Previous Writer to Writer Mentees

Mary Harpin

Mary Harpin

Spring 2015 Session

Mary Harpin is a poet, a freelance writer for creative agencies, and a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Terrain, McSweeney’s, Conclave, and elsewhere. She is at work on an interview series with Pen Parentis about the lives of writers who are also parents. Mary lives in Colorado with her husband and daughters.

Mary worked with poet Robin Scofield.

In what ways did this experience differ from, say, taking a creative writing class or workshop?
This experience was different from taking a class or working with a writing group because it gives you the chance to build a one-on-one relationship with someone who is there for one reason: to help you with your writing. Robin and I talked every week, got to know each other, and got into a rhythm of setting goals, accountability (which I need), and making progress each week. It didn’t just result in creating a relationship with a supportive, kind author. It also helped teach me the habit of checking in with myself, and gave me the momentum to keep the momentum up long-term.  
How has this experience helped your writing or work process?
It was long enough to get me into a routine that stuck. I’m still working on the work-life-balance part of being a productive writer, but it helped identify what I’m good at and what I still need to work on when it comes to the creation/execution/publication-management cycle. Having a nonjudgmental, kind voice keeping me moving (rather than my own inner voice, who never thinks I do enough) is invaluable.

Where will you and your mentor go from here, following the formal conclusion of the program?
Robin and I are planning to check in once a month to talk about progress and roadblocks and to celebrate successes. I am looking forward to having an ongoing friendship with her, mutually cheering one another on and continuing to progress


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