Writers learn to write by writing. Reading a lot helps. But there is no way to teach writing to someone who is not prepared to put in the hours, the careful thought, the intense concentration and sheer hard work that writing demands. Beginning writers are often horrified to hear that more than twenty drafts and redrafts may be necessary, at least in some parts of a manuscript, before it is ready for publication. Unless there is commitment and dedication on the part of the beginning writer then both teacher and pupil are wasting their time. There is no substitute for practise, experience, and then more practise.
What a good mentor can do, however, is give the emerging writer the confidence to keep going. There are times when every writer feels like abandoning the effort. A mentor can read, comment, make suggestions and give encouragement. Only the writer can decide whether all the effort will eventually be worthwhile. Writing, by its nature, is an expression of the writer’s inner self. Each one must find, and use, their own unique voice. No one else has that voice. It is exclusively personal and it takes courage to let it come out onto the page where it will be exposed to the wider world. A mentor can empower and support a writer through the process of finding and using their voice. But no one can teach you how to do it. It comes, as it must, from inside you.