Sneak peek: HTTS Ultra bonus (partial)


How To Think Sideways is all about digging in, tipping everything you thought you knew about writing on its side, learning techniques that will make your writing FLY.

It takes time, but you get amazing results.

When you’re sitting in the MIDDLE of a writing problem, what you really want is a quick fix to get you over THIS hurdle, right now.


You told me where things were going wrong—what your writing problems were.

Now take a look at what that turned into…

I recognized your problems as I read through them. At one time or another, I’ve hit them. If you write long enough, you will.

I didn’t have time to live with them or suffer through them, though, because if I didn’t write, we didn’t eat. So I fixed them. And I was willing to try some pretty strange shit to do it.

Now I’m going to show YOU what worked.

Here are just a few of the high-speed, maximum-intensity workshops you’ll be getting in HTTS Ultra—crunchy little morsels you can plug into your worst writing problems instantly—no theory, no fluff, just the fix you need whenever you need it:

  • Get Beyond The Blinking Cursor
    Get words—good words—on the page in just minutes, without anxiety, without dread, without second-guessing yourself, without struggling for the ONE perfect word, or sentence, or paragraph your mind insists you must have.

  • “But I’ll Never Be Shakespeare…”
Stall out because you compare yourself to writers you aren’t and never will be? Here’s a quick and dirty solution to stop THAT little problem dead in its tracks.
  • Defenestrate The Dwindling, Superfluous Self-Aggrandizement Of Perambulating Verbosity
Description dragging your story through frozen molasses? This quickie will pitch the blather out the window in a hurry.

  • “I Can’t Make Myself Write.”

    If this is your problem, I have a fix. I call this one the “Ice Water” exercise. It’s a shocker.

  • Cure Hummingbird Brain
Write, delete, backup, fidget… New idea—“Hey, that’s cool,”—new character magically appears… “SQUIRREL!”—glass of water, check the email… 
Sound familiar? This frikkin’ defines me. Here’s how I fight it—and win—every damn day.

  • Fix Day-Week-Month Stalls
You’re moving along at a steady page, getting your daily word count…until you hit a story problem. And you stop to figure it out…only the quick stop turns into a day…a week, a month… This one is an EASY fix.

  • Conquer Wild Bob, The Plot Destroyer
So you have this out-of-control character, and he insists that your story is going to go HIS way, in spite of the fact that HIS way bears no resemblance to the story you want to write. You have some new alternatives to get him to toe the line. He won’t like them. But you will.

  • Create Lightning Conflict for Every Situation
Struggling with what conflict is, how it works, or how to get it into your story now? I once plotted an entire novel using JUST this trick. (Deadlines, again, and howling desperation).
  • Break the Perfectionist Freeze

    Can’t write anything because it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time through? Yeah. I remember that. You may have to repeat this exercise, but you’ll get wonderful first-draft words when you’re done.

And many more…

But not today. :D The rest will wait until the launch.

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I’ve printed off your replies for the #HTTS Ultra Surprise

I printed off all 270 of the replies on the post at the moment. You can read all existing comments and STILL add your biggest writing problem to the list. I’ll continue to manually add any new comments to the existing list THROUGH THE END OF SUNDAY, EDT. You’ll still be able to add your comments after that, but they won’t make it into what I’m building.

I know exactly what I’m going to do now, and I just need to separate the responses I got (plus those I get this weekend) and see how many of them fall into similar categories, and where the variations are big enough to create subcategories…


:D You’ll like this. I’m unbelievably excited. I’ll let you in on the details on either Tuesday, or Thursday, depending on how long I need to put all those replies into a useful and comprehensive order.

Thank you SO MUCH for your responses.

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Help me build the How To Think Sideways Surprise

I’m putting together the How To Think Sideways Surprise—the extra course material that everyone gets when they join the new version of How to Think Sideways, ULTRA.

(Legacy students and grads will upgrade automatically and for free—but you can still help build the Surprise.)

I want to make sure the Surprise is spectacular.

To make it great, I need to know this:

What part of writing do you find most difficult?

Anyone—even folks who aren’t considering joining the course, can comment here.

I’ll let you know what the HTTS Surprise is going to be in a week or two.

(And I’ll get back to writing soon. I’m still working from 7AM to midnight every day getting this put together—once it’s done, I’m back to Create A World Clinic. And Write A Book With Me will resume. Clearly I’m not a great pace rabbit anymore, though. :/)

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Favorite I want to promote my students’ writing #htts

WinnerI would like to include the names and cover art of any students of mine who have published (and who found the course helpful or essential to your publication) on the course page on my sites and sales pages. For those of you who have published multiply, I’d like to include up to three of your favorites, plus “…and [X] more titles…”

If you’d like to see an example of what I’m talking about, go to the How To Think Sideways enrollment page. SCROLL about a third of the way down, and you’ll start seeing student book covers and comments.

I don’t care about genre, I don’t care about commercial or self pub. Story length doesn’t matter. If you’re selling shorts, I’ll happily include magazine cover art along with the title of your story. I KNOW my students have published in every imaginable genre (and in a couple other mediums, too). That is, in fact, the POINT.

What I care about is that you wanted to write stories for people to read, and you DID.

And you can do some self-promoting here. Simply reply with:

  • your name (or pen name),
  • a link to your books (with copyable cover art),
  • and the titles you’d like for me to include.
  • Fill in the reply form with your How To Think Sideways student e-mail address. Don’t worry: It won’t show up here. But with it, I’ll be able to validate your account.
  • If you use a name or pen name very different from your student account, contact me via Support and let me know your details.

If you also tell me in a single, short sentence the most important thing about the course that helped you succeed, I’ll include your quote with your name and cover art.

ADDED LATER: Answers to email questions (specifics removed)

“Would you want to use my erotica/romantic books?”

Of course. I’ll need covers with some clothes on (or I’ll do something cute to keep the title showing, and a little package graphic to cover anything…well, graphic)—but a LOT of my students write erotica/romantica. Post your links, let me have your necessary details. :D

“I took the course, but I write nonfiction.”

No problem. Writing fundamentals and the creative process work across all forms of writing. I’ll happily add you and your nonfiction covers and credits to the page, and you can post your links here.

“After I took HTTS, I started working as a columnist with a paper.”

I’ll be happy to promote you. Ask if you can use your paper’s logo. I’ll add that, plus your column name and your name—and of course, provide a link to your column here.

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Create A World Clinic, plus How To Think Sideways ULTRA Big News #htts #wabwm

First, got 1087 words on Create A World Clinic yesterday, so hit my mark. :D

I’m now doing two things: Mornings, I’m writing “World”. Afternoons, I’m putting together the new version of How To Think Sideways, which will be Ultra.

The BIG NEWS For Grads and Current Students of How To Think Sideways LEGACY Version

You folks have stuck with me for years. Your loyalty got me through hard times, your emails made me laugh (and occasionally cry), your Eureka moments made bad days into good one, and your progress and accomplishments thrill me. I appreciate you.

When How To Think Sideways ULTRA goes LIVE, I’m putting you into the new classroom (with Margaret’s technical wizardry) with no upgrade fee, no extra charges…nothing. You’ll get everything in the new formats, plus you’ll get all the new materials, the new surprise, and anything else I can think of to put in there. THANK YOU.

BONUSES for Think Sideways Direct and Think Sideways Premium Students

The software Margaret built for me is COOL.

If you’re an HTTS DIRECT student, why do you care?

Because it means if you already own all the lessons (or own enough that you’d prefer to Bring Your Own Lessons [BYOL]), you’ll be able to upgrade to the BYOL version How To Think Sideways ULTRA and not be charged for them a second time. This is something the old software could never have done.

But what about if you’re an HTTS Premium Student?
You’ll ALSO be able to subtract your Premium membership from the cost of your upgrade to ULTRA. (Again, new software lets me do much more for my students).

What’s NEXT?

I’m going to be asking HTTS Grads (who know what the old versions included), what do you still need to know?

And I’m going to be asking current students and folks considering the course, what do you need to know?

We’ll be talking about a new (additional) bonus course, your ideas, wishes, dreams, and hopes…

And before the course goes live, I’ll let you in on the surprise.

But today I just wanted all of you who took the course, or are taking it, than when ULTRA debuts, I’ve got you covered.

“What Happens If I Don’t Upgrade?”

Apparently there’s been some concern that folks who don’t upgrade will lose their boards, or their access, or…

No. I don’t DO that to people. If you don’t upgrade, absolutely nothing will change. You’ll have exactly what you had before. :D

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Back! Survived my journey through Heck. #wabwm

Margaret (my amazing tech wizard) and I have been working fourteen-to-sixeen hour days regularly for a while, and the last week has been dawn-to-pass-out with neither of us doing anything else.

But the end result as that the software she built for me that will allow me to offer all my multi-lesson courses in classrooms with all the goodies right in place and lessons delivered on a schedule…

…well, it works.

Our live test was 7-Day Crash-Revision Workshop, which accepted a small group of students on Wednesday, and a larger group on Thursday.

The software still has some rough edges—it can be slower than we anticipated in getting students into their classes—but she’s programming a fix for that now, and I’ve figured out faster ways to get to students with fixes for problems.

By the time How To Think Sideways Ultra goes live, it should be pretty smooth.

In celebration, I’m writing on Create A World Clinic today.

Don’t even remember my last word count.

But there will be words today. And on the weekend. That’s what I’m doing for fun before I start building the HTTS Ultra course into the classrooms next Monday afternoon. Because there will be words on MONDAY, too. :D

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Working on my focus with World Clinic #wabwm

Had a couple of weeks where I took off, then lost my focus when I got back. Yesterday, I finally got my feet under myself, and today I want to continue that.

Objective, 1000 words on World Clinic. And then the rest of the stuff. At this point I’m playing catch-up with getting old courses back online, plus putting the new versions of HTTS and 7-Day Crash Revision into the new system, so I haven’t even been able to TOUCH my eventual work schedule.

But for now, I’m just working my list of to-dos, and putting the writing first.

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How To Think Sideways site redesign begins

I have had another brutal migraine. My creativity is at low ebb. I’m struggling for concepts. Writing World Clinic is beyond me right now.

So, since this also needed to be done, I started into the HTTS site overhaul.

My objectives are clarity of purpose and simplicity of use.

I figure getting the entire site fixed will take me about two weeks, but I got the initial stuff laid out and live today.

I’d appreciate a few folks to tell me (just reply here) where you ran into any problem areas.

It’s NOT done. But it’s mostly workable…

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