Why I don’t mentor people

A writing coach recently asked me why I don’t mentor people one-on-one.


So in the past five years, thousands of authors and illustrators have come through girl&duck.

Whether they’ve joined the Scribbles Academy, hung out in the Duck Pond, completed one of my online ‘capsule courses’, read my blog or simply watched my videos on Youtube, I’ve reached thousands. (And not only in Australia, worldwide too).

Many of my students have gone on to be published.

Most (if not all) have HUGELY improved their skills, their knowledge and their self-confidence.

If I’d been mentoring one-on-one during these past years, I would have reached a maximum of 15 (!) people ( I could probably only juggle my own career plus three students per year).

The numbers don’t stack up. I’m a woman on a mission. I want to spread the girl&duck love far and wide!

Plus there are loads of people who LOVE mentoring and are bloody good at it. They’re quite easy to find, too.


Another reason I don’t mentor one-on-one is less obvious.

It’s subtle but it’s super important.

Writers (and illustrators) must be self-sufficient.

They must be independent starters and finishers.

They must have initiative and self-motivation and find ways to maintain that.

At the end of the day, we cannot rely on anyone else to hold our hand.

No matter how much help we get, when we’re alone, sitting in front of a blank page, or a messy page with lines and blotches everywhere, no one else can help us. Not really.

Ultimately, the creator has to work out shit for themselves. And, by the way, with the smallest amount of guidance and encouragement from me, I see Scribblers (and Duckies) doing this ALL THE TIME.

You can give a person a fish or you can teach a person to fish. Right?

So that’s why I don’t mentor one-on-one.


Okay, there is one exception.

The Scribbles Creative Writing Awards.

Every year, (in November), five winners receive a manuscript assessment as well as a track-changes edit from me.

And this year, 2020, two of those winners, will also receive a five-week mentorship with me.

I’m not a total Trunchbull.

Occasionally I’ll take your hand and lead you.

Just don’t expect it every day.


Jen xo

PS I’ll talk about the awards again soon. But, if you’re a Scribbler, why are you reading this? You should be writing! I can’t wait to see your entry in this year’s awards!

3 Replies to “Why I don’t mentor people”

  1. I love this Jen! I found myself smiling and nodding along realising that yes, I am more confident, I am more independent, I am… Still, I and no other Scrib would pass up a one on one with you, just for those finer points and some quick guidance here and there- roll on the Scribbles Creative Writing Awards!

  2. First I thought, yes you do, there’s thousands of us. Then I thought, ahhh she means one to one. I always admire people who spread it around rather than try to keep it small. My horsemanship mentor has trained people all over the world to do what he does and his students are encouraged to be puzzle solvers and self starters. I’ve always admire that about you Jen. Can’t say more, I’m much too busy cutting and chopping up words and paragraphs and such! 😘 TTFN.

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