produce work of his caliber. He’s actually the first author I emailed with a craft question when I started writing (he remembered me after we began working together). When Tim selected me as his mentee, I shrieked. I cried and scared my kids (ha)! It was one of the proudest moments of my writing journey. I was deeply honored, and determined to make him proud.
Looking at WWTS as an opportunity for growth, I didn’t need someone to tell me my work was perfect; the gem was in the challenge. Tim was genuinely there for me, enthusiastic about my writing and motivated solely by his desire to help me make my work better. I decided I owed it to him, to myself, and to my work, to trust him completely. I put all queries on hold to get the full benefit of his guidance. Any edits or improvements that Tim suggested, I decided to give an honest try. A full rewrite? Sure! Reconsider my approach to a narrative arc? Sure! Try a new style of rhyme? I’ll do whatever you tell me, Yoda! I embraced every exercise he gave me, because I knew his method had been tested.
Tim was unfailingly enthusiastic and generous with praise. All the while, he balanced that with criticism that strengthened my work, pushing me to be the best version of my creative self. He validated my struggles by sharing his own, and let me know that I’m on the right track. I felt encouraged, by Tim’s success, especially knowing he was once where I am now. Our conversations flowed easily, with Tim letting me direct our focus. He kept me accountable to my personal writing goals, and made sure I didn’t let life steamroll my progress. It was so much fun to interact regularly with someone I respect immensely, and I may have blushed when he called me “prolific” (let’s stick that in the highlight reel).
It’s been six months since our mentorship, but I feel comfortable reaching out to Tim anytime, as a mentor and friend. I’ve returned to querying, and I’m in the midst of an R&R with a Big 5 house. I find myself quoting Tim’s advice, whenever I critique peers’ work. During our time together, Tim helped me revitalize long-anguished work; we revamped three manuscripts to query-status, and trouble-shot several others. On Tim’s recommendation, I launched a website (which I love). His industry knowledge was invaluable—it was wonderful having not only fresh eyes on my work, but fresh eyes that have “been there, done that.” I know his ideas can help me reach my goals, and I have faith in him as my coach and cheerleader. And when someone like Tim McCanna says you can do it, you believe it.
Deepest thanks to Tara, and all of the mentors, for making this unforgettable experience possible. What a blessing you are to the budding creators of our community!