The “want to” of writing

For years, I wanted to be a writer. I loved words. I loved books. I loved reading. That was, to me, an ideal form of entertainment. And I loved the idea of putting together stories that would entertain other people. But when I sat down to write, it wasn’t fun, and I wouldn’t follow through. Why? Partly because I had mental blocks getting in my way. Partly because I didn’t have the skills I needed to get me where I wanted to go. Partly because I didn’t have people coming alongside me, learning with me, sharing the journey, and encouraging me while I encouraged them.

The bookThe fact is, I wanted to have written, but I didn’t even really know what it looked like to actually write.

What did I really want?

For a long time, I quit more than I succeeded. I never really stopped wanting to write, but I wasn’t putting in the time or effort of writing. In some ways I think I was in love with the idea of writing… of being a writer. But I didn’t know how to be in love with the actual writing. It just seemed so overwhelming.

Then I found Holly Lisle, and that all changed. Her classes helped me realize that I was looking at the process of writing in the wrong way. I didn’t know how to set aside my desire for perfect words and sentences and ideas, and just get the story itself written down.

As I worked through How To Think Sideways (affiliate link), I pulled down some of those mental blocks, I began putting in time and effort, and I quit thinking of stories as something passive that I wanted to be entertained by, and started thinking of them as something that I would get more out of creating than I ever had from just reading. I turned up my passion and started working at being a writer. I discovered that some of the stories I knew I would love, hadn’t been written yet. So if I wanted to read them, I was the one who would need to write them.

And, big surprise here, I’m actually doing it. I am a writer. It’s no longer just a dream–it’s my identity. I’m still have things to learn. Every day I’m still met with writing challenges that can be hard. But I can no longer imagine a life in which I’m not writing, because writing is just too much fun.

What do you really want?

Because I’m passionate about writing, I wanted to make sure I let you in on an opportunity. As I said above, Holly Lisle’s writing classes have made a huge difference for me, and I’m always thrilled to be able to share them. However, How To Think Sideways will be closing temporarily later this month, and it won’t be available again for about a year. (No, Holly isn’t being rude or playing coy–she is in the middle of a major website redevelopment, and wants to be sure any recurring payments are finished during the actual changeover when it happens later this year.)

If you think you want to be a writer, or if you’re already a writer and you want to up your game, I would strongly encourage you to consider signing up for this comprehensive writing class before it disappears for a year.

How To Think Sideways (affiliate link) is the perfect class for anyone who is either just starting out in writing, or who has been writing for a while, but doesn’t have a finished novel. This is a comprehensive class that will take you from figuring out where to get an idea, straight through to preparing to submit to a publisher or even self-publishing.

How To Think Sideways is designed to help you build a career writing fiction, if that’s what you want. Obviously, there are no guarantees that your writing will sell, or that you’ll be able to quit your day job anytime soon. But as a professional author with more than 30 published novels, Holly Lisle absolutely knows what it takes to get there, and she will teach you the processes that she uses to get paid to write and publish fiction.

I’m also planning some bonuses for you, if you purchase through my affiliate link. Part of that will be special access to me, in addition to the forums on Holly’s site. I’ll be taking a project through HTTS at the same time that you’re working through it. So you’ll get to see what I’m doing, and I can give you feedback on what you’re doing. I’ll be posting one more time before registration closes, and I’ll give you the details on what you’ll get from me then.

I hope you’ll consider joining me! Follow your dreams, and become the writer you always hoped to be.

Note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you make purchases on the sites linked to, I may receive compensation.

See my first post on Holly’s How To Think Sideways here.

You’ll want these bonuses for HTTS

I promised some bonuses for How To Think Sideways, but Holly has promised some bonuses too. The first 25 people who register for the class when it opens are going to get these sweet deals. If you’re thinking about it, jump quickly!

FIRST CONFIRMED SALE:

3 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chats with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or issues with your WIP, or just chat*, PLUS any 3 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

SECOND CONFIRMED SALE:

2 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chats with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or your WIP, or just chat.* PLUS any 2 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

THIRD CONFIRMED SALE:

1 private recorded (so you can keep a copy and don’t have to take notes) half-hour Skype chat with me, where you can ask me your HTTS writing questions, brainstorm a story idea or your WIP, or just chat.* PLUS any 1 workshops of your choice from the Workshops List. PLUS BONUSES FOR 4th – 10th and 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

4th – 10th CONFIRMED:

1 group webinar** (1 hour+) on a writing topic chosen by the group, with Q&A afterwards, plus two Short Courses of your choice (does not include bundle). PLUS BONUS FOR 11th – 25th confirmed sales.

11th – 25th CONFIRMED:

1 group webinar** (1 hour+) on a writing topic chosen by the group, with Q&A afterwards.
The launch starts tomorrow Friday, Feb. 27th at 10:00 AM ET, and a lot of folks are going to be lined up waiting for the page to go live.
While you’re waiting, though, you can still get her Free 3-Day Workshop. ALL THREE DAYS are available now.

http://www.hollylisle.net/Think-Sideways-Class.html

Free mini-class from Holly!

Hey – I know this is late notice. But I just found out that Holly is offering 3 free mini-workshops leading up to the re-launch of Think Sideways.

This class would be a perfect way to get a feel for Holly’s teaching style before making the commitment to one of her big classes. As I said, this  is 100% free, but it’s designed to help you develop some story ideas, right out of the box, and it comes complete with downloadable worksheets!

JimCarrey-youcanfailIf you’re interested (and why not… it’s free!!!), click this link to get the Three Free Writing Mini-Workshops. You won’t find this on her main site – it’s only for people referred by other members. Doesn’t that make you feel special!

So go get it now! All that’s required is an email address.

Note: The link above is an affiliate link. If you purchase anything after clicking that link, I may receive compensation.

Official: Think Sideways on February 27th

Registration Re-opens on FEBRUARY 27th…for just 7 days. How To Think Sideways Ultra

How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers (affiliate link) is the most comprehensive “how to write fiction for a living” course I’ve ever seen.

It’s Holly’s most popular course.

It’s a course that has graduated many, many students who have gone on to professional writing careers.

On FEBRUARY 27th at 10 AM ET, registration will be open for seven days.

At the end of that seven days, HTTS will be unavailable for at least a year.

So if you’re considering signing up for this amazing class, consider quickly. Registration re-opens in a week, and it will only be open for a week.

And don’t forget, if you sign up using my affiliate links, you will get some special bonuses from me. I’ll let you know what those bonuses are when Holly opens the launch.

Note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you make purchases using these links, I may receive compensation.

The fun of writing

I’ll admit it… writing is hard. Like, really hard.

But I’ll let you in on a secret. Some of the hardest things in life are also the most fun and the most fulfilling. Just ask Sean White, the world-class snowboarder who has won both Olympic and X-Games gold medals. Or ask Alex Honnold, the climber who has conquered locations like Yosemite’s Half Dome. Or even ask someone like Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook.

I’d bet dollars to donuts that those guys each think they have the best job in the world. They have fun every day when they show up to work. And they work hard, all the time; much harder than it looks like from those of us who just look at how much fun they’re having.

What is fun?

But what is fun, really? It’s putting in enough effort to make something look effortless. It’s being fully committed to what you’re doing in a way that makes other people sure that you’re exactly the kind of person who should be doing it. It’s developing the skills over time to take you farther than you ever dreamed possible when you first started out. And usually, it’s interactive–we rarely have fun by ourselves.

  • You have to be passionate, knowing that what you’re working toward is what you want more than anything else you could be doing.
  • You have to practice (a lot!), sometimes figuring out what works and what doesn’t by “brute force” or trial and error.
  • You have to be willing to keep learning, because sometimes what you know will get in the way of what you need to know.
  • You have to always be pushing things to the next level, because once you’ve figured this one out and it’s easy for you, it’s really not fun anymore.
  • You have to connect with people who are either on the same journey as you, or who are on a related, complimentary journey; people looking for someone they can commiserate with, be encouraged by, and learn from.

In short, you have to get outside your comfort zone. Because, let’s face it, being comfortable is safe, but it’s rarely actually fun or fulfilling.

But wait, you might say, what about having fun doing something passive, like watching movies? We call that fun, but really it isn’t. It’s entertaining which isn’t the same thing. Real fun takes real effort. The actual fun in watching a movie often comes afterwards, when you’re picking the plot, the acting, the wardrobe, and the cinematography apart with your friends.

Have fun writing

It sounds counter-intuitive, but I didn’t start having fun as a writer until I decided to embrace the difficulty and really started working at it.

If you like the idea of being a writer, and are ready to put in the effort to make it really fun, I want to encourage you to check out How To Think Sideways (affiliate link). It’s a comprehensive course on fiction that will take you from planning and writing, all the way through preparing for publication. It’s available now, but it will be going away later this month as it’s creator, Holly Lisle, prepares for a major website restructuring.

I believe wholeheartedly in Holly’s methods, and HTTS has made a huge change in the quality of my writing, and (more importantly) the fun I have writing.

Before Holly closes the class, I’ll let you know a little more about my experience in her class. And I’ll also let you in on a few bonuses if you decide to order her class through my link. But for now I’ll just say that I wouldn’t be the writer I am without How To Think Sideways and the community that has grown up around Holly’s classes.

I’ll be going through How To Think Sideways again, and I hope you decide to join me!

Note: links on this page are affiliate links. If you make purchases on the sites linked to, I may receive compensation.

Thundercats are go!

It’s alive!

We have liftoff!

Soup’s on!

Time to rock-n-roll!

Whatever euphemism you care to use, they all mean the same thing. The HTTS Student Anthology, The Adventure of Creation, is now available for sale!

You can find it on Amazon.com either as a paperback or as a Kindle ebook. Buy early and buy often!

And, of course, I’d love to hear your feedback on my debut publication. My story is entitled, Finding Light. You’ll find me on page 186. It is published under the name Amy Padgett.

Cover reveal – The Adventure of Creation

The cover for The Adventure of Creation was actually officially announced on the HTTS blog on Monday. I’m absolutely thrilled to share the news here as well.

And for those who may not be aware, I wasn’t just one of the judges – I’m fortunate enough to have a story included as well. (We didn’t vote on our own stories, and I’m humbled and pleased that my fellow mods rated my story as highly as they did.)

At the beginning of the year the moderators for the How To Think Sideways forum (of which I am one) approached her with the idea of an anthology to celebrate the 5th anniversary of “How to Think Sideways.”  Holly agreed to the idea and even added a monetary prize for the top stories. After a very, very difficult selection process, we settled on thirty-five stories. It’s a pity that we couldn’t take them all.

With the stories selected and in Holly’s hands to pick a winner, we are proudly presenting to you:

The
Adventure
of
Creation

Think Sideways
Writers Anthology
presented by
Holly Lisle


35 marvelous short stories
by gifted new writers

Follow a girl to the Below-World to slay the Sharkshadow, or help a timid girl to overcome the destructive criticism of her art teacher. Witness a solitary drone on Mars or a naive homunculus struggle to become human. Sew with a mother who lost her daughter in a quilt, defeat super-villains in a bank robbery with an unlikely superhero, or join a great mage in the fire.

In thirty-five imaginative stories, emerging authors present the diversity of their creativity. Each author found a different angle for the unifying theme: The Adventure of Creation. Witness the talent nurtured by writing teacher, Holly Lisle. For the 5th anniversary of her first big writing course, How to Think Sideways, this anthology features the best of her talented students in a great variety of genres.

The eBook and print book will be released on the 24th of July. Help us spread the word. If the anthology is successful, there is a good chance that we’ll do another one next year.

Anthology stories have arrived – I’m excited!

HTTS Student Anthology

Photo By: Moyan BrennCC BY 2.0

HTTS student Anthology

About 4 months ago, one of the other moderators at How To Think Sideways had a fantastic idea. She suggested a student anthology to celebrate 5 years of Sideways thinking. What a fantastic idea! Since Holly’s classes are all about improving fiction writing, collecting well-written stories from her students is a great way of proving that her system works. It also has the added bonus of showcasing some talented up-and-coming writers.

As one of the moderators on the forum, I have the privilege of also being one of the judges for the anthology. With 60 stories having been submitted, this is no small undertaking. We have to pare down the selections by about half. Yikes!

We will be reading each story and compiling our scores based on 10 different criteria. I’ll admit it… I feel a tiny bit overwhelmed. I’ve always been a reader. I know what I like and I think I can tell good writing when I see it. But I’ve never done something quite like this before and I really don’t want to screw it up! I’m sure it will be fine though… it’s just the adrenaline talking.

Working on my own anthology

Not only am I a judge in the contest, I’m a contestant. (Don’t roll your eyes at me that way – I have recused myself from judging that particular entry.)

But I just wanted to mention that I had a fun time writing my story for this anthology, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. I have no doubt that I could have improved it further, but word-count limitations (2500 max), time limitations (I was up against the deadline), and a need to let go of the need to be PERFECT meant that I had to be satisfied with what I had.

But this is just one story, and I fully intend to do more. So I’ve decided that I want to write at least 5 or 6 more short stories (possibly up to 10 or 12… we’ll see how it goes) and put out my own collection. I have no idea how long that will take me, but I’m setting a tentative goal for the end of October. That would make it a Birthday present to myself. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.