I’m fundraising with writer T-shirts

People have been asking me for T-shirts for ages. I kept trying to over-complicate the process, (trying to get names for the entire first HTTS graduating class to put on the shirt, for example).

The shirts just never got done.

Break to today. There are T-shirts. Limited-time only (there’s a reason, and I’ll get to it). They have the stunning logo Kirsten Bolda designed for me on them.

They’ll be available until Jan. 14th. TeeSpring has a little timer under the “Reserve Your Shirt” button to let you know how long you have left.

Click the images below to go to the shirt style shown

Shirts back on sale until Feb. 9th

Small logo women's WRITER shirt. CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP.
Small logo women’s WRITER shirt. CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP.
Small logo unisex hoodie, multiple colors. CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Small logo unisex hoodie, multiple colors. CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Men's/unisex small logo WRITER Tee, multiple colors CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Men’s/unisex small logo WRITER Tee, multiple colors
Large Logo Baseball Shirt CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Large Logo Baseball Shirt
Large Logo Women's Tee CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Large Logo Women’s Tee
Large Logo Men's / Unisex shirt, multiple colors CLICK LOGO FOR SHOP
Large Logo Men’s / Unisex shirt, multiple colors

Large Logo Hoodie, multiple colors CLICK IMAGE FOR SHOP
Large Logo Hoodie, multiple colors

They come in multiple colors, in lots of sizes.

Here’s why I put them together today.

I have three painful areas on the right side of my tongue. I have to go in to see my doc on the 11th. Up to this point, every time I’ve pointed out a painful area on my tongue, it has proven to be dysplasia.

This might be the time that I go in and he says, “No, everything looks great.” I hope it is.

But I cannot plan my life on hope.

He told me on my last post-op checkup that we were not going to be able to do any more tissue removal in the office with just local anesthesia. If he had to cut anything else out, it was going to have to be done in a hospital, and it was going to require the use of a laser. And because I’m an adult about these things and he’s a good doc, he told me the laser was going to leave me in a lot of pain for a month rather than a week.

Hospitals, anesthesia, and lasers cost a lot more money than a numbing shot in the jaw and in-office surgery. Last year wasn’t great for me. And I have catastrophic insurance, which means I have to spend a LOT of money before the insurance kicks in.


T-shirts. They might not be necessary. It would be wonderful if they weren’t.

But the great thing about T-shirts, hoodies, and baseball shirts is they’re still wearable (and cool) if I turn out to be just paranoid (albeit justifiably).

If you like the shirt, click the image, and use the dropdown menu to get the shirt you want.

And thanks. I hope this is just me finally delivering on the promise of T-shirts.

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97 responses to “I’m fundraising with writer T-shirts”

  1. Tammy Avatar

    Hey Holly,
    I’m late on catching up my emails….
    Just wondered if you have considered setting up a GoFundMe account on Facebook?

    Just a thought:)

    Get Well soon!!

    1. Holly Avatar

      A friend set one up for me, and I requested she take it down. I’m deeply uncomfortable accepting donations. I’m willing to get paid for things I create, but accepting charity causes me serious distress.

  2. Linda Avatar

    Hi Holly – I’m not sure I’ve ever commented. I’ve followed your blog and read your articles for YEARS. I think I discovered you in 2005. I adore your essays on writing. No one else teaches the way you do. Only recently have I started reading your fiction. (I especially love your flash fiction collection.)

    It’s odd. I know you have no clue who I am. But your work and your words have meant a great deal to me. Your lesson in HTTS on “toys on the floor” was how I learned to finally finish the hundreds of stories I’d started but didn’t know how to end. I’d read the advice: the ending is in the beginning – but had no clue how to find the ending until that lesson. I’ve now published over a dozen pieces of flash fiction in various lit mags, and I use the things I learned in HTTS all the time. Whenever I get stuck on a story, I go back to its beginning and the answer is always there.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking of/praying for you. I wanted to order a t-shirt, but couldn’t at the moment. I really hope you do another round or put them up permanently. The design is so gorgeous and I still want one!

    Also, I’m currently taking HTRYN right now and LOVING it. Just wanted you to know that. I did get the email for the shirts but followed the link from the private HTRYN forum.

    Sending nothing but good thoughts and prayers for the next round of surgery.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I love hearing the folks who used a class to get published. And I’m delighted How To Think Sideways worked so well for you.

      That makes me incredibly happy. Thank you for letting me know.

      I have the T-shirts back on sale. They’ll be up this time until February 9th, which is the longest Teespring will allow you to keep anything available (at least as far as I’ve been able to figure out to this point).

      I’ll eventually find a place where I can offer them permanently.

      1. Barbara Avatar

        Hi, Holly,
        The sweatshirt just arrived and I love it!
        Would you mind telling us how you’re doing?

        Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers

        Barbara (a longtime lurker now taking the Flash Fiction class… and bought Strange Arrivals)

        1. Holly Avatar

          Hi, Barbara.

          I went in yesterday for a CT scan. Friday I’ll go back to talk to the surgeon about what he’s found in the scan. Tuesday, I go in for a laryngoscopy (this is to rule out involvement in my throat). Following that, I’ll either have to go back in for another visit with the surgeon, or will proceed directly to surgery.

          I’m being treated by an Associate Professor at a big university teaching hospital, and the criteria for accepting patients there is that these patients have conditions that will be “interesting and educational” for the young doctors who will be following the cases.

          I’ve worked my whole life to be interesting. And educational.

          But not like this.

      2. Sharon Coleman Avatar

        set them up on Etsy (you only pay as they sell) Or you can go through cafepress (like print on demand) but for products. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Holly Avatar

          I used to use CafePress. I’d completely forgotten about them, but I really liked the quality of their stuff. Are they still good?

  3. Stephanie Avatar

    Bought my awesome, snuggly looking blue sweater. WITH money earned by book sales! That has a serious sense of rightness to me.

    So sorry for the bad news, stoked that you’re seeing a specialist who’s had so much success treating this in the past. And hell, who needs to talk? Look at Stephen Hawking please?

    You got this Holly.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you all the way around, Stephanie. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Hamlette Avatar

    Holly, I’ve been praying for you. I think by now you’ve seen the doctor and know more, but just wanted to let you know that you’re in my prayers and thoughts. It took me a couple of days to decide which shirt I wanted, and to find out if my best friend (who introduced me to your courses in the first place) was going to order one herself, or if I could get her one for her birthday. Turns out she’d already ordered one.

    I’m using your HTRYN course right now to go through the best novel I’ve ever written (which, not at all coincidentally, was the first I wrote after taking HTTS), and it is so amazingly helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us!

    Here’s a suggestion: since you have a cool logo now, could you set up a store at a site like RedBubble so we could get more things than just shirts with the logo? I, for one, would love to have it on notebooks, stickers, and maybe a new tote to carry around my rewrite folders. Just a thought!

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’m investigating RedBubble. Had never heard of it.

      And I’m thrilled you’re enjoying HTRYN. I’m so happy to be able to be back on the forums again, if only for a couple hours a day and a few times a week, that I could cry. Won’t. But could.

      Dan Allen has made this possible for me by building a the No-WordPress system, and even though it isn’t finished yet, and even though I still have a ton of stuff to do in it, I can carve SOME time out now to get back to what I love. Right now, talking with my writers.

      Soon, doing that AND writing fiction.

      On the other thing…I’ve seen the doctor, more news on that in a separate post. It was worse than I’d hoped, but not as bad as it could be.

      1. Hamlette Avatar

        I only discovered RedBubble this past summer, but since then I’ve ordered a dozen things from them — stickers, mugs, notebooks, t-shirts — and they are all excellent quality, attractive, affordable. And the site seems to be growing quickly. I hope you can figure out a way to offer your logo on things there or a similar site!

  5. Johanna Avatar

    Hi Holly, just wanted to wish you well. I know your appointment was today so I hope it went really well. I just bought a hoodie, and also wanted to let you know I was also one of the people who saw the blog post first and therefore didn’t click through in the email. I know that doesn’t explain everyone who didn’t click, but I just wanted you to know there was one more person out there who is rooting for you, who cares about your well being, and who is crossing her fingers and toes that everything works out.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, Johanna. I’m grateful for the good wishes and the hoodie purchase.

      The appointment was bad news, but it could have been worse.

      I’m about a week out from the appointment with the new surgeon now, and trying to stay focused so I don’t get panicky.

  6. Aften (aka Paula) Avatar
    Aften (aka Paula)

    Hi Holly,
    Whatever you learned today at the doctor’s office, I wish for you the strength and grace you show throughout your site. I found your email in my spam filter quite by accident. All of your regular email has always come directly to my inbox. I think it was the word ‘funding’ that may have landed it there. If so, many of us who desire to wear that logo may never have seen your mail. I’m glad I found it in time to order a couple of shirts. I have all of your courses. You are kind enough to discount newer courses for those of us who have purchased the big courses and I never fail to take advantage and give thanks for that. I know what staring down the big C feels like. I’ve done it and won 4 times. I hope you will soon be cancer-free, also.

    1. Holly Avatar

      At this point, my thing is still wavering on the cusp—it’s Stage 3 dysplasia, but has not yet become cancer in situ, or cancer at the grade above that. Our objective at this point is to keep it from reaching cancer, because this particular type does not respond well to either chemo or radiation.

      And because we were at clear margins four months ago, and we’re at painful lesions now, we really need to get everything this time. Tongues are pretty small, and they don’t grow back, and if this spreads further it can involve both soft tissue and bone in my whole head and neck.

  7. angela ameur Avatar
    angela ameur

    Holly – I’m sorry I can’t financially help but am thinking of you in your difficult time and send you love and healing energies. I pray that all will be well. I’ll also ask for help from my AEMI friends.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, Angela. I’m grateful for all good thoughts sent my way.

  8. Betty Z Avatar
    Betty Z

    Most of the time, I’m a lurker on your site. As a uni student, unfortunately I don’t have the funds to buy any of your larger courses. Nevertheless, your free materials, newsletter, and other free resources you’ve put up over the years has helped me immeasurably. Having never done HTTS, I’m not planning on buying the shirts, but I’ve had your Cadence Drake series on my to-read list for a while (long as it is) and decided to buy both of them on Kindle today. And I’ll check out that Memory of Fire deal you mentioned was on Bookbub. I hope this small amount helps, even if just a little.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Betty. EVERYthing helps. Thank you so much.

  9. Kym Kettler-Paddock Avatar
    Kym Kettler-Paddock

    Done! Purchased!

    Thank you for giving us this chance to support you.

    Kym x

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you very much.

      1. Kym Kettler-Paddock Avatar

        My shirt arrived today and is great! It’s the only writing T-shirt that I will actually wear.

        I’ve also just bought your world building series and your plot clinic and am about to buy the character clinic, as well. They are so useful! I just played Pong with my muse (my husband was travelling and wondered if this was an euphemism of some sort), and I finally worked out a key part of what makes the antagonistic force work. Without this part, the novel will be too weak.

        So thank you!

        Kym x

  10. Paula Avatar


    My heart breaks for you right now. I hate seeing someone who does so much good for so many, who I admire greatly, who manages to be my writing mentor through the amazingness of technology, who-through her own writings-I feel as though I know personally, fall into such a position.

    As for those who opened the email and didn’t check out the post, unfortunately I’m sure there are those whose thought process was as you described, and that irks me to no end. However, it’s hard for me to think that it’s that way for all of them. I, for example, frequently open your emails as soon as I get them, but will see that they’re longer than I have time for in that moment, or are linking to something I’m not sure I have time to read right then, and then I’ll simply flag the e-mail for later perusal. I’m hoping that with your fundraising email, that was the case for some others as well, and they’ll get around to checking it out before time’s up on the sale.

    Either way, even if the portion of your readership willing to help out (and receive awesome swag in return!) is smaller than we’d all like, those of us who do care, care a lot. You’re a fantastic author, a lovely person, and I hope with earnestness that all goes well and you return to health soon.

    Best wishes,

    1. Holly Avatar

      Life happens to everyone. I’ll deal with it however I must, I’ll get through it, I’ll move on.

      Hugs, and thank you so much.

  11. Lyn Avatar

    It’s probably too late to do a split test now, but I’ve noticed that the reason for the fundraising is down low in the post, under the photos of the shirts. Perhaps if the reason for the fundraiser had been higher, the participation rate might have been higher.

    On the other hand, you have a ton more experience with the internet than I do. Fingers crossed for you.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I have no doubt you’re right. It never occurred to me to split-test this, or to use any of my marketing stuff on it.

      I didn’t want to ask in the first place, I kept trying to think of something else I can do, but I simply didn’t have time. If we’d been able to get a couple more courses live on the new site and put together little launches for them in the time we had, I would have done that, because then it’s just work and I wouldn’t even have had to explain why I was doing it.

      But I go in to the doctor today, and by late this afternoon, I’ll either be in the clear for another four months, or I’ll be scheduled for surgery and have appointments I’ll have to deal with before then.

      At this point, with 102 shirts sold, I’ve raised about 20% of the half of my deductible I expect the surgery to cost.

      I’m hoping to be able to have classes ready to launch by the time any follow-up procedures are necessary so that I never have to do this again.

      1. Lyn Avatar

        I know how hard it is to be forced into doing the “I’ll do anything but _________” thing. Like, your brakes go out on a 45% grade and there’s a sharp left turn at the bottom. Do you go sailing out into the ocean straight ahead, or do you plow into the boulders slightly off to the right?

        With any luck, the engine will fall out, create a lot of drag, and bring you to a stop just shy of the cliff. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Or you land in the ocean and sprout gills. ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Holly Avatar

          I’ll take either/or/both on that. ๐Ÿ˜€

      2. Dianna Avatar

        I’ve read through the comments I can read through–my display makes part of them disappear at the end, and I presume also the comment form, so I’m piggybacking. Also, I’m sorry this ended up in the sodding muck for you. 2900 emails and only 26 clicks…

        Please *do* make the t-shirts available elsewhere on a more permanent basis; had this fundraising attempt occurred just *two weeks* later than it did, I would have been able to purchase a t-shirt. But we don’t really control the timing of these things, do we?

        I very much look forward to getting a t-shirt in the future, and sincerely regret that I can’t manage so now.

        Wishing you the best,

        1. Holly Avatar

          I’ll find a way to make them available again. And hugs. Hope things are going better for you.

  12. Karen in UK Avatar
    Karen in UK

    Dear Holly,
    Sorry to hear about your health worries. Like Melinda (justmel) above, some of us have fallen off the radar due to struggles in our own lives, but I have tried to follow you and have just purchased a hoodie and sent it off to California. Your doctor sounds very nice and committed but if you haven’t already, you might want to get a second opinion / thoroughly tested. There are 4 cancer treatment centres of excellence in Florida: the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Mayo Clinic Florida, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Florida Health Cancer Center, which includes University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute and Orlando Health’s Orlando Regional Medical Center. —===According to the National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute and the US News World Health Report, the Moffitt (H LEE) Cancer Center in Tampa is the best in Florida. Moffit tel: (813) 745-1315. Suggest getting thoroughly tested because it might not be cancer at all. So be bold and courageous. We’re all cheering for you, Holly. You’re in my prayers and I’m sure in the prayers of many others. God bless you. Karen

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much.

      I go in to see him today. When he takes a look at what I’m looking at, I’ll get recommendations. If I have to have the real surgery (as opposed to the previous office stuff) I’m going to have to have a physical workup, which means a new GP.

      I won’t be going back to my old GP, who looked at my tongue and didn’t see anything.

      I’ll get the suggested tests, I’ll do what they tell me to do, and I’ll keep up with my tea-vitamins-healthy foods regimen regardless. Very simply, I want to live, and I’ll go through what I have to in order to come out on the other side of this still breathing.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to hear that this is pain from scar tissue.

      I’m just enough of a realist to hope.

  13. NancyNB Avatar

    Hi Holly!
    Just to let you know my delay in getting the shirt was waiting for the finances, not any bad feelings from the email. I have all your classes and it’s made a huge difference in how I approach my writing. And I appreciate all you do with the website!
    You are awesome, and I send all my thoughts your way. I will wear the shirt with great pleasure!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much, Nancy. I hope you love the shirts. (I confess to buying a couple just because I want to be able to wear one for a new for a new forum picture ones this is over.)

  14. Kellie Avatar

    Don’t lose heart, Holly! Some of us read an e-mail like that, know we don’t have time at the moment to give it the proper attention, and come back later when we do have time to read the blog post. I just ordered the small logo/ writer shirt – maybe wearing “writer” will give me a confidence boost. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m praying for healing for you too, and that you’ll have peace during this difficult time.
    The words you write are always inspiring. Thanks for all you do to help us new writers.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much. I appreciate every good thought and every prayer you send my way. Knowing that there are people I haven’t met in person who are hoping I’ll be okay means more to me than I can express.

      Sometimes there really are no words.

  15. Andrea Avatar

    I’m so sorry to hear this. My thoughts are with you.
    Also, I’m trying to order two shirts, one with a large logo and one with a small logo, but apparently, I can only order one at the time. I’ve put the question to Teespring, since it’s probably a technical glitch in their website. I hope to be able to place my order soon.

    1. Andrea Avatar

      I have clicked on the email and its link a few times to try to find a way to order two different shirts and combine the shipping. It didn’t quite work out the way I wanted, but now I’ve ordered two shirts with the same logo. Unfortunately, I couldn’t order two with different size logos without raising my shipping costs considerably (since I live in Europe). Teespring regards them as two different campaigns. Anyway, I hope my order helps you, and I wish you all the best.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Click the picture you like.

    2. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much. I discovered that I couldn’t order two of the same type in different colors. Ordering different types worked for me.

      It’s definitely their site.

      1. Jean Avatar

        Hmm. I ordered three of the same type in different colors. It was a little tedious, but I got it done.

  16. melinda (justmel) Avatar

    I checked the link you posted, and I can see why you feel the way you do. The one that really got me was two complaints. Complaints? Really? A pox on those people! But Holly, please, please know that even some of us who may seem to have fallen completely off the radar do care. Or anyway I do. I opened, I clicked, I read, and I will be buying a shirt, and a hoodie too, once I decide which ones. Meanwhile I’m sending hugs, good thoughts, positive vibes, and wishes for a happy and HEALTHY rest-of-2016 after this is over.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Melinda,

      Thank you so much.

      It was the thinking that people didn’t care that hit me the hardest. In the entire time I’ve been writing emails, I have never written anything that had a response that bad.

      But I realized that I have more people who truly do care about me than most of the people on this planet. Most of the billions of the people on this planet do not care about me.

      I’m okay with that. So I can be okay with this. I have people who do care, and that’s an amazing and wonderful thing.

  17. Kirsten Avatar

    The T-shirts are a wonderful idea and I love how they turned out–although I admit I might be a bit biased. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now to decide which ones to purchase …

    I’m holding out hope you can come out with the best prognosis possible, and that your medical team finds a way to cure this terrible thing for good.
    You are in my thoughts.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’ll let folks know either tomorrow when I get back to work, or as soon as I can if things move faster that I would prefer.

      And I love how they turned out, too. Thank you again for creating such a gorgeous logo for me.

  18. Elaine Menendez Avatar
    Elaine Menendez

    My son was diagnosed with tongue cancer the first time at age 22 and twice more in subsequent years, so I know how scary all of this must be for you. By the grace of God he has been cancer-free since 2002 and because we believe in it’s power we will be fervently praying for you. Also, as soon as I get paid next week I’m there for you.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Elaine, I am thrilled for your son. And it’s the reality that folks make it through this that makes it so much easier for me to handle.

      The worst-case scenario is always bad. The best-case scenario is that it takes a really, really long time to get to the worst-case scenario.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate them deeply.

  19. Vera Lamb Avatar
    Vera Lamb

    Selfishly because I don’t want the hassle of a cross border purchase, I won’t go for the t-shirt but I would like to contribute to the ‘kitty’ as a small gesture of thanks for the huge amount of your hard won knowledge that you have so unselfishly shared with the writing community. I, for one, do not consider your very real need as begging but as a message to all of us that one of ‘our own’ needs our help and I am willing to step up in a small way. I am very fortunate to live in a country where we have Medicare for ninety-nine percent of our health problems and it does not cost us a dime for surgery or treatment. I can not imagine the dire straits I and my family would be in if we lived in the US. Where can I send a contribution?
    I wish you good news and a speedy, painless recovery.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Vera,

      Your concern and thanks and any good thoughts you want to send my way are enough.

      As I noted earlier, I am not capable of accepting contributions.

      I must earn my own way through my life one action at a time. This is an integral and essential part of who I am, as important to me as the part of me that loves to write fiction and the part of me that loves to dissect the way my brain creates fiction and puts that process into classes.

      Break any part of that and the whole thing breaks.

  20. Lyn Avatar

    Don’t be too quick to dismiss the folks buying shirts. It is taking me, for instance, a while to round up sizes and color/style preferences for my crew. Others may have the same considerations.

    Like the others, I’m feeling sad and frustrated that this has struck you again, and I’m holding good thoughts for you.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Hi, Lyn. I haven’t dismissed anyone. But there have been fewer than 100 people read this post to this point, so this issue isn’t a case where everyone who got the email had already seen the post.

      And as I said, I absolutely understand about not being able to afford one right now, or not liking the way they look, or not wearing T-shirts, or sweatshirts, or baseball shirts (a lot of folks just don’t).

      The pain point for me was that nearly 3000 people read the email (proving at least a willingness to consider helping raise funds for something, because I put FUNDRAISING right in the title so folks who won’t participate in fundraisers didn’t waste their time opening the email.

      I learned something valuable from this. I’ll never try fundraising again.

      Of that large number of people interesting in helping fund something, less than 1% would even consider helping me.

      1. cherylp Avatar

        Don’t despair. Some of us are just slow in reading emails — recovering from the holidays.

      2. Lyn Avatar

        It’s beyond my understanding. I don’t understand coldheartedness.

        Specially from those who have benefitted from your generosity in so many ways.

        Nah. I’m sticking with “This is incomprehensible.”

      3. gabby Avatar

        Hi Holly,
        I understand but don’t jump so quickly to that point of view! My life has been busy… I only just saw the email today, and then only by chance. I’m barely online at all nowadays.
        I just bought a tshirt AND a hoodie, and I don’t admit to anyone in real world that I’m a writer. So this is going to be an interesting battle with my shyness.
        I’m using this email as an excuse to finally splurge and buy the HTWAS class once the shop reopens. (I’ve already got HTTS and HTRYN)
        I also got your bookbub ad (congratulations, by the way!) and will definitely purchase the series as I didn’t have it yet.
        WE CARE ABOUT YOU. WE APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DO FOR US. Don’t lose heart or faith in us after so short a time.

        Somehow DON’T let the negativity set in. People are so disconnected. We are all in our own bubbles of crises that sometimes it takes a bit to come out of it and look around…

        I’m sorry to hear that you are still dealing with this health issue.. I truly hope and wish things will go well on Monday.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Thank you, Gabby. I’m in a much better place today than I was last week.

          I have people who care about me. I get to do what I love every day.

          And I am determined to get through this.

  21. Sally Jane Driscoll Avatar
    Sally Jane Driscoll


  22. Angie Avatar

    So sorry to hear this Holly, my fingers are crossed for you, love the T-shirts, have ordered mine.
    All the best,

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, Angie. Fingers crossed is good (though it makes typing a bitch).

      That’s why I generally go with toes.

    2. Holly Avatar

      I’m out of time to answer today. So I’m posting a general thank you to everyone who has posted here.

      I’ll return to individual thank-yous as soon as I can.

  23. Deborah Backes Avatar
    Deborah Backes

    Holly, I am an introvert and lurker, but I had to post. I have followed you since back in the 90s and have watched you give of yourself and your knowledge continually. I am praying for the best possible outcome for you. Hugs and prayers.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, Deborah.

  24. Christine Randall Avatar
    Christine Randall

    So sorry to hear about this Holly.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you.

  25. Diana Lynn Avatar

    Sending good vibes your way.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I appreciate them. Thank you.

  26. Karen Giuseppe Avatar
    Karen Giuseppe

    So sorry to hear this too and hope everything turns out alright. Thinking about you and appreciate all that you do!

  27. Nashira Avatar

    I’m also hoping everything is fine, Holly. But I bought a t-shirt, too. Your teaching is priceless.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you, Nashira.

  28. Hilary Latimer Avatar
    Hilary Latimer

    Sending gentle (((hugs))) and hoping it’s a false alarm. Weird spots are not good.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. They’re not, and I’m scared—especially because surgery with the laser would be horribly painful. My doc said when he told me it was the next step, “If we have to do this, you’re going to hate me. The nicest patient came in for her checkup, and said she hated me.”

      If he does this, he’ll be trying to save my life. I want to live. So I won’t hate him. But I understand that he was trying to brace me for something really bad.

    1. Holly Avatar

      I’m done crying. Now I can respond. I hate the very idea of asking for money. I didn’t want to ask for money, which is why I put the T-shirts together. I wanted to sell something cool that I thought people would enjoy and value, and use what I earned from that to cover some portion of my $10,000 deductible.

      I got a pretty vigorous kick in the teeth for doing this, though. I don’t usually show numbers, but I’m going to show this:


      This is the number of people who opened the email where I announced the T-shirt sale, and the number of people who were at least willing to go to my blog to look at the T-shirts.

      2900 people who read the email. 26 people who clicked.


      Not even quite one out of 100.

      The message here is both clear and angry. If 2900+ people were willing to see what I was raising funds for, but only 26 were willing to help ME, it says this—

      “If you were raising money for strangers I’ll never meet, or homeless cats, or the ruffed grouse, or some endangered snail, I could have been on board. But if you’re raising funds you’re going to use, then even if all I would be doing is buying a nice T-shirt, the hell with you.”

      I only sent this email out to my actual students, and of those, only the ones who had actually purchased classes from me. In other words, people who’d gotten enough use out of what I do to be willing to pay for it.

      These were the folks I thought I knew best.

      Not buying—I understand that. You don’t have the money, you don’t like the shirt. Whatever. I get that.

      But not even being willing to go look?

      Apparently the relationship I thought I had with my students was mostly in my head.

      I’m going to leave the T-shirt campaign up because I am grateful to every single person who bought one, and I think they’re beautiful shirts.

      And thank you so much for the thought behind the GoFundMe campaign. It’s a beautiful gesture, and I am more grateful than you can imagine. But PLEASE take down the campaign.

      I’m willing to earn my way through my life by trading value for value, but I’m not willing to beg.

      1. Laura Avatar

        Longtime lurker, first time poster here. I had to post a comment to this, because I might be one of those who didn’t click on the email link. I’m not a student yet (I’m planning on starting your courses in March), but I’ve been on your mailing list for months. The reason why *I* didn’t click on the link in the email is because I’d already seen the post here. I check your blog every day, so I’d already known about it for over a day before the email arrived.

        Also, is there any way to extend the deadline for the shirts? I really want to buy one, but I’m at an odd place right now where I’m absolutely broke & literally having to pinch every penny-yet I’m expecting a decent amount of money to arrive in about 6 weeks. So could either the deadline be lengthened or could the campaign be done again in late Feb? If not, I understand.

        So sorry you’re having to go through this and I wish you the best.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Hi, Laura. I’ll create class T-shirts from someplace other than TeeSpring at some point.

          TeeSpring only lets you fundraise, and the time limits they offer are all very short.

          I set the date I did on this because I was hoping to have enough money set aside to cover half of my deductible before I had to face surgery.

          1. Laura Avatar

            Thank you, Holly. I’ll definitely buy a class shirt & am very much looking forward to taking your classes. Also, in re-reading my explanation for not clicking on the email link, I noticed I left something out and came off sounding a little defensive. What I meant to add is that I imagine I’m not the only person who didn’t click on the email link because I’d already seen the blog post about the shirts. I think probably many people did, which is one reason why there have been so few clicks. Thank you and best wishes again.

      2. stephanie Avatar

        Hugs. I’m so sorry this is hitting you so hard. That said, perhaps it is the very limited nature of the deal that is causing people to stumble a bit?

        I fully intend to purchase a shirt, but am torn between the two styles. Because the style I’d like most…(Small design on chest with the word writer, bigger one on back) isn’t on there. That, combined with a limited budget makes deciding hard.

        They ARE beautiful shirts. And they look so snuggly.

        Still, seems to me there must be something more at work to get such a low click rate. (Just…dunno what that might be atm.)

        1. stephanie Avatar

          Alright, found the email for the t-shirt sales. Opened it, read it, and started looking for something to click. All that was clickable was the pretty design and the link to this blog.

          And…guess I was expecting a link directly to the store. (Why, I dunno. But I was. Based on the make it easy school of thought re: selling stuffs I suppose.)

          When I click the ‘long story’ link, it redirects here. When I click the gorgeous design…it redirects to your classes website.

          Is it possible that people who got enough details from the ‘short story’ to know they might like to buy a shirt became frustrated with the lack of a direct link to the store from that email? I dunno, but….shrug. (Note, I found my way to the sales page from this blog, before ever seeing that email. )

          Also, when I saw the go fund me go up…I was torn between just donating to that and buying a shirt. Because I’d rather pay the money straight to whatever bills need covered than buy another shirt that (although gorgeous) would technically be a ‘luxury expense’ for me.

          (I’m not in any particular need of a cool sweater, but dammit I want a cool sweater.)

          That said, if it was a choice between having a cool sweater and ensuring you get the most value out of the money in question (I.e. the most bills get paid…). I’d choose the most value and the ‘keep Holly around and healthy’ option every damn time and not even miss the idea of the sweater.

      3. Sandy Avatar

        So Holly,
        I am one of the people who clicked the link and looked at your fundraising tee shirts and I just wanted to tell you my thought process.
        And I am going to be real honest with you.
        In looking at the shirts, I didn’t like the design and I wasn’t sure what percentage of the sales price would actually go to you. So I thought the GoFundMe idea was a better option because then 100% of the donation would go to you.
        I don’t see it as begging. I see it as someone setting up the fund because they care about you. Because this would give people another way to help you.
        I have been a student of yours for a long time. You have taught me so much. You not only give value but you give and give and give and give. You work crazy hours, you work with migraine headaches and you remain upbeat, encouraging and positive.
        I believe that your “tribe” is a good group of people who really do care about you. But right now I think you are emotionally raw (and rightfully so) but please allow me to help you in a way that works for me.
        No matter how much money I give you, I feel like it would never be enough in comparison to the value of what you have given me.
        And this is the selfish part. I don’t need a tee shirt, I need you to be well. So that when I publish my book I can send you a copy and say “Thank you Holly, because without you, this wouldn’t be possible”

        1. Holly Avatar

          Hi, Sandy. I am simple not capable of accepting money I did not earn. This is a philosophical issue, and a lot of it is born from having grown up in a family where money was nearly nonexistent, but where work was honorable and handouts were both shameful and inconceivable. I lived in tiny rentals, trailer parks, and on mission fields for most of my childhood.

          My parents never took a handout from anyone—and even now, when we have been divorced from each others lives for more than twenty years, I still hold that as one of their highest virtues, and something worthy of emulation.

          In my own life, I have been just as broke, and have faced my own share of horrors and hardships. And I know that accepting donations is not something I can do.

          Putting together the T-shirts was work. It required time and effort on my part—and I get roughly 37% for each T-shirt sold. Selling 350 would cover about half of my deductible.

          If you hate them, I truly understand. Don’t by something you hate. But please realize that I cannot do something I hate either.

        2. Linda Avatar

          Actually GoFundMe takes 7.9% from the money raised. They don’t charge donors, but they do charge the money in the account. I learned that when friends had an account set up to help their son who has heart problems. They did NOT receive 100% of the money. They received a portion of it due to the fees the site charges the account.

      4. Riley Graham Avatar
        Riley Graham

        Hi Holly,

        I don’t think I’ve ever posted here, though I find your emails, blog, and classes invaluable, and wanted to take the time to tell you that, especially now that you are going through this health issue and also because you were hurt by the lack of response from many of your students. I am wondering if some read the email and planned to wait until the weekend to take a look at the shirts?

        I did buy a tee shirt (under my legal name, not pen name), because I have learned so much from you, and what you charge for your major courses, while not cheap, is affordable and absolutely worth it. I have learned more about writing from you than in all the college courses I’ve ever taken, and I have a master’s in creative writing! The revision I’m working on now through HTRYN is miles away from anything I could have done without your help.

        Sorry, I don’t mean to get off topic, but hearing how down you seemed in your post, I wanted to let you know how much your work, dedication, and passion for sharing what you’ve learned with other writers has meant to me. I truly wish you the best and will be sending prayers and positive vibes your way.

        1. Holly Avatar

          Thank you so much. I was down. I get back up again. Getting back up again is my defining characteristic—and I cannot be upset or angry or even allow myself to be disheartened by the folks who read and didn’t participate.

          I can only be deeply grateful to every single one who did. Thank you again.

      5. Jean Avatar

        I saw the email on the phone. I wanted to wait until I got to the desktop, which took me a bit since we were in SA, and the desktop is in Central Texas. I don’t remember how I got to the website to buy shirts once I got here, but know that I got there, and of COURSE I bought some. The facts of that may or may not be correctly relayed via AWeber’s stats, which, I believe only tell part of the story. I offer that because I don’t think I’m unique in accessing the web via multiple resources, and I’m not sure what that does to AWeber stats.

        Hugs. You aren’t begging. You offered a service many of us have been hoping to partake of for some time. Thank you.

    2. Sally Jane Driscoll Avatar
      Sally Jane Driscoll

      Please disregard the URL above. There is no GoFundMe campaign and the donations are in the process of being returned to the donors. Thanks to all who participated.

  29. Gail Moniz Avatar
    Gail Moniz

    Hi Holly:

    I’m so sorry to hear your news, but keep positive. I’ve been waiting for months myself to learn about a tumour in my lung, and I recently was advised that it’s benign!

    I certainly pray that you will have similar news and will not have to undergo the laser surgery.

  30. Donna June Cooper Avatar
    Donna June Cooper

    Here’s hoping for the very best news from the doc. Hang in there! Love the shirts!

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you. Me, too.

  31. Maggie Avatar

    Holly – I’m so, so sorry this is striking you again. Please know that we ALL love and appreciate you.

    I’ve dealt with Ankylosing spondylitis and Rheumatoid arthritis, plus all the misery that goes with those conditions, for 6 years now. I know it’s scary and painful and truly disheartening. But I am inspired by how you buck up, get through it, heal up, and get back to doing what you love as soon as you can. Thank you, and heal well.

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thank you so much, Maggie.

  32. Katharina Gerlach Avatar

    I’m so sorry to hear that and hope for the best. Hugs, Cat

    1. Holly Avatar

      Thanks, Cat. My little hope is that the pain might be scar tissue from the previous surgeries. This hope would be bigger if one pain point wasn’t on a location where I haven’t had surgery.

  33. Mary E. Merrell Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    I really hope it’s a false alarm. So sorry you have to go through this. I love your classes and I really appreciate the affordable costs. I want to buy a shirt and maybe a sweatshirt, but the sweatshirts all seem to go to a T-shirt price and sizing. Maybe it’s me. I’ll check again.


    1. Holly Avatar

      The menus are all drop-down. You’re on the right page. You just need to click the dropdown and select Hoodie.

  34. Rez Avatar

    Those shirts turned out great!

    And haven’t we told you to keep a civil tongue in your head??!

    Geez, not happy to hear about that. Might be time to investigate broader treatments, since you can only do so much hack-and-slash, and if it is indeed a rapid recurrence, might be it’s coming from somewhere else. :/

    Wishing it’s only good things, like “dummy bit her tongue in her sleep”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Marie-Claire Avatar

      Oh Holly! So sorry to read this – shirts are a great idea. HUGS. MC

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