I’m closing “How To Think Sideways”

By Holly Lisle

Friday, October 9th, I’m closing my “how to write novels and have a writing career” course, How To Think Sideways.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, the course worked much better when people were going through all at the same time, as a class. It was more fun for students, and it was more fun for me. The board discussions were great.

Second, I’m getting ready to start into the writing of
How To Revise Your Novel, and it’s almost certain to entail the 70+ hour weeks that Think Sideways did, and I need to simplify as much of everything else as I can. Which means, in this case, not having sign-up issues to track down at the same time that I’m buried in course work.

Most student problems occur during the first week, when students are unfamiliar with the classroom interface, miss the tutorial (top of left-hand column), and because of this, can’t find lessons, or don’t know where their private workgroup is, or how to sign up for it, or are new to the internet and need help downloading lessons the first time.

Normally, this is no big deal. It’s fun helping people find their way around the class and discover the cool stuff I have in there.

But 70+ hour workweeks change drastically how I operate.

When I’m on a BIG project—and HTRYN is one—I only check e-mail once a day, and NEVER on weekends.

I give my TS students top priority—so this complicates things. I have great moderators in class, but some things (including PayPal stuff) only I can handle.

TS emails are the first e-mails I answer, and some days, the ONLY emails I answer.

AND I’m doing my own e-mail again—the helpdesk software I found was actually eating e-mails that neither Craig nor I got. Actively evil.

ALL mail is once again coming to directly to me.

Two weeks from now, I need to have my mail box mostly calm.


I want the current students to have the fun and excitement with this that the first class had—a good group of folks, lively discussion on the boards, great support from other writers for both the triumphs and the tribulations of getting the words down right.

If you’ve been on the fence, now’s the time.

I’m keeping the doors open until Friday at noon Eastern Daylight Time. I want students to have time to settle in, and I need you to have at least a week to find everything and to give me a chance to make sure everyone has everything working, so I won’t be making exceptions for latecomers.

If you’re not familiar with the course, you can find out more here:


THIS week, I’ll check e-mails even on the weekend, and make sure folks can get settled into class and find everything.

This week and all next week, new students will start finding their way around and I’ll be on hand (with Margaret, Tech Goddess, on call) to iron out any difficulties you may have early on.

And then you’ll be a veteran of the course, and the few e-mails I’ll get, I’ll be able to handle.

I’m not sure when I’ll open Think Sidways again, but it won’t be until after the “EarlyBird class” of “How To Revise Your Novel” graduates, which should be around March? April? It could be when the Official HTRYN Class graduates, which will be in mid-May.

Furthermore, I’ll only be offering Think Sideways in limited-sign-up classes from now on.

I’ll probably make the class available twice a year, but I may alternate it in availability with HTRYN, would would make it available once every 10 months.

We’ll see.

For now, if you know you want to take the course, or simply want to find out more, go to:


Questions? Ask them here.

Want to ask questions to current students and grads. You can ask those here, too.

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