For the past five years or so, I've taught a six week NF writing class. I've always taught the class in the fall and given students the option of staying in touch with me for help through the end of the year. Several stay in touch with me much longer because we become writer friends. I've never called it mentoring, though some of them have. All of my students have sold their work with the exception of one or two. :/ I continue to send my students and other writers I know specific markets for their works. I continue to encourage them and offer help and critiques when they ask. I've never considered myself a mentor.
I believe mentoring is very misunderstood. An agent I know started a mentoring program by putting writers together in groups of three (a Paul, Timothy and Barnabas group) but we weren't at all compatible or dedicated to helping each other. I think mentoring has to just happen with people who connect with each other. Maybe it can be a business relationship where one is paying for services but I absolutely HATE that thought. The word mentor--the action of a mentor is too beautiful to be charging a fee. Needless to say, I've never had a mentor; but I have (and have had) very dear friends and critique partners who give me wonderful tips, advice and inside publishing information.
So I'll be the first to admit, I come to the word MENTOR a little fuzzy. Straighten me out. What's your definition of a mentor? Is mentor the same as a writing coach? Have you ever had either one? Did you pay? Would you like to have one or the other? Would you pay? What would the "perfect mentor" be like?
Looking forward to your comments.
P.S. FYI--I take after my dad who worked hard and never wanted to charge for anything! :)