Holly Lisle Rocks My Writing World


About 4 years ago, I was googling writing things and ran across a lovely lady who didn’t try to blow wind in my sail about the perils and pleasures of writing. At the time, writing about writing wasn’t as common as now, and I didn’t know any local writers, and Lord, I was a prideful creature. After trying to figure out novel writing on my own for about 3 years, which subsequently whittled down my hubris to a mere stub, I went searching on the internet for a guide.


Her name is Holly Lisle, and I started with her blog. A dim light began illuminating my manuscript. I tried a small plot course. Hallelujah, planning starting making sense. I bought a novel-writing course on a payment plan, How to Think Sideways, and my writing life changed forever.


The book that I’d been writing bits and pieces of for almost three years, fell to bits, but I knew why, and I did better with the next try. I still pop back to certain lessons when my brain is goo and my stories feel like gooier goo. She’s written over 30 books, so I feel safe in her instructing hands, and she is so good at explaining how and why she does what she does. There are very few strategies that don’t work for me.

Above is a list of Holly’s books, excluding nonfiction. Click on the image to see up close!

I’m writing this because, when I take a course from her, I learn more than I did in my college creative writing course! (Perspective: It was an introductory creative writing course a thousand years ago, but still. I was surprised.)


It was my first venture investing in learning without a certificate or degree as an end result, and I was so pleased.

All this to say, when I received an email, explaining that there is a Holly Lisle patreon page, I was so happy! Here she is still giving to me continually, and finally I can give something back to her on a regular basis! I don’t have a lot, but she wasn’t asking for a lot. I wish I could hug her and tell her in person how she’s affected my life, but since that could be creepy, I put my conviction in a monthly donation.

I’m not asking you to do so (unless you love her, too); I just wanted to share my excitement! If you want to know more about Holly, I’ll leave some links below.

Holly’s Website: https://hollyswritingclasses.com/

Holly’s Blog: https://hollyswritingclasses.com/blog/

Holly’s Writing Courses: https://hollyswritingclasses.com/shop/

Holly’s Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/hollylisle/posts

Sharing the knowledge, people. Just sharing the knowledge.


The Discovery of Goals

I have never made New Year’s resolutions.  No really, it’s true.  I’ve made wishes—

“Please, let my acne be unnoticeable this year.”

“I hope I can still fit into these jeans by New Year’s resolution time next year.”

“It would be great if I was doing something I loved…whatever that is.”

–but never actual resolutions.

So if you read the “About” information, you noticed that I’ve been working on First Book for about a year and a half.  I set no other goal for myself than, “Finish First Book.”  This was daunting.  I’ve heard of people who spend their entire LIVES finishing one book, and I want to write another one because my first will most likely be poo, but I only have ONE lifetime!  What’s a girl to do?!  *Commence panic attack*

I couldn’t find a paper bag to breathe in, but luckily, I found these two articles by authors Maggie Stiefvater  and Holly Lisle  which introduce a goal formula.  I hate math but I love formulas.  They’re like plans and I love, I mean LOVE, a plan.  After reading the articles, I scolded me for not caring enough about myself to expect great things from my life, comforted me for being proactive now, and began thinking about MY goals, my plan.

Here is the formula I created from these two articles:

Accomplishable by only you + describable (not vague) + positive + expiration date = GOOD GOAL

(Disclaimer: There are other aspects from the articles that I needed to consider not included in my formula, so I hope you’ll read these articles.  Above is bare bone.)

I thought a neat way to start this blog would be to share with you my goals that I have so far.  I’ll do a follow-up blog in December of 2012 to see how it went.  I already feel more accomplished for the coming up year because I know some things I WANT to accomplish instead of entering the year just hoping something interesting happens.  I feel the intimidating resolution of finishing First Book is within my grasp just because of perspective.

2012 Goals (In random order)

1.  Select a writing conference and attend.

2.  Practice my guitar and piano.

3.  Begin learning ukulele.

4.  Paint 3 canvases.

5.  Complete the rough draft of First Book by March 31st.

6.  Complete revisions by June 30st.

7.  Ready query letters and publisher packets by August 1st.

8.  Finish prep work for Second Book.

9.  Blog at least once a week.

I’m super pumped about trying this which, consequently, makes all aspects of my life (even the broken ones) much more bearable.

So, how about you?  Are you ready for 2012?