6:47 AM – Finishing Ohio 4, starting Ohio 5, while building the new HollysWritingClasses.com site

By Holly Lisle


My website over on HollysWritingClasses.com is undergoing a massive overhaul (complete site rebuild).

And I anticipated the process taking FOUR months.

Turns out… it’s probably not anything like that.

My amazing community moderators over there have already finished building all the classrooms in the new software, and getting all the class materials into them — a process I’d expected to take about two months. That means that all the lessons, all the downloads, all the videos, all the EVERYTHING… are done.

Except for the lesson timers (the things that make a new lesson show up each week for the writer taking the class), which I have to go in and do manually.

Turns out, that takes about ten seconds a lesson, and all the lessons are (for the person building the class), on the same page, so you can just go through and check a box and put in a number and it takes a couple seconds if you’re being careful. 

So, timers are a non-issue. I have to do them, but they won’t slow anything down. That’s what I’m going to do today on all the classes… and I anticipate having all the classes done today… even if I have to duplicate the BIG classes to offer the slower-pace/smaller monthly price one-lesson-every-OTHER-week option.

I’d figured another two months for my two database guys to figure out how to move all the existing members and all their existing classes into the NEW database, while I built the front end — the sales pages for the classes, for us to test the new classroom with the new, beautiful, professional, already integrated shopping cart.

And it very well might take us that long.

But since the software we’re using has built-in professional integration with the shopping cart we’re using… probably not.

Moving ever single writer who ever bought a class (and who therefore still owns it) into the new database might in fact take two months. 

But I’m going to say odds are pretty slim that anything else will.

So I’m saying  BEST CASE, we could be on the new software and live on December 8th (one month from now).

I’m saying that the Reasonable Assumption is that we’ll be moving everyone and everything to the new site (and the new site to HollysWritingClasses.com) around the New Year.

I’m excited. There are a lot of things I’ll be able to do on the new software that I cannot do on the old software… but that’s a post for another time.

Right now… I’m heading in to write the ending of Ohio 4 novel. Yep. LAST SCENE. And I know what I want to have in it.

Tomorrow, I’ll start outlining Ohio 5.

Get Holly’s Free Fiction Sampler, plus Weekly Fiction Updates, and when these books go on sale, get invited to the launch.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

The Ohio Series: Novel 1 – Define “crazy”… And a note about my email list revamp

By Holly Lisle

My main character is finding herself in a situation where reality is meshing badly with her previous understanding of reality. She’s doing the best she can with it, but she’s kind of missing the days when the worst thing that happened to her was that she got shot at.

Thinking maybe going back to THAT job would be a serious step up.

Had a great writing day, got 2053 new words, finished up yesterday’s second scene, and got a good chunk of a new scene today. And I keep loving this world more and more.

My favorite moment today was my main character’s “ahah!” moment about conspiracy theorists and their connection to areas in the country with low population densities. That might be tomorrow’s snippet…

MAJOR fun. 

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

And on a another topic, I am overhauling my mailing lists, simplifying the selections, and deleting a few things I’m not going to be pursuing anymore from the options, and have dumped the “game” concept from the option selection because it was impossible to maintain, and too hard for folks to use.

So if you are already on my mailing list, I’ve deleted all your tags except for the “big class owner” tags for HTWAN, HTRYN, HTWAS, and HTTS.  You’ll get the new “pick your interests” email when I get it done.”

If you’re if you’re considering signing up for emails from me in the next week, it’s going to take me about a week to get you your  Preference Email.

Here’s why.

I’ve deleted all the tags folks added to their emails before. Have selected just the tags for projects and activities I’ll be supporting in the future — and now I have to build that email. Selecting tags is a light process on the user end. It is intensive and complicated on the builder end, though, and as the builder, I’m going to need about a week to put together the structure that underpins “click the link you want, add that tag to your email.”

So please hang with me while I get this done.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Removed almost 10,000 folks from my Writing Tips newsletter

By Holly Lisle

It was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. There’s something comforting about thinking you’re talking to 21,000+ people at a time.

But at the point where folks haven’t opened a single email you’ve sent in six months, you’re NOT talking to them.

So if you look at the green Writing Tips sign-up form in the sidebar, you’ll see that instead of 21,779 people on the list, I now have 12,217. (Well, I just looked at at the moment it shows 13,000 and change…but the database shows the lower number, so I’m guessing it will take a little time for the form to catch up to my massive deletion).

I’ll go through my other newsletters soon, and I’ll do the same clean-out process. But I wanted to note that if you’re on the Writing Tips newsletter, you can double-check to make sure you’re STILL on it by opening any email from me and clicking the “Change Subscriber Options” link at the bottom.

If you’re there and subscribed, good. If you’re there and Unsubscribed, you can click the Subscribed button to start getting emails again.

If you get an error page, you didn’t show up as having read anything for more than six months. You can sign-up again here if you’d like:


I’m getting back to adding new tips and answers to letters from readers to the list.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Results of the “Help I’m Looking For” Writers’ Survey

By Holly Lisle

I did a survey of folks on my Writing Tips newsletter, many of whom have dropped out of regular readership.

Many of whom have a good reason for doing so.

The migraines don’t prevent me from working (most of the time) because I am tenacious and I’ll put up with a lot of pain before I give up. (This is, after all, how I got published in the first place.) This post, for example, is the sort of thing I can do with a migraine.

But the part of me that is creative crawls off in a hole and cries during migraines. Coming up with writing tips is big-C Creative. It does not play well with migraines. And when I’ve been feeling halfway decent, I’ve been working on stuff that pays the bills.

But I want to get back to doing cool things with the newsletter. So:

I asked the following four questions:

Where are you in your writing progress right now?
Answers I got:

  • 598 (76.6%) said, “I’m working on creating my first work”
  • 128 (16.4%) said, “I’ve finished projects, but I don’t know how to revise them”
  • 46 (5.9%) said, “I’m self-publishing regularly, but would like to do it better”
  • 8 (1%) said, “I’ve given up–I’ve moved on to other interests”

Receiving the following emails would help me reach my writing goals:
Answers I got (these were multiple choice, so totals are more than 100%):

  • 956 said, “Writing tips once a month”
  • 707 said, “Questions from readers that you answer once a month”
  • 679 said, “Links to blog posts discussing aspects of writing that interest me (select preferred topics from SUBJECTS list)
  • 490 said, “Notice of new writing articles on your site”
  • 219 said, “Shop coupons”

The writing SUBJECTS I most need help with are:
Answers I got (these were multiple choice, so totals are more than 100%):

  • 845 said, “Writing skills info: plotting, characterization, scene development, dialogue, worldbuilding, story structure and pacing, etc.”
  • 627 said, “Advanced skills: career development, novel revision, series development and management, etc.”
  • 619 said, “Functional skills: time management, motivation, scheduling writing time, developing project deadlines, etc.”
  • 498 said, “Basic creative start-up info: how to get ideas, how to start stories, how to make myself write, etc.”
  • 310 said, “Basic technical start-up info: software, hardware, document formatting, contact instruction such as how to write query letters, etc.”
  • 88 said, “Something else” From this, I’ve received a bunch of new course requests, including a LOT on self-publishing, self-promoting, some advanced writing topics, some absolute beginner writing topics…. I’m putting the requests into an inspiration folder that I can pull from when I get ready to create new courses. As always, I’ll run ideas through here first to make sure enough people are interested to make it worth the investment in my time and effort. There are some GREAT ideas in there.

Do you resent me including information on my available novels and writing courses in your free emails?
Answers were:

  • 1056 (99.5%) said, “No.”
  • 5 (0.5%) said “Yes. (Please cancel your subscription. While I’m willing to offer free help to struggling writers, I can only do this if I get paid for the novels and courses I create. If you resent my inclusion of links to the work that allows me to help you, you don’t want my help. Unsubscribe instructions are below.)”

So far, about a hundred others however, most of whom did not fill out the survey, unsubscribed.

So what does this mean?

  • First, it means that I have some wonderful folks on my list—and for those of you who sent good wishes on the migraines, thank you very much.
  • Second, it means that I’m going to be getting back to work on adding new stuff to the writing tips list.

    Folks in Year One on the list will get a new writing tip every week. Folks who have been with me for more than a year should start looking for one writing tip a month, plus one other cool content email—either a round-up of writers questions and answers, or a discussion of some aspect of writing or publishing I’m currently dealing with, or a link to a blog discussion here, or one of the other things folks would find useful.

  • I’ll continue to include links to courses I offer that meet the needs students have noted above. Aside from new releases, which I’ll promote regularly for a week or two, the links will be attached to content emails, and they’ll just fly by, so if you see something you like, go after it when you see it.
  • I’m going to be adding what I’m thinking of as Specific Task Classes to HowToThinkSideways.com.

    These will be classes that use existing courses: Character Clinic, for example. You get Character Clinic separately, and then you do a Specific Task Class to create (as an example only) the Hero, Sidekick, Romantic Interest, and Villain for your next story.

    Or a class built around Plot Clinic that will help folks set up plots for related 2500-word short stories to sell as limited-run series.

    For Specific Task Classes (I’ll come up with a better name, I promise), you bring your own textbook, but you’ll get worksheets, audio, demos, a work board for live interaction with other students. Not sure what else. My objective with these is to keep the price low.

Here’s the link to sign up for the newsletter, in case you didn’t know I offered it:

Oh, if you want to ask a writing question for the newsletter (these will ONLY be answered in the newsletter, and I’ll pick the best questions to answer every month), ask them at THIS link: http://novelwritingschool.com/support2/


Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

Another Newsletter Question

By Holly Lisle

When people drop out of the Writing Updates newsletter, (and take the time to tell me why), it’s almost always because I’m sending more newsletters than they can read.

As you can see from my 400+ emails post the other day, I DO understand the problem, and I don’t want to contribute to someone else feeling as flattened by relevant e-mails as I do.

So here’s a poll. Please let me know how often you could get and actually read and use the Writing Updates newsletter.

You should be able to see the results this time, so you’ll know how it’s going.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this and vote on it.

How often should I mail out the HLWU newsletter?
Once every other week
Once a week
Twice a week
pollcode.com free polls

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved