Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal is a book of mentors. I’m lucky enough to have my own mentor, Emylia Hall, thanks to The WoMentoring Project, but I’m not someone who finds it easy to network or to talk to people I admire. I also have anxiety and live in rural East Devon, so I tend not to meet many people within the writing industry. Getting There provides people like me with 30 mentors from a range of fields. You get great advice without exposing yourself to embarrassment!
It’s an inspiring book and I was surprised by how people successful in fields very different to my own often provided the most pertinent advice for me. It highlighted the fact that mentors don’t have to be on the same career path as you — a lot of skills are transferable, so they can be applied to a variety of jobs. The most common thread of advice is that you have to be proactive: you need to be ready to seize opportunities as they arise.
This usually means doing a lot of work with little or no recognition. I find that reassuring, rather than depressing. It means that you can still become an expert in your chosen field if you have spent years working on it without success. It means that hard work pays off in the long-term.
In a world where the media portrays people as either overnight successes or utter failures, Getting There is refreshing. It shows you how you can take control of your future and bounce back from the inevitable setbacks. It offers reassurance and guidance, just like any good mentor.