HomeReadersReader Interview: The Thing You Want to Do?

Jump out of bed...You have dreams, goals, passions, and a vision of things you want to accomplish in your life.

But if you can only accomplish one of them, what’s the big one?

The one you really love?

And what is it about that dream / goal / passion that makes it special?

Tell your story of the thing that makes you want to fly in the comments below.

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Reader Interview: The Thing You Want to Do? — 63 Comments

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading about all the different but equally interesting and neat goals. Its been fun! And Holly thanks for being such an inspiration. I always enjoy reading your posts. I know you’ve probably heard it many times from others, but I’m so sorry about the recent loss of your sister. Death touches us all and is such a painful thing, especially when it’s someone whom we love so dearly. Know that my heart goes out to you and the rest of your family.

  2. I want to be the next Edgar Rice Burroughs. I want to create a character that people still want to tell stories about 100 years after I’m dead. I want my writing to support me in the manner to which I want to become accustomed. I don’t really have any control over either of those, so I guess all I’m left with is to write and publish a lot of books.

    • James, you have control over your content, and if you choose to exercise it, you have control over your publication.

      Focus first on telling stories that matter to you for significant reasons. Stories that focus on the most important conflicts you’ve faced will matter most to your readers, too, because we’re all in this together, and none of us get out of it alive.

      Beyond that, though, if you choose to get good at your writing and choose to indie publish, you can build a readership that will not be subject to the fickle whims of publishers.

  3. My dreams used to consist of material wealth and career ambitions until I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. I realized all that was important is my legacy. I now focus on my husband, family and friends. I push to demonstrate how much I love them each time we are together. When I am gone they will all still have the memories of my love.

  4. The biggest is to fix my relationship with my female lovers I think that is slowly happening… but for dreams I built a company years ago with a couple friends we got yelled at for nearly shooting a plane down. No one got hurt and the we all made up for that but getting them back together to see a more positive use for the tech is something I am still working towards.

    This time we are going to stage out an area with deep water on all side so when we test out the more positive idea it won’t blow up in our faces and possible hurt some one but eventually I plan to have Aeromancy back up and running as the original pair of companies or one company with subsidies… but the joke the DOD made back then might have been what got me on the right track to more positive use for the idea.

    Grin, a little medical gas, a little mouth wash, a norse steam hut, and couple brushless fans, and the stars become in our reach. It is all out publicly on a website so don’t worry about this being an unknown idea grin.

    http://www.phantomworks.xyz/member/profile/1137

    Fun site to look through people keep add stuff to it.

    As to julie think on it as people think and wonder… people with shattered neuron clusters are like having a brain fart all the time, for her death might simply have been a new experience she did not understand. People feel for them because most have child like innocence, to remember her, look for that in your life, where do you find that child like wonder, in your own day to day life?

  5. Hi Holly,

    For as long as I can remember I want and need to do something creative. One thing is difficult. But this is the most recent desire and goal. I want to write a book that will become a Hallmark movie.

    • Start with the book. Having had a number of manuscripts now considered for movies only to have them NOT be optioned, I’ll tell you the same thing I mentioned elsewhere — focus only on the things YOU can make happen.

      You CAN write a book. You can revise it, edit it, and publish it, and if you do these things, people will read it. Maybe not a lot, but some.

      There is absolutely nothing you can do to get that book optioned by the Hallmark folks (unless you are in with the powers that be at Hallmark’s aquisitions department). If you want to write the book, do that. But don’t think you’re writing a movie.

  6. Hi Holly,I have been writing words for most of my adult life. I have had publication success with poetry, articles and short stories here in New Zealand and Australia. 20 years ago I started making notes for my first full length novel. It is a trilogy and 12 months ago I self published with Xlibris book 1 of 53,000 words. I have had some success with book sales but have been disappointed with Xlibris’s marketing and promotion (vertically non-existant)I have 32,000 words 1st draft written for book2 and 12,000 book3. I don’t want to go to the expense of self publishing books 2 and 3 with the limited success with book1. I am really proud to have written and published book one with my grand-children and friends amazed that I have achieved this. So it’s like I am now just sitting waiting for something to happen, as I’m not sure how to make things happen. I feel for you with your loss with having suffered similar myself. Regards Colin

    • Thank you for your kindness.

      On your writing, if you indie publish, you have to do your own promotion. I have a group of students right now working through my (temporarily closed) Title. Cover. Copy. workshop, which is exclusively about promoting your fiction.

      When it reopens will also include software for promoting your work. I’ll send out a notice about

      On independent publishing expenses, I can generally get a project out the door for a few hundred dollars. Little project I do at no cost but my time.

      I’ve never heard anything good about Xlibris. Your experience with them doesn’t sound like it changes that. I’m very sorry.

      • Kindle and Smashwords are free to ePublish your book. You can even create a cover for free on Kindle. Haven’t done that one yet, but it is supposed to be easy and free. Just follow the free downloadable book on Kindle (Kindle’s instructions will work for any manuscript you submit to Smashwords for epublishing, but read both free ebooks on how to ePublish, great info.), format your manuscript according to the instructions, and ePublish. Then tell everyone (and I do mean everyone) you know your book is available and where to find it. Smashwords will also distribute your ebook to a whole list of other very well known ebook websites like Barnes & Noble, KOBO and a bunch more. It just takes your time to format your manuscript properly, create a cover (an ebook only requires a cover, not a spine or a back design), get an ISBN# (Smashwords and Kindle will provide for free — I’m into free), and off you go.

        Good, good luck, happy publishing, and read her books everyone. Tell your friends.

        Happy, happy New Year everyone. I’m so glad I found this site. Miss Lisle, you are the best.

        Hope this helps.

        Linda

        • Thank, Linda.

          I’ve been indie-publishing on Kindle and B&N for years, and have recently added Smashwords and Draft2Digital to my reprint/indie original process.

          On cover art — don’t use any epub service’s free cover creator. They’re all awful.

          I have a class where folks work on cover design, because your cover is one of your three critical salesmen that puts your book in front of interested readers when you’re busy writing the next one.

          If you don’t have a good title, good cover art, and good cover copy, you’re going to be invisible once the folks who already like your work have bought what you’ve done.

  7. I have dreamed of being a writer. I was/am a good poet. My was to write books and get paid for them. I have plenty of ideas. I NEED DISCIPLINE. Thank you for the encouraging blog.

  8. I really only had 3 dreams: Work in the music industry (and meet Paul McCartney), work as a singer (giant vocal range) and go to Egypt. Well, I grew up, worked at Capitol Records, met Paul & Linda McCartney, though never worked as a singer to my great sorrow as I lost the entire upper range of my voice both speaking and singing, and finally, go to Egypt and see the ancient civilizations for myself.

  9. My dream was (note the past tense) to make it to Mars via the Mars One team. I made the cuts all the way from 200,000 down to 605, but when they narrowed it down to 100, I wasn’t one of the chosen ones. I can understand why (at least, why I think they didn’t choose me), but it hit me harder than I expected. Probably because I’ve been lucky my whole life (ok, and I worked hard) at getting whatever I wanted. This was the first time I didn’t get something I’d really worked hard at. You’d think, by age 65, I would have come across something–well, besides high school chemistry–that hadn’t worked, but I hadn’t, and I had no coping skills.
    But in any event, I wanted that dream because, well, MARS! Who cares if it’s a one-way trip? Who cares if it’s dangerous? All worthwhile things are, in one respect or another. I would have been the heroine of my own book, not to mention the whole world. And given the rate at which we’re destroying our planet, I might have been able to provide a refuge for my kids. And well, did I mention, Mars? The chance to explore something no human has ever set foot on before, to leave MY footprints.
    Anyway, I turned my lemons into a commercially published book on NASA and maybe a book about Mars (both nonfiction), so I’m not totally giving up on such. It would have been nice, but maybe I’ll find an alternate path!

    • I’m with you. I wanted to go to space from the time I watched men walk on the moon on July 21st, 1969. I was eight years old.

      I eventually got as far as writing science fiction and getting back my favorite main character so I could finish telling her story.

      And I play No Man’s Sky at night, which helps. (The first big update helped, too. :D)

  10. One of my big goals was always “Come Out Finally, so you can live an authentic life.” That finally happened this year (in my thirties, sigh). And for the first time in my life, the words I’m putting down on a new novel I started this year are not censored, but authentically me. It’s the most liberating, amazing feeling I’ve ever experienced.

    And I have the courses here to thank not only for kickass writing techniques, but for all the mental gymnastics techniques that finally allowed me to get in touch with and accept who I really am. 🙂

    • 😀 I’m cheering for you. Being honestly yourself is the toughest thing we have to do as human beings. Get that right and the rest of your life starts lining up and making sense. Get it wrong and you’re hiding from yourself in the mirror each morning.

      HUGS. And I’m glad my classes helped you get where you want to be.

  11. Get my first novel completed and self-published, after editing and cover. I have been trying to get a novel written off and on for four years.

    This year 2017 I am going to get my first novel done no matter what.

    • Do it. It’s a fantastic and worthwhile goal. My first one sucked, but when I got to the end I knew I’d finally found the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

  12. I want to work. To be productive. If I could achieve no other dream in this life, the one I want is to get up every day and accomplish something, and WRITE, and go to bed knowing that I’m closer to my goals and that I’ll do more tomorrow. I’d like to financially support myself with my writing, but I’d rather write.

    (As to why that’s a goal: I wrote like mad years ago, and then I let mental illness and self destructive behavior clog up my gears and now I’m so exhausted and I don’t know how I’m ever going to accomplish anything. I’ve been trying to ‘just write’ again for two years, and I don’t seem to be any closer to making progress. I know there’s a way, though. There has to be. Also, apologies for making this all about writing again — I am your reader and love your books but definitely found you through the writing classes.)

    • Okay. There’s a thing called “exercising to failure” that writers do, too. It’s where you write a page a day, and that’s too easy, so then you write two pages a day, and that’s too easy — so then you keep going until you hit the point where it’s hard, and you can’t do it every day.

      At which point you break your writing.

      Been there. Done that. The cure is to do HALF as much as you know you can, and then quit for the day. Leave some gas in your tank.

      And I recommended my free Flash Fiction class upstream somewhere, but I’m mentioning it again. It’s a three week class that is the ultimate in “start small.” And it’s a simple process that can be expanded to bigger projects.

      Hugs, and hang in.

  13. Dreams. I think mine have dwindled to getting the houses cleaned and cleared of the accumulation of twenty years, finding homes for an overabundance of dogs and cats, maybe helping the estate of my friend/landlord set up an animal rescue on his five acres, surviving the next year and possibly,just possibly revising two or three of my ridiculous number of finished and unfinished stories for publication … Just thinking about it makes me tired. Small steps, baby steps, one thing at a time … In theory I have another twenty years to work with … LOL.

    • Each afternoon (or evening) when I quit work for the day, I write my list of the things I HAVE to do the next day.

      There are ONLY EVER three things on that list. The first item is the big thing. The second and third items are small.

      My focus each day is on finishing my list. If I have a lot of time left over, I’ll do some extra things, if I have a little time left over, I’ll sometimes knock of a bit early. If I don’t finish the big thing, I don’t change the list. It sits for the next day.

      But every day I finish my tiny list, I win.

      Don’t think of all the stories you have to finish someday. Just think of the one scene in the one story you WANT to finish today.

      The weight of the world rolls off your shoulders if you slice it down to three items and shrug of the rest.

      Hugs.

  14. Long ago, it was “get a book published.” But I did just that, and my new goal was “get a series going.” After doing that, my goal was “get them all on the Amazon Bestseller list.” All but the book we released two weeks ago have made the list, and the new book (7th in DS Kane’s Spies Lie series) was just released 10 days ago and will have a price reduction three-day Kindle promo in about a week.

    My current goal is to write a few more before I’m gone to that big coffee cup in the writer’s sky. I’m making money as a writer, have a good, loving marriage to a woman who is lots smarter than me, and we have a comfortable home. Need doesn’t drive me. I write because I can’t stop. Writing is an addiction that won’t physically hurt you.

    This is not to say it hasn’t been hard to achieve every goal. Before becoming a writer, I had achieved less than half my goals. Holly, your courses have helped.

  15. My BIG DREAM is to finish the 5 book series I started many years ago. I wrote the first one on Sundays. It took almost a year to complete but my reader loved it. That was more than 5 years ago. The first book still needs revision, maybe a total rewrite. But it gave me my world and the idea that man must work with the magical, i.e. fairy tale world because both are needed if we’re going to survive. Eons ago when the Earth was formed and populated, the Goddess knew that man by himself would destroy the Earth so she created Dragons to be helpers to man to fix what man used up/ruined. But then the story of George and the Dragon came out and the Dragons withdrew to the spirit side of Earth. This split cause the Earth to divide into Earthside where all the mundane exist and HeartShorn where the magical creatures live. The first book RUBY deals with a misguided Earthside wizard captures Dragons to force them to repair the Earth. His opponent is a modern day witch with undeveloped powers of her own plus a cat, first born of the Goddess’s own familiar. Many of the dragons of Heartshorn believe the witch is responsible for the disappearance of dragons. The witch must gain the acceptance of the dragons, stop the wizard despite the help he gets from HIS familiar a Toad named Ahriman who actually is the God Ahriman in one of his known forms but confined to that shape when dealing with mortals in either realm (Heartshorn or Earthside) due to a longstanding agreement between all the Gods. The witch needs to gain the help of the dragons and has to prove herself to all the dragon clans and win each Clan’s treasure to be able to fight the wizard and recover the blood ruby. The next book concerns the Fertile Emerald which guards fertility on both worlds.

  16. Hi Holly,

    I have succeeded in my two major goals.

    They were to be there for my parents and to provide a secure home for my children as well as the opportunity of higher education.

    My husband and I have been married thirty years and are still happy. Now, we have small goals. This summer, we plan to trek up to see the mountain gorillas while there still are mountain gorillas, and then there is publishing my novel…

    French Lady

    • I like your goals. Both the ones you hit and the ones you’re still shooting for.

      My (third and final) husband and I have been together for the 21 best years of my life, and he’s why they have been the 21 best years of my life. I’m glad you have someone who fits you, too.

  17. My goal is Spiritual Freedom. Religion is there to help us look at a bigger picture, a Spiritual picture. I found a church that has answers to my questions, that provides a path one can walk and get results. I’ve been on that path a long time, moving slow over towards that goal. Along the way, the path has remained true, so I continue. The way out is known. By out I mean out of the insanities we consider normal and an enhanced knowledge and beingness of what we are as Spiritual Beings. It is the missing ingredient, as I see it. So, getting to those higher levels is my goal. I am not saying what religion or church as I think people walking any Spiritual path are working in that direction.

  18. i have a BIG dream of doing a business related to zombies and then branching out to other monsters. i mean it will be DISNEY-level BIG!

    it’s been on my mind since the late 90’s and i can’t seem to let it go — to build wealth for myself instead of working to make others rich. my adult children are on board with the idea (and it’s one of two businesses i want to leave to them when i pass on as it will financially secure my heirs for generations.)

    mainly though, i just want to know that my family is taken care of by way of something we created out of nothing. plus, it’s gonna be fun building it.

  19. Holly, Well, that is extremely thought provoking. I have to say that here in the beginning of a new life at 82 years old my greatest desire is to make a positive contribution to every person I come into contact with. My books are definitely a step in the right direction. Holly, I have been my wife’s caregiver now for 15 years, it has been quite a journey and has led to my caregiver book, WHO CARES? Life certainly does throw some crap our way, but it is our choice how we handle that stuff. I feel your pain Holly, and would like to give you a great big hug. When I was very young my father abandoned me, then I lost my first wife to a drunk driver and raised my four children pretty well on my own. Now there is my wife’s Alzeimer’s dementia and my brother’s recent death from alcohol poisoning, and a lot of other stuff in between. We writers must WRITE, it is what we do. I do so appreciate you Holly. My caregiver book is going to be up on Kindle shortly. Blessings on you girl, you have friends out here, sincerely, Charles Towne

    • Charles, I’m so glad to hear from you again, and to know that you’re doing well. I’m sorry life has continued to be so rough on you: I am so sorry to hear about your loss of your brother. I hope you and your wife still manage some good moments. You are a wonderful husband, and I admire you wholeheartedly.

      We persevere, you and I. We take one more step than we think we can, and one more after that. And we remember to keep our eyes forward, for even if joy is momentarily out of sight, it will come within our reach again.

      Huge hugs.

    • Holly, One thing that I have discovered is that without the difficulties life would be sort of, well, dull. We grow, perhaps not in spite of the challenges, but because of them. Sometimes it is difficult to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, but baby, it is there. As a wildlife photographer I have had extremely close calls but they give me all the more to write about. You be good Holly, and remember, there are people out here that love you. sincerely, your friend, Charles

  20. I want to write for a living, and help my also-writer husband do the same, at least in part, so we can do the work we live for instead of work that doesn’t matter to us, and homeschool our son and any future children. I just want us to be able to spend more of our lives actually together, and I want to get the worlds in my head onto paper and make them seem even a fraction as real to readers as they feel to me.

    • This was my goal. It took years, but most of the last twenty-one years it’s been my reality. It’s been insanely hard work, but every minute of work has been worth every minute Matt and I and the kids had and have with each other.

      Hang in. You can get there.

  21. My Big One is to eventually move to Maui and live out the rest of my life there. I’ve been blessed to go there several times and i fell in love with that place from Day 1. No, that’s not strong enough. I fall in love with just about any beach area. I love warm weather and beaches. Maui was much more special than that. After being in Maui for one day, it felt like my real home, and always has ever since. The people are as warm and welcoming as the weather!

    I don’t have a set schedule for that yet, other than “when I can financially afford to go”. I’m hoping to use writing to accelerate that. In 2017, I’ll release my first novel for sale during the summer, and if all goes well, I’ll release my 2nd novel for sale by the end of the year, or soon thereafter. These are estimates since I have yet to get a feel for how much time the business-side of writing will take. Even if writing doesn’t get me there, it will still happen someday.

      • LOL. You can tell we are about the same age based upon your music reference (I’m 50). I just wish I had your writing pedigree! I’m just getting started. But you have to start somewhere.

        My condolences for the for the loss in the family! Hearing things like that make Maui seem so insignificant to me.

        I WILL live there!

        • Funny thing is, the song was new to me this year. It’s one Matt played for me, and I fell in love with it.

          I missed all the good music during the seventies and eighties. My musical tastes back then were … ah … squishy and girly and utterly lacking in edge.

          I’m just now catching up. (And getting dub-step from my youngest at the same time.)

          • Some of the best music ever made happened during the seventies and eighties in my opinion. No one will ever beat the Eagles in my book!

            My youngest (17) LOVES music, so I get my share of dubstep too. But she likes some of the classics too. Her tastes cover many genres and generations. I’m a fan of heavy bass, so dubstep is appealing to me, but it’s a mixed bag for me. Some of it is great. Other pieces don’t click with me at all.

            I have two younger sisters that enjoyed that squishy, girly crap, er, music when we were growing up. We only had one radio, so when they started playing that stuff, that was my cue to go outside and play:)

  22. My really big goal?

    Setting up a thorough, self-supporting sanctuary to help victims of less-provable abuse with the side effects that interfere with more conventional escape methods 1. get their feet under them, 2. escape, and 3. stay that way.

    My goal for the sanctuary would be for it to have several related self-sustaining businesses to provide employment and opportunities for folks. (I have several ideas designed. There are a lot of factors that need to be in place before I can even start that, though.)

    The “special” part would be the types of situations it focuses on, the way it presents itself, and the way it would be funded. I’m sure it’s not unique, but there are so many different ways folks can have their reality warped, and it’s so much easier to focus on overt, obvious control rather than risk helping a toxic who’s playing victim or drawing the ire of the smart ones.

    It’s really not hard for someone to hide abuse of others. I was poisoned via allergy multiple times per month for years. (Technically, it was multiple times per week, but that’s getting into contact dermatitis, chore assignments, and water blister–causing soap used in the single bathroom that was also my responsibility to clean.)

    Even as my allergies worsened and I started getting early-stage anaphylaxis symptoms, my protests were all “spun” as me whining/complaining, as me “telling stories, or as my fault in some fashion. (And the motor difficulty and chronic pain—which started when I was a kid—were aggressively dismissed as laziness and whining, to the point that I didn’t even process them as something unusual until recently…and at this point, I actually can’t go to the hospital, thanks to allergies.)

    (I am frighteningly used to handling my own severe allergic reactions. And by “severe”, I mean, “Hmm. If this reaction hits my diaphragm, I won’t be able to breathe. Benedryl will take X more minutes to kick in, so that means I have to keep breathing at least Y minutes until then in order to avoid risk of brain damage.”)

    I’m not saying that everything was necessarily malicious. In fact, I’m 100% sure that most of it wasn’t. (There’s one main person responsible, and it is not the person who has for years been told I hold him responsible for everything and am angry with him. [sighs and waves to the cyberstalking person who probably won’t but might find this comment and will blame him for that, too])

    Holly, you’ve caught that there’s more I’m not saying, I’m sure.

    Regardless of the cause or intent, the frequency and persistence of it all is disturbing, and the physical side effects will probably affect my entire life.

    And I know others in such situations, who need to flee, but all the evidence they have is set up and spun so that it’ll just backfire on them, getting them and whatever pets they have hurt. They don’t have the evidence needed to qualify for the overcrowded domestic violence aid located in town, and they don’t have the resources or ability to get it in order to escape on their own.

    I know the signs. I can see these people—and tell the difference between a victim and someone playing victim. (It’s not that I read my situation onto others, either. I just see “potential” flags and pay attention, keeping aware of the difference between possibility and probability.)

    So…that’s my big goal. Will it happen? I dunno. But even if I am never able to start it, at least my stories can put the idea in someone else’s eye, or explicitly point out healthy vs. unhealthy dynamics and how manipulation works. I’ve already gotten some folks sending me thank-yous for it.

    • It will happen if you make it happen, and if you’re willing to do the work, you can make it happen. People with passion can accomplish the seemingly impossible.

      Break what you want into small, doable steps, and just work through it one step at a time.

      You can do it.

  23. MY dream is to be able to financially support myself and my family here on the farm through till I die (Of Very Old Age – as long as I have all my marbles and can still pick own nose etc)
    The aim is to get my writing to pay for this in full or instead of – any other work I have to do to make ends meet as that way I get to live here, and work here, in this fantastic place to the absolute max of my time left on earth. 🙂

  24. More than anything else my first goal is to defeat my mental illness problem and be truly happy. Because, with happiness, anything else is possible. Bless you, Holly. You’ve made a lot of writers’ dreams take form😎

  25. I would like to win enough money to pay off my house and then help my family members that are struggling just as much as I am. Then I would donate to the cancer charities and alzheimers.

    this is my first time doing this.

    • Hi, Carol. Thank you for your answer. And I understand the desire to win something.

      I used to have “Win Hugo,” and “Win Nebula” pinned up on my goal board with “Write every day,” “Finish first novel,” “Submit first novel.”

      Then I realized that the “Win” goals weren’t goals, because there was absolutely nothing I could do to make them happen through my own actions. When I ditched them and just focused on things I could actually do, I built a career.

      Hugs,
      Holly

  26. I have five fantasy novels in my head that all take place on the island of Dragonish, in the world of Ydon. I want to finish all five books before I die because, and I’m sorry if this sounds pretentious, all five stories want to be told. I’m old. I’m in poor health, and I don’t think I will achieve that; but it’s okay. I already have two amazing children and five grandchildren that are beautiful people who know how to deal with all that life throws them. And I recently released my flash fiction anthology of short stories set on Dragonish, so the world has had a chance to meet Granny Maberly, and I am happy.

    But in the meantime, in spite of devastating health news and two sudden and crushing deaths in the family (car crash), finishing the other five books gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps my out of it till it’s almost time to get up.

    I do not know what I would do without my dragons.

    • Hugs, Marya. I love your writing, and the world will be a better place if you finish your stories. Fight for your dragons, and never give up.

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