For sure, beginning authors need mentoring. It's true that the only way to get better is to practice, but it's also true that guided practice is the way to go. In his book Outliers, Malcom Gladwell points out the importance of mentoring in discussing the now-famous "ten thousand hour rule" for mastering a craft. Whether it's becoming a neurosurgeon, a rock star or a successful author, Gladwell makes a compelling case.
Most of us get mentoring from author critique groups. I'm in several on Writing.com, and I've learned an enormous amount from the talented and generous authors in those groups. I've also critiqued over 1,600 stories, chapters and other items on Writing.Com and other author sites. I hope my critiques help the authors, but they certainly help me. Reading and critiquing other authors makes me think about what works, what doesn't work, and why. I've gathered some of what I've learned in essays, but I've still got a long ways to go before I reach Gladwell's ten thousand hours!
In any case, here are a few short essays that explore my thoughts on the craft of writing.