My Mistake, Your Gain–A Fun Drawing for 10 Free Memberships

My newsletter introducing the workshop I’m teaching for SavvyAuthors.com [LINK CORRECTED] started like this:

So.

In the midst of my current insane seventy-hour-a-week work schedule, I got this crazy question.

It was “How would you like to do a free writing workshop for our
site?”

Now, in most cases, the answer to the question “How would you like to add about 70 to 100 more hours to your workload and not get paid for it?” would be “Not very much!”

In this case, though, I found two reasons that made me say yes…

And on my writing diary while making the same announcement, I said:

Finally, a COMPENSATION DISCLAIMER:

Iā€™m not an affiliate of SavvyAuthors.com. Iā€™m not making a dime from the workshop, nor will I receive any payment for recommending the site.

Iā€™m doing this because I think it will be fun, and interesting, and challenging, and because it will let me meet some new folks.

And then Sharon, my primary liaison for the workshop, sent me a happy e-mail about how many people had signed up (231 the last I heard), and she told me I’d be getting some money.

To which I said, “I honestly didn’t know I was supposed to get any sort of compensation. The long e-mail I sent out and my blog post both made it clear that I WASN’T being compensated.

“So as nice as the money would be, I’ll have to turn it down. Use it for something cool. :D”

Her idea of cool was, why don’t I give it to ten of you as paid memberships for one year to SavvyAuthors.com.

And I agreed that would be pretty cool.

So.

HOW TO WIN

If you’d like to win a year’s membership to SavvyAuthors.com, just post here. Let me know the MOST USEFUL THING you’ve learned from my website, this weblog, or any of my courses.

That’s it. If you do that, you’re eligible in the drawing.

I’ll do the drawings NEXT WEDNESDAY (FEBRUARY 24th), which will give folks a LITTLE time to reply, and winners enough time to attend some of the workshops this year.

I’ll announce the winners on this writing diary.

[A NOTE: I am reading these entries. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. If you attempt to use this contest to claim that I recommended a product I have never even heard of, I will delete your entry and block you from the site. I don’t tolerate spam. I have deleted one entry so far.]
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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.


444 comments… add one
  • Shawna Feb 21, 2010 @ 0:43

    I learned, through your words AND your actions, that it doesn’t matter how badly life falls apart… one can still write, if they apply rear to chair and keep trying. I’m still here, still trying, and sooner or later, I WILL succeed at this.

  • Patricia Hamel Feb 21, 2010 @ 0:42

    I just wanted to thank you for your free plot course. I have been working on several story ideas for quite some time, but I never could figure out which one to actually write. When I started your mini-course, I was surprised to find out how much it actually applied to me. I was even more surprised when I was able to actually flesh out a decent plot from one of my ideas.
    I really hope that I will be selected as a winner, but even if I don’t, I just wanted to thank you. I don’t really feel lost anymore whenever I turn on my computer to write.

  • Megan Feb 20, 2010 @ 23:33

    I found your website only a few weeks ago, and read almost everything in your Writers section in one evening. The majority of your articles and How-To’s made me reevaluate things I thought I already knew–things like how a scene should have a clear turning point and always, ALWAYS! have conflict of some kind, or that editing doesn’t need to take forever (and that it takes nerves of steel!). I think what really made me reconsider my writing process was your How-To on creating characters: the bit about empathizing with characters instead of sympathizing. I’ve been so, so guilty of that in the past and I think I needed someone outside of my personal bubble to point out what a grave mistake it is.

    (As an aside, something else useful that I’ve learned from your website is how effective personality and honesty can be. I never bookmark author websites, but yours was a no-brainer. I hate most author websites because while they look helpful, I usually end up realizing a handful of pages in that they’re impersonal and talk down to the readers and so I just x out of the window. Now I have to eat my words, because I’ve quoted this site to all of my closest friends and family as being one of the best for anyone who wants to get the low-down on writing.)

  • jody allen Feb 20, 2010 @ 22:58

    I think the most valuable thing that i learned from you was during the “How to thinks sideways” course, its hard to pick just one thing that helped. But the plot cards, and how easy it is to move scenes around on my bulletin board whenever the mood hits me, its so much easier than re-writing a whole plot outline. its has helped me so much, thanks a bunch.
    jody

  • Ambleside Feb 20, 2010 @ 22:51

    Holly, I’ve learned that writing is hard work; I’ve learned that trying to rewrite is even harder; I have learned that character development is beyond me; I try then I cry; and I’ve learned that I have never written a first draft. . .

  • Alice Feb 20, 2010 @ 22:13

    I learned that hope is still alive. i needed that.

    Thank you

  • Sylvia Feb 20, 2010 @ 22:07

    I found and downloaded ‘Mugging Your Muse’ years ago and I was amazed that a wonderful writer who’d worked so hard to learn and get where she was would willingly give away what she learned. Paying it forward was not a concept I’d heard before. Then I got involved in Forward Motion, learned and enjoyed it a lot, got sidetracked. Came back to you, Holly, and bought ‘Page-Turning Scenes’ and ‘Create a Plot’ clinics, was enthralled. Money was not plentiful but I wanted so bad to enroll in HTTS, so I did. I believe this will turn out to be one of the wisest things I ever did regarding my writing. The tools alone (Sweet Spot, Dot and Line, etc.) are worth what I paid for most of the other (quite a few) writing books I own. So I guess I’ll have to say that course is the most useful thing I’ve received from you (so far!) Thank you.

  • Alice B. Feb 20, 2010 @ 21:55

    The most useful thing I’ve got from your website and newsletter is your enthusiasm- I find it infectious. The many articles and tips you send out are sometimes helpful for me, sometimes not so helpful, but the enthusiasm which always seems to be behind them makes me feel encouraged and makes me continue to write even if it’s been seeming really impossible lately.

  • Sheri Herrman Feb 20, 2010 @ 21:41

    The most important thing I have begun to do since finding you is to write,—at least 250 words a day, at least 5 days a week—no matter what, no matter where.
    and I love the quotes section!!!!!
    (Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind. ā€” Terry Pratchett)

  • John Fogarty Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:57

    Hi, Holly,
    In answer to your question, the most valuable thing I’ve learned from your web site, newsletter, or writing lessons is simply this: Write a messy first draft–don’t expect it to be perfect. Let yourself go and just get the story down as fast as you can. The tidying, revising, etc., take place in later drafts–not the first.
    For 30+ years, I’ve been trying to write perfect first drafts, spending months upon months rewriting, trashing, starting over, revising, etc., and spinning my wheels until I finally lose interest in the story and move on to the next disaster. The only books I’ve ever had published were those I wrote fast–six months from start to finish for “The Haunt,” less than that for “Online Learning Today,” a non-fict. Lesson learned: WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT FAST, BE MESSY, DON’T EDIT. Only when it’s finished and you’re writing the next draft should you edit anything.
    GREAT advice, and I’m following it now. That’s why this post is so sloppy and direct: it’s first draft stuff. And, as Hemingway famously wrote, “The first draft of anything is s&^t.”
    Thanks, Holly!

    John R. Fogarty

  • elements Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:55

    I feel like I’ve stumbled on a field full of treasures. There are so many goodies I want to take them all in. Visiting Holly Lisle’s Newsletters(blogs) and taking the HTRYN Course has been very informtive, encouraging, challenges self, insightful and a lot of fun. Growth is the word. My knowlege and understanding about writing has increased since I’ve stumbled across Holly Lisle’s website. Can’t wait to learn more!

  • Lilly Hobbs Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:46

    The mini-course in plotting was a great help to me. I knew the beginning of what I was writing. Answering those three questions helped point me at a satisfying ending. But, roughing in the middle was what made the light bulb come on in my head. I had never thought about the things between the beginning and the end in that way. I started filling out cards for the middle and it made my ideas just flow along.

  • Danzier Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:17

    –>NOT AN ENTRY JUST A COMMENT<–

    The second most important thing I've learned from this contest is not to check the "email me all the follow-up posts" box if the comment number is over a hundred. šŸ˜€

  • Rebecca Feb 20, 2010 @ 19:06

    I honestly can’t say what is the MOST USEFUL THING that I’ve learned. You’ve taught me so much through your newsletter and courses; however, if I have to narrow it down to one thing, I would say it is to love what you do because life is too short.

  • Mary MacGillivray Feb 20, 2010 @ 18:46

    I’ve been writing for years, for fun and personal therapy mostly. But in all of Holly’s newsletters the thing that’s stuck out to me the most has been that I need to ask questions. Why I write, what is the purpose, why is my character the way s/he is, where did those cobblestones come from?
    I’m asking more questions, and my stories are actually making more sense to me and I know more about my characters because of it.

  • Anne Watkins Feb 20, 2010 @ 18:21

    It’s hard to pick just one thing, but here’s something I found extremely useful: your “Write a Book with Me” posts. I learned what I needed to know to get my brain in gear and finish my first novel! I also learned to set personal goals and deadlines (those daily word counts, for instance, were extremely helpful). But I also learned to not beat myself up if I fell short.

    Thank you so much for sharing your advice, writing examples and experience with us. Your website, books and newsletters are solid gold!

  • Cayleigh Feb 20, 2010 @ 18:02

    Write what makes you happy.

    It will never get published, bring me fame, or give me any sort of compensation, but boy do I love every word I put down.

  • Amy Feb 20, 2010 @ 17:26

    I am currently enrolled in two of your courses and so far I have learned that yes I can do it. The courses helped me realize that all I have to be is determined and put in the effort and I can have a novel that is not total drivel. Also the courses have helped me realize just how important writng is to me. Thanks

  • Rabia Feb 20, 2010 @ 16:57

    Holly,

    I’ve leaned so much from your courses, blog, articles and email newsletter. The one big thing that’s meant the most to me is how you model courage to us; in pouring yourself into your novels; in standing up for what you believe in, no matter how unpopular; in the way you’ve stepped out into new things, like the courses, the e-books, the TalysMana project. It’s inspirational.

  • Madison Feb 20, 2010 @ 16:54

    Most useful thing longterm for me?

    Resolving the dissonance I had re: my muse. I have struggled with the knowledge that I must work at my craft and that good strong writing comes through good hard work. That relying on something so seemingly esoteric as a “muse” could not only impede my writing but create harm by convincing me that my craft (the really good parts of it) must be left to the “ether”; that I had to surrender myself to sitting around hoping for “inspiration”. In my opinion, that is very disempowering and yet, every artist, from musicians to writers, to painters, to dancers realizes that there are times when it feel as if our craft has been “taken over”, brilliantly, by some power other than our own.

    Your plot clinic helped resolve that dichotomy for me and welcome my muse as part of myself. (I also really dig the tricks you suggested to draw her our when she is reluctant).

    In all, your strong, practical, hand-on, real life advice works. And I am one with my Muse.

  • Sidni Feb 20, 2010 @ 16:43

    The most important thing I have learned from Holly (and her site, etc) is that you can be a successful writer and help other people become successful at the same time. She has convinced me that there is “enough” for everyone so we don’t have to be selfish or stingy or competitive. All of the many writing skills she has also taught me pale in comparison to this, because it applies to all of my life, not just my writing life.

  • laura Feb 20, 2010 @ 15:49

    I took one of your courses last fall while suffering from a three year disability,that had I thought finished my nursing career. For many years I’d been writing off and on and have been published for small stuff(essays,articles,short stories). Of course I’d been working on a novel for 4 years!!! Well number one, I love your book, mugging the muse, and all nurses have potty mouths. That’s a fact. But what nailed it for me was: SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT. Well it took a few more months of thinking about it–I ordered and received most of the books you recommended and then I did it. I finished the First Draft of my novel, and am now working on revising my novel. Unfortunately my disability is almost cleared away and I have to go backto nursing for the money again. But thank you for your course, your book and straight forward, frank advise. Laura

  • Alex Feb 20, 2010 @ 15:27

    The most useful thing I’ve learnt from you was via the newsletter, about only worldbuilding what you need as you need it. I have spent so much time planning worlds it makes me hesitate to get into the story, and thanks to you I was able to realise it.

    So… thanks!

  • Eirwen Fletcher Feb 20, 2010 @ 14:46

    The most useful lesson has been ‘How to observe.’
    I ‘ve written a novel and have not enough description so it’s a bit soul less. I also have to enlarge it by 20,000 words. My friend rang and said Holly LIsle has written an article and it’s just what you need. So I joined you!

  • Rebekkah B Feb 20, 2010 @ 13:52

    The most useful thing was the plot clinic. I am an extremely disorganized person and putting every scene on it’s own card is helpful just for keeping my brain moving in a relatively straight line. Thank you so much for writing those clinics and making them available.

    Rebekkah

  • cheryl m kaplan Feb 20, 2010 @ 13:11

    I love leaning and polishing all writing skills. Bores some, stimulates me.
    Cheryl

  • DKoren Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:56

    There have been heaps of useful things, but the most useful has been the Sentence, first learned in the HTTS course. Understanding that put what I had been doing instinctively into clear terms, and it has affected all writing I’ve done since, for the better. Thank you so much, Holly, for sharing your years of knowledge!

  • Chris Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:41

    The most astonishing thing I learned from your website was how starting with just a few scribbles on a piece of paper, which becomes a MAP, can actually be used to generate the nucleus idea for a novel. I’d never before imagined starting in that way. I tried it and it worked, so now I use it regularly. (Previously I’d thought of a map being merely about place to be worked out after the idea of a novel was pretty well set. ) But since I started it Holly’s way, using rough sketches to generate ideas themselves , I’ve been harvesting a more creative output. Holly, thank you!

  • Edward Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:34

    Holly,
    I stumbled across Forward Motion just over four years ago when I was a freshman in high school, and through that community, I was introduced to you. I’ve always loved perusing the writing books at bookstores, but none of them have ever helped me the way you have.

    Besides getting me into NaNoWriMo for four years now and offering an outstanding writers’ community online, you have shown me not only the tools of the craft of writing, but how to ignite my burning desire to write and to write with passion.

    I first read “Mugging the Muse” when I came across your site, which provided the spark of inspiration to seriously pursue my writing ambitions. Then, I read “How to Find Your Writing Discipline,” which taught me the structure and dedication I needed in order to set goals and achieve forward motion with them (I still have my “Do! Doing… Done.” board set up to this day). After having read every one of your other articles, and a few years later, I am now a member of your “How to Revise Your Novel” course, and it has provided me some spectacular insights I would have never achieved without your guidance.

    In that first year of high school, I set myself the goal of writing a book before I graduated; by the time I arrived at the end my senior year, I had done it not once, but three times.

    You helped transform a formerly timid bookworm who only dreamed of writing stories as magical and memorable as those of my author-heroes into a confident, young, college writer who now realizes that, yes, he can do this, and he can write with joy.

    For everything, Holly,
    Thank you.

  • cw Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:28

    I’ve learnt from you that writing is a business and it’s not easy as most successful business tend to be.

    I’ve learnt that writing requires perseverance as most things worthy of our time tend to be.

    I’ve learnt not to take the easy way out as writing is a lonely job but one that’s solely fueled by a passion not everyone has or understands.

    All these I’ve learnt from seeing how you work. Time after time, almost tirelessly coming up with innovative ways to further your writing business. The best in my opinion was involving your daughter, Rebecca, in one of your innovative ideas. Yeah, Talysmana, is the one I’m talking about.

    You inspire me and enlightened me that I can do something with the stories swirling in my head, snippets of conversation and sudden feelings and sudden images and scenes that pops up from nowhere. I’m still trying to piece all of them together to fit into one big coherent story.

    I can’t beat the seventy hour a week schedule just yet but I’m working at it just as you work on innovating your writing business, one step at a time. Riding on the passion that my dream of my own writing business is just over the horizon somewhere and I’m getting nearer one step at a time.

    Thanks for sharing with us your business and your writing life.

  • Celeste Mulholland Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:18

    Holly, it was by chance that I came across your website when I was looking for an image to illustrate a monthly newsletter. But see I don’t believe much in chance. There is a Zen (?) saying that notes when the pupil is ready the teacher will appear. The choice of images goes on and on as anyone knows, but of all of them I chose one that must have had a connection or a link that lead me to your site. AND there was my gift all wrapped up neatly, logically and with so much beauty I was and still am overwhelmed at the depth of knowledge that you share so spontaneously and so generously. Thank you. Two words in the English language that carry so much weight and responsibility. Thank you. The next two are I’m sorry. And yes I am sorry that I did not find you sooner but what fun I am having surfing the archives and the links. The most useful thing I have learnt? Do I have to choose? Yes. So, I will say one of the more recent posts you sent about SAFE PERFECT VICTIM and FEEL. The message was received at 10 decibels. And it is already working its magic.

  • Vicki Smith Feb 20, 2010 @ 12:07

    Hi Holly.

    Having done HTTS and at the moment HTRYN, the main thing I learnt from you was to open my mind. I struggled with writing a story, the reason I learned, was because while the story in my head was for me, the one I was trying to write wasn’t. You taught me that the first draft is my story for me and wow did writing like that open my eyes. I have had such an amazing journey with my story and characters. I’ve loved them, hated them and down right wanted to smack them one, but out of all that I have a story I love. Once I finish HTRYN then it’ll be (I hope) a story that will sparkle. We all wish for publication, and I am honest, it doesn’t always happen, but hey you showed me how to have a great time in my world and once its over I’ll be ready to say, “lets do it again.”

    So Thank You.

  • Jessiegirl Feb 20, 2010 @ 11:28

    Over the years I’ve learned everything i know about writing from you. I found you and your incredibly informative site years ago when college creative writing classes failed to teach me what i wanted to know in order to write better.

    Even though i wanted to be a writer, i avoided actually writing for a long time. I used many excuses – some of which were valid, some not even close to plausible. But through all this i read your classes and held out hope that i would find my way through this crap in my head and be able to become the novelist i’ve always wanted to be.

    I was about to give up. Ironically, i planned to enroll in school to get my BA in nursing. Then you released HTTS and i enrolled in the charter group, partly to learn what i could learn and partly because i loved how you were helping writers everywhere and i just wanted to support your career. I didn’t have confidence that i would actually figure out what was stopping me from writing but i enrolled anyway.

    Life prevented me from giving the course my full attention for about a year, but when i started to go through it i learned so much – It taught me tons about planning a novel with out shooting myself in the foot as i go.

    But the first lesson on thinking barriers – Safe Never Starts; Perfect Never Finishes; Victims Never Act and Feel Never Thinks has helped me more than anything. I am just about through my first novel and have started planning brainstorming ideas for a second with more ideas for a third and fourth than i can count.

    I’m glad i didn’t enroll in the nursing program. It wouldn’t have been the place for me. I have found a version of my day to day life that i love and allows me the time i need to develop my writing skills.

    Thank You.

  • Libby Feb 20, 2010 @ 11:12

    The best tip I got was from “How to Think Sideways” and is how to use my muse! I am amazed how writing down in my journal what I need and going off to do laundry results in the muse giving me ideas — great ideas I really love. Thank you, Holly!

  • Dolly Feb 20, 2010 @ 10:37

    As a relatively late-comer to the world of Holly Lisle (about 4-5 months), I am still getting used to a lot of things you offer, but even so the list of helpful things is getting longer.

    From your regular email updates – I get amazing motivational tips, one little tid bid at a time which without being overwhleming, gives me time to think about improving something in particular.

    Your notecarding technique has inspired me to create my own, post-it technique, which though not a replica of notecarding, is more tailored to what works for me.

    Reading your “write with me” posts is fascinating, because it gives me a glimpse into how a published and busy writer such as yourself, juggles all the various projects, as well as a life you must have behind all this work. And prods me that I really should work on my discipline – or rather lack of it.

    From reading articles for writers, and free excerpt info related to your courses, no doubt I have absorbed knowledge that I can’t even consciously describe at the moment.

    So the point of this long rambling comment is that every time I spend some quality time on your website or blog, I learn someting new.

  • Katie MacConnell Feb 20, 2010 @ 9:59

    I discovered your website back in high school, back when I first started writing. To have to choose ONE way you’ve influenced me, ONE thing I’ve learned, is fairly difficult. Your workshops and articles gave me amazing insight into what writing and the industry were like, though the work load that should have scared me off only spurred me on. You were not only a valuable starting point back then, you’re still a reference point now. You’ve helped me understand that setting writing goals that are attainable are the best way to surpass them, how to build a believable world in which to drop characters your articles helped me flesh out, and what dialog is useful and compelling dialog.

    In short, your site has been invaluable to me, and I’m very, VERY grateful.

  • deborahb Feb 20, 2010 @ 8:21

    Most useful? Something you remind me of each & every week:

    You can do this.

  • Melissah Feb 20, 2010 @ 8:08

    Look, I’ll level with you. I do a pretty OK job at writing. I get the ins and the outs of craft: where I should begin, how to end, the things that would be pretty good in the middle. Everything I’ve read on your various websites and newsletters and through HTTS have only served to cement the lessons that I’ve taught myself, and have have created a better writer out of a lump of the right material.

    That’s not really what this is about though, is it?

    I’m glad it’s not, because you’ve done so much more than just show me the right way. Without you, I’d be afraid of sucking, of not getting it right the first time. I’d be afraid of trying something new just for the sake of it or of delving within myself for inspiration. Maybe I’d even be too afraid to write.

    Worse, I’d make up a thousand excuses for it, and when people asked me why I wasn’t writing I’d say “writer’s block” like it was some mystical force that prevented me from writing. I wouldn’t identify it for what it was: a confidence block.

    I’m no longer Perfect or Safe. I am no longer a Victim. This applies to all aspects of my life, Holly. You have offered the crutch that leads me through the doldrums of the day to day, and the more I learn from you, the more excited I am about walking on my own.

  • Drew Bassett Feb 20, 2010 @ 6:58

    The most useful thing was, without a doubt, that world building should only facilitate character conflict and not become an obsession.
    For me, that was a lifesaer, as I have NO problem creating worlds, nations, creatures and factions t inhabit them, etc, but often struggle to work out exactly what me characters are doing in them. And you know what? Sometimes, the people you need to write about don’t even care about the world you ‘needed’ to create (or not all of it, anyway). Because they’re different from you and don’t have the same interests and issues.
    So I drew a map of the places in my lovely, exciting world that I like spending time in but my characters and readers might not, which mattered to my character and the result was really interesting. The world became less and the character became a hole lot more… Thanks for that one, Holly!

  • Steffi Feb 20, 2010 @ 6:43

    Holly, I found your paper “Mugging the Muse” when I decided I’d go for a writing career seriously and start, if late in life, to follow my life-long desire of being a writer of fantasy. Your no-nonesense, hilarious style and your knowledge about all aspects of writing reflecting experience as well as reflection, makes your advice stand out among the thousands of writers’ help books and articles. I am looking forward to your e-mails each time. Most useful I found your advice not to over-describe and your discussion of courage.

  • Liliana Feb 20, 2010 @ 6:06

    PLease cancel my subscription to following comments, as I did not manage to do it for some reason, althought followed the link from the mail. Thank you

    • Holly Lisle Feb 20, 2010 @ 14:00

      Hi, Liliana,

      Since you’re no longer subscribed to the comments, I’m guessing you found the “Manage Your Subscription” link and unsubscribed yourself. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

      Holly

  • Charlie Tan Feb 20, 2010 @ 6:04

    When I was going through a bad spot, I read the articles on your website on writers block, and that taught me not to give up. Then I read all of your other articles via website and e-mail, which taught me to fix almost all of the problems in my book.

    Thanks for all your help, Ms. Lisle.

    Charlie.

    P.S. I’m only fourteen, am I eligible for this?

  • Kevin Penny Feb 20, 2010 @ 5:30

    I never thought I would be able to write anything of merit, until I stumbled upon your website. Now, only a few weeks later, I have managed to complete a 6000 word short story of fiction, and well on my way with another, thanks to your inspiring website. Your comments on the handling of your hero puts things more in perspective for me, especially the part about giving him, or her, a hard time. Thanks Holly.

    Kevin.

  • Michael Feb 20, 2010 @ 4:18

    The newsletters are great, full of knowledge and experience, delivered so that it’s clear easy to understand. Probably the most useful thing so far was the tip: Give your hero the best lines. Some of my heroes up till then have felt a bit bland. That tip really put things in perspective. Why give the good lines to a side character? Give them to the hero! xD

    I appreciate everything you’re doing for us struggling writers! *bows*

    –Michael
    Kalon Ordona II

  • Ashlie Feb 20, 2010 @ 2:51

    I would have to say that the most useful thing I’ve learned is to never give up, even when it seems like the world is against you and you feel like you won’t make it.
    I was perusing websites for writing advice because I was writing some fan fiction, and I thought that if I was going to write anything I wanted it to be the best story I could put out. I never dreamed that I would ever have the guts to try to be a writer. I never thought I could finish a novel. But then I found your website and I read article after article, becoming more and more inspired with every word my eyes fell on. It was then that I decided to become a writer and now I have a fully finished first draft and am revising it. The work is going slowly but surely, and I’ve come farther than I had ever dreamed I would. I’ve learned from you to fight for what I want, to be more than I ever thought I could be, to push myself to the limit and keep pushing, even when I feel ready to break. I’ve learned to never give up on my dreams.
    Whether or not I win the draw I want to thank you. You’re an inspiration and a testament to committing to doing what you love.
    So thank you, and God bless you.

    ~ Ashlie

  • Billy Feb 20, 2010 @ 2:46

    I learned how to take something that seems chaotic and hopeless, and turn it into something that makes sense and will bring about peace and serenity, because it would be what I wanted to get out of it.

    That and also, never to compromise, ever. Best advice I ever got.

  • Sarah Mulligan Feb 20, 2010 @ 2:01

    When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I signed up for your newsletters. I have to say they have all been incredibly useful, but the most helpful was probably the last tip: ‘Make the villain stronger than the hero’. That helped my writing heaps. Thank you for all your tips šŸ™‚
    Sarah

  • Tony Glass Feb 20, 2010 @ 1:41

    Hmm, most usefiul? I found your site right when i first decided to become a writer (well, when i decided to see what it would take to write full time,) so there is so much i’ve learned from your site. I think your lesson on bananas and apples. just to see the world, experience it as much as you can, so you can better show that through your writing. that actually helped me through a difficult period of my life.

    Thx alot for your advice this past year (via website.)

    Tony

  • laurel Feb 20, 2010 @ 1:37

    Holly,

    The most important thing, I’ve learned, is that there is a tangible way to refine everything that we write.

    kind regards,
    laurel

  • driftsmoke Feb 20, 2010 @ 1:12

    You’ve said this several different times in several different places. I saw it first in How to Find Your Writing Discipline.

    “Do the things that feed you. Avoid the things that you feed.”

    That was a revelation for me. I went through my life with a fine-toothed comb. I evaluated the ways I spent my time and the things I allowed to affect my life.

    For each thing I spent lots of time doing or thinking about, I asked, “Do I feed this or does it feed me?”

    I cut a lot of stuff out of my life. This was the one of the most freeing and confidence building activities I’ve ever engaged in.

    As always, thank you, Holly.

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