On Losing A Mentor

I was disheartened last week to read Jane Friedman’s post (here) at and Writer Unboxed (here) that she will be scaling back her writing advice column.  I joined the Jane Friedman bandwagon late but have found her style of writing conversational and appealing.

If you’re unfamiliar with Jane Friedman, she is the former editor of Writer’s Digest, and is now the web editor at Virginia Quarterly Review.  It’s partially due to the new job that she’s made the decision to stop offering advice for writers.  As someone who’s been a regular reader (if not a subscriber) to her blog, my emotions are conflicted by this shifting of gears.

I respect Jane’s decision.  If someone feels that they truly have emptied the well then it’d be better to stop than to “beat a dead horse” as the saying goes.  As a writer who appreciates the insights of someone much further along in the writing field, I feel like I’ve lost a mentor.

Does anyone else familiar with Jane Friedman feel this way?  I have no idea but I truly hope so. How do you cope with the loss of a mentor?

My hope is that she will continue her speaking engagements.  I regret the opportunity missed to hear her speak this spring when she came to St. Louis, MO for the Missouri Writer’s Guild Conference (blog post here).

That was the same event where I attended Christina Katz’ Master Class.  The classes were at the same time, unfortunately… Have you had the opportunity to hear her speak in the past?  Share your experiences below, please, let’s talk about what we’ve learned over the years from Jane.

Where to go from here? I will continue to read Jane Friedman’s archives and curate content here on Thursdays along with other active writers/bloggers on the web.  Please check back for new content each Thursday and let’s grow together.

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  1. Thank you for this post, Lauren.

    The good news is that my speaking continues much as before; I’ll be at the Midwest Writers Workshop (Ind.) in July, Pennwriters in November, the Oklahoma Writers conference in April & Mad Anthony (Cincinnati) in April. I’ll continue to accept speaking invitations if they come in!

    I’ve definitely retired from a weekday blog schedule for the foreseeable future, but I already have notes for posts I want to write in July. 😉 So I’ll share ideas from time to time on my blog, plus once the VQR site relaunches later this year, I hope you’ll check out the scene. I’ll be pretty active there, and may be writing more often.


    1. Oh my gosh, Jane Friedman!

      Thank you for reading and responding to my blog. I’m so honored and blessed. I love your work, and yes, it’s probably impossible for someone to gush more on paper than I just have.

      Thank you for the head’s up on your future speaking engagements. I’ll definitely look into the Mad Anthony Conference next year to learn more about the focus of the conference and whether it’ll match my writing goals. If time allows in your schedule, I also hope you’ll consider creating/posting new webinars over at Writer’s Digest University. Earlier this spring I had the opportunity to listen to your thoughts on building a platform and that aspect of marketing for writers is something that I’ve attempted to incorporate more into my overall writing goals.


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