Stop Saying “Someday” to Your Writing

  • Someday Lesson: Systems help overcome fear and get you moving towards your dreams.

Yesterday I wrote about break the hold procrastination has over us and in almost every area of my life I’ve done just that. I’m productive, I move things forward bit by bit and I do what I love.

And yet when it comes to my fiction, I avoid writing like the plague even though it’s my number one passion. And I know I’m not alone. Many authors talk about the fear of the blank page – the fear of not writing something good, of never getting published, of wasting our lives on something that no one will ever read.

I could let that fear run my life and ruin any chance of ever getting published, or I could do something proactive to remove the fear and create a system that develops solid, sellable ideas and provides me with a way to move forward at a steady pace without feeling like I’m forcing myself to write.

Fortunately I didn’t have to create the system myself though. Instead I found a program developed by prolific writer Holly Lisle, called How To Think Sideways. This Career School for Writers has been teaching me how to structure my creativity in a way that enhances the ability of my muse to come up with great ideas that I’m passionate about following through on. And it sets up a well-ordered process that takes me from the hint of an idea to the finished product.

Although I’m currently only a third of the way through the program, I’ve already seen a huge change in how I write. I no longer see my writing as something huge and looming – a blank unknown that I’m diving into. Instead I see a step-by-step way to move forward and harness my creativity in a way that won’t drive me mad with frustrated starts and stops.

Pretty awesome, eh?

So just what’s in this wonder course? Well…

With this course, Holly Lisle not only stimulates idea generation, but shows how to do it on a deadline. She also shows how to effectively plan your projects as well as walk you through the beginning, middle, and ending sections of your novel.

This course, delivered in weekly lessons, includes:

  • Monthly video that covers the month’s main topic
  • Weekly lessons with assignments
  • Weekly technique demonstrations
  • Monthly checklist of all steps to take
  • A monthly Q&A made up of questions taken from the course forums
  • Private workgroups (optional)
  • Class discussion forum to interact with other students

Writers spend hundreds of dollars taking courses to learn more about their craft. At $47 a month, How to Think Sideways goes above and beyond, showing you how to make the most of your imagination.

Here is a closer look at what you will be learning.

  • Sideways Thinking: Ideas
    • Week 1: How to Break the Four “Thinking” Barriers to Your Success
    • Week 2: How to Discover Your Writing “Sweet Spot”
    • Week 3: How to Generate Ideas On a Deadline
    • Week 4: How to Recognize and Build On Good Ideas
  • Sideways Thinking: Project Planning
    • Week 5: How to Define Your Project’s Needs
    • Week 6: How to Discover (or Create) Your Project’s Market
    • Week 7: How to Develop Your Personal Project System
    • Week 8: How to Plan Your Project While NOT Killing Your Story
  • Sideways Thinking: First Chapters
    • Week 9: How to Write From Inside Your Story
    • Week 10: How to “Plan” Surprises that Surprise Even You
    • Week 11: How to Design Compelling Queries, Proposals, and Sample Chapters
    • Week 12: How to Create, Complicate, and Solve Problems
  • Sideways Thinking: Middles
    • Week 13: “Can’t I Just Kill Them All?” How to Fall In Love With Your Project A Second Time
    • Week 14: How to Find and Use Your “Planned” Surprises
    • Week 15: How to “Hire” Spies, and Why Your Project Needs Them
    • Week 16: How to Assess Your Progress and Make Mid-Course Corrections
  • Sideways Thinking: Endings
    • Week 17: How to Work With Editors, Agents, Marketing Departments, and Artists, and Not Wreck Your Project.
    • Week 18: How to Find the RIGHT Ending
    • Week 19: How to Bend Your Plan Without Breaking It
    • Week 20: How to Write the Ending That Sells the Next Book
  • Sidways Thinking: Wrap Up/Start Again
    • Week 21: How to Plan Your Revision
    • Week 22: How to NOT Fix What Ain’t Broken (While Still Fixing What Is)
    • Week 23v How to Deliver What You Promised and What They Want On Deadline
    • Week 24: How to NOT Be a One-Book Wonder—Learn to Produce Repeatable Results

P.S. Yes, I’m an affiliate of the program, so when you sign up, I make some money off the sale.

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8 thoughts on “Stop Saying “Someday” to Your Writing

  1. SimoneWhite says:

    Alex, Thank you for recommending such a fantastic product!!

    I am presently unemployed, a grateful cancer survivor finding it a challenge getting back into the workforce – not for want of trying tho. In an effort to move my life forward I look for any opportunities to write and have it published.

    I see myself as a writer. Simone White, published author. It looks good. And so today, whilst I waited around for the guy who’s paying me some cash to drive him to his appointments whilst he re-earns his license, I write. I start with a list of all the ideas I can think of: topics, lessons I’ve learnt, short story ideas, etc. Each time I wait for 10-15 minutes, I put pen to paper and the lines add up over the day.

    Thank you for supporting me in making my dream come true.
    Simone, published author 🙂

  2. Cara says:

    Holly Lisle has great writing advice. Her One-Pass Revision method on her website is excellent. For extra day-to-day motivation, have you considered joining an online writing group like I’ve found it to be a fantastic community of pre-professional and professional writers (and some agents and publishers too). We motivate each other with advice, word count challenges (right now there’s a summer challenge where we finish a first draft of a novel by Sept. 1), online critiques, guidance on submitting to agents and publishers, background checks to avoid scams, and all-around camraderie. It’s worth a look.

  3. Hi – I just found your blog site through Zen Habits. Fantastic inspiration – I especially enjoyed this post since I always need a bit of motivation for my personal writing, blog writing, etc. So glad I found you!

    Laura Cococcia´s last blog post..Living an Excellent Life – Even In The Wake of Loss

  4. Sounds like a great product! I really needed this post — and I need to stop saying “someday” to my writing — so thank you!

    Positively Present´s last blog post..happiness (is not) for sale!

  5. Alex Fayle says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’re using waiting time to write. It’s a great way to move writing forward without telling yourself “I’m sitting down to Write now” and then have all this pressure to BE CREATIVE. Instead you just make it a part of your day and you produce. Well done!

    That forum sounds a lot like Forward Motion Writers which is a forum Holly set up years ago and is now run by Lazette Gifford. I’ve been a member for a few years and I love it. It really provides the community I’m missing by living in a non-English-speaking country.

    Welcome! I’m really happy you’ve found the site useful for you. I look forward to seeing you participating in the conversation here in the future!

    @Positively Present
    It’s amazing how much I still say someday to my writing even though I work on it almost every day…

  6. Cath Lawson says:

    Hi Alex – I’ve been reading Holly Lisle’s stuff online for quite a few years and I’m guessing the course will be awesome.

    With fiction, I can keep going, so long as I do some every day. If I take a break, I really struggle with the blank page. It’s silly that so many of us find it hard to give ourselves permission to write badly. It’s not like we have to show our worst work to anyone.

  7. Alex Fayle says:

    As long as I have a habit going, even if I take a couple of day’s break I’m fine. The real challenge for me is not knowing my characters – that stops me cold every single time. In fact I’m there right now – I’ve just introduced two new characters in the novel and I have no idea who they are.

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