The View From Fifty-Four: Writer On A Mission

Writing was, and is, my passion.

Vision, Passion, Mission
Vision, Passion, Mission

I worked at my fiction from the time I was twenty-five until I was thirty-one without ever making a dime, and never begrudged a minute of that time. While I was writing, I was happy. I was creating. I was learning to write better. I was finding my stories and my voice. I was discovering a life-long love.

When I was thirty-one, I sold my first novel, and experienced the realization that I was home.

In that moment, I knew my purpose in life.

I was born to write fiction, to create worlds and characters and stories—and every crazy, dangerous, scary, heartbreaking, and wonderful thing I’d done in my life had been building up to that moment when I could roll what I loved and desired, feared and hated, lived and remembered, into stories that people who shared my same passions and dreads could read.

More, I found my mission.

I knew I wanted to be able to help other writers know what it felt like to come home to their lives’ purpose, to get their fiction into print, to get paid to do what they loved in the world, to turn what had been an impossible dream into “This is my real life, every amazing day!”

I have a vision.

Mine is not a grand vision of a whole world changed by what I love. Mine is a little vision, but it’s mine.

  • I want to live in a world where readers can buy stories they love directly from writers whose work they love, and who can directly, one-on-one, help those writers keep their careers alive, and keep writing the fiction they love, where the commercial publishing issues of sell-through or book-to-book increases cannot interfere with this human-to-human connection.Where the reader will always be able to ask her favorite writer, “Can you tell me a story?” And where the writer will be able to say, “Yes, I can.”
    The potential for this world now exists, but it isn’t fully realized.
  • I want to live in a world where writers can wake up every morning to write their fiction first, because that is what they’re being paid to do directly from the people who love what they do.
    Where motivated, passionate writers can afford to feed themselves and their families, can afford to create better lives for themselves, because their readers happily buy their stories and ask for more.Where every writer who is willing to work hard to perfect his or her craft can connect with the people who value that writer enough to pay to read what he or she does…and who will recommend the writer to friends who share the same loves and passions, and who will love this writer, too.
    The potential for this world exists, too—but too many writers don’t realize that what they love is within their reach, or know what they have to do to reach in.
    This is a problem I have solved for myself and know how to teach other writers to solve.
  • I want to live in a world where writers from anywhere in the world who want to write for a living can do so, regardless of previous education, regardless of pressures from family or society, and in doing so bring joy and laughter, comfort and courage, to the people who share their community, their understanding, their world view. And who can, by reading the works of these writers who share their world and lives, know that they are not alone.The Internet makes this world both reachable and creatable, and I am working right now to build my small part of it.

Since 1991, I’ve been feeling my way toward building my part of this world I want to live in.

I made mistakes along the way. I went in wrong directions, forgetting that every person who wants to live a better life has to work to do it, and has to be paid for that work—and that the only way any writer can fully realize his or her dream of writing full-time is to get paid for doing that.
I was the first person who jumped in front of the ‘do it for free’ bus I once recommended, and my family suffered for many years because of that.
When I realized that if writing was going to be my work, I had to work for money, I put together a little writing shop, and invited other writers to create work for readers and writers and publish it there—but while I did pretty well for a few years moving nonfiction for my writers, I couldn’t do anything for their fiction.
And keeping up with the expanding platform and the books on it turned out to be more than I could handle while still keeping my own writing career going.
I tried to create Rebel Tales as a way for writers to connect directly to their readers with serial fiction, and got my ass handed to me by a thief pretending to be an editor.
Both of these projects of mine were before Amazon and other online bookstores opened up their platforms to indie authors. Amazon and other platforms created much larger access for writers than I could ever offer. They are one of a number of pieces now in place that can allow me to expand my vision, my passion, my mission.

I have strengths and weaknesses that affect what I can do with this vision, this passion, this mission of mine.

  • I know how to find the best people on the internet, both readers and writers. Some of them hang out here, and have for years. Some of them hang out in my old Forward Motion writing community, now owned and run by my friend Lazette Gifford. Some of them hang out in my new—well, newer—writing community on How To Think Sideways, which has been alive for about seven years now.
  • I know how to show them how to change their dreams into their reality. What they love is what I love—and for the writers, what they want to do is the same thing I wanted to do. I did it without college, without funding, and without assistance from the government, and I know that to succeed, other writers don’t need those things either.
  • And I know how to write good fiction, how to revise it, how to make it hang together so that readers want to read more.
    Those are my strengths.

On to the weaknesses.

  • I am only one person, and I’ve now used up more than half my life, no matter how optimistic I might choose to be about how long I can hope to live. My great-grandmother lived to be 103, and when I was twenty-four (and she was ninety-four) I looked at her and thought, “I need to be doing something that I can still do when I’m her age.”
    That was the origin of my New Year’s Resolution to finish my first novel before I turned twenty-five.I made it, and I made it here, and as long as my mind stays sharp, I can do this until I die. And I intend to.
    But in the last four years, I’ve had a brain tumor scare and a cancer scare. So far, the symptoms turned out, after expensive testing, to be from benign problems.
    But one of these days, they won’t be. I can’t do everything. And I don’t have forever in which to build the world in which I want to live.
  • In my writing school, along with pros who are sharpening skills and intermediate writers who are close to breaking out, I have thousands of “baby writers.” 
    Many of these folks are going to become the great voices in fiction for the next fifty to seventy-five years. But right now they’re brand-new, and struggling to find readers.
  • I want to help them find readers—but I need to help them find THEIR readers. I need to help them find the people who will love what they do, who will help them discover their voices, and who will, when they start publishing, find and buy their first stories, and their later stories.  
    People who will value them for their writing, will pay them to keep writing, will love what they do and spread the word to other readers who will ALSO love what they do.And I don’t KNOW their readers. But you do, or someone you know does, or has a cousin once removed on his mother’s side who’s uncle reads exactly what this person writes. 

I want to recruit people who share my purpose, my passion, my mission…my vision.

I have some of my core people already.

My web developer, Dan Allen, understands what I’m doing and why. He knows this mission, and like me, he sees why it matters. He’s on board to build the infrastructure that will make it fly. And he’s in this for the long haul.
My amazing moderators know the mission, and in the forums every day, they are now—and have been for years—helping writers figure out new ways to use my writing courses. They help people adapt processes that I use myself into processes that work for brains wired far differently than mine. And as we move forward, they’ll be putting together writing challenges, and using new forum features to help writers make their fiction better.
Even while we’re on the crappy forums we’re stuck with until Dan finishes turning a battered, ancient database into a well-oiled machine, they’re on the boards every day. They are magnificent.

I’m still missing some core people.

I have two service providers who are also HowToThinkSideways students, and who created special offers for my writing members, so that they could get better prices on getting their books edited and formatted.

  • I need more folks like these.
  • And I need readers for my writers.

As part of my ongoing mission to create an online writing school that teaches writing dreamers how to become writing professionals, I’m adding a service for readers. will introduce READERS WHO SHARE MY VISION to writers who are working to become professional writers, and who are trying to find their readers.

  • These are readers who are dedicated to helping the writers who are going to become the great voices of fiction for the next fifty to seventy-five years,
  • Who want to read good fiction and who are willing to support the careers of the people who it by buying their work…
  • And by recommending their work to others…
  • Who are willing to pitch in on crowdsourcing final manuscripts, for example, to make sure broke beginning writers are able to put out high-quality, non-buggy fiction even when they’re just getting started…
  • Who are willing to help split test things like cover art and cover copy (basically, you’ll just go to pages linked from a Want To Test? page and click around, browsing what interests you and ignoring what doesn’t).
  • Who are willing to get involved in helping the writers you’ll someday love BECOME those writers.

Dan and I will have to build this, and my moderators, and volunteer readers and writers, will have to test it.

As Dan and I work toward building a better online writing school, I’m going to ask you what you want, either as a reader or as a writer.

I’m going to use this site to talk to you about these things, and ask you to test various site features and let me know what you think about them. I’m going to ask for your opinions. I’m going to ask for you to help me find the people I need to make various parts of this vision of mine work.
I’m building this thing so it will outlive me. I want to know that writers will still have a place where they can learn what they need to know to build lives, feed their families, and reach their dreams doing what they love. And I want that place to still have some part of me in it. To go on doing what I love when I no longer can.
I don’t know how long this place can last.
I don’t know who else besides me this vision, this passion, this mission speaks to.
But if this matters to you, please tell me here. And tell me WHAT matters to you, and WHY.

The view from fifty-four is a wonderful view. It is watching my dreams made real in the world in the lives of writers who reach their own dreams.

Thank you for joining me for all these years in making this happen. Please help me make the vision clearer, the mission stronger, the passion more loved, more respected, and more cherished.



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110 responses to “The View From Fifty-Four: Writer On A Mission”

  1. Danielle C Avatar
    Danielle C

    Happy Birthday Holly!
    This sounds like a fantastic vision and mission, count me in!
    As an avid reader and writer I’d love to be involved with this journey. I’m always on the look out for new authors, and of course to expand upon my writing skills and craft 🙂

  2. Beany Avatar

    Hello Holly 🙂
    I’ve been stalking this site for quite a while now and am subscribed to your emails. Love it!
    I am still at school and would really love to be an author someday. I know that I could easily get into multiple career paths, yet, somehow, I still feel the draw of starving to be a writer.
    From Beany.

  3. Elaine Menendez Avatar

    I apologize for my link showing up in the blog (public)…I thought it would be automatically screened out…sorry 🙁

    1. Holly Avatar

      It was beautiful, Elaine.

      I’ve pulled your personal comments because they were intended for me, but I’ve added your link back in here: You’ve done something wonderful.

      1. Elaine Menendez Avatar

        Thank you for your kind words. It means so much to me coming from you…I can’t imagine how worn out you must be sometimes trying to do all you do. Just know that there are those of us who really appreciate it.

    2. Elaine Milner (esmil) Avatar
      Elaine Milner (esmil)

      What a delightful and refreshing book! I love the rhythm and the message of enjoying nature, leaving behind the worries that plague so many people.

    3. Wednesday Avatar

      I just submitted your beautiful, inspiring video to Stumble Upon. (Love the art, the ants are adorable and so is the girl and her spaniel.) I hope many more get to experience your beautiful creation. If it were a book, I’d buy it. And I think what you’ve made is something Durweigh Studios might be interested in. (Am not affiliated with them, I just like their vision and what they produce and sell.)

  4. Connie Dunn Avatar

    Hi Holly!
    Happy Birthday!! Count me in!

    As someone who has been writing since childhood, worked as a freelance journalist, as a storyteller, children’s book author, and curriculum writer, I have experienced some successes. I have been independently publishing since 1981. I love indie publishing! You are in complete control of everything! That can either be daunting or thrilling.

    I also teach people to write and publish their books. I don’t have the sort of successes that you have experienced, but I recognize that the big problem is finding the readers for each of your books. I have some readers, but not nearly enough for me to feed myself let alone anyone else. I’m at a different point on my life voyage, I’m 65. I’ve just published and been marketing one of the most important books in my life and has the potential to change many lives, if I can get it to the people who need it. And I’m doing what I can…

    What you are creating will revolutionize writing and publishing. Please tell me how I can help.

    Connie Dunn

  5. Elaine Menendez Avatar

    Dear Holly,

    First of all, Happy Birthday. Second of all I want to say thank you. To me, YOU are the “Guardian Angel of Creativity”, the “Patron Saint of Projects Set Aside”, the “President and CEO of Not to Old to Dream, Inc.”. I would love to be one of your READERS. I like to write, but don’t really consider myself a writer. I admire your tenacity to stay on the road to end our your rainbow. Blessings…Elaine

  6. Linda Holder Avatar

    Congratulations on 54. Thank you for sharing your passion and mission and asking others to join in.

  7. Rose Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Holly!

    I’m approaching 50 and thinking about The Big Milestone I’ll reach next year. Like you, the realisation I’d passed the half way mark of any hoped for life expectancy has focused my attention on what I want from my remaining time. I’ve accepted I’m probably not going to write (let alone publish) the three novels in my head, but do hope to publish more short stories and flash fiction. I’ve discovered I enjoy editing and guiding new writers towards their own visions. I’ve acknowledged the ever-growing library of unread books on my Kindle and intend to set aside protected time to enjoy them.
    So, I’m on board with your idea and supportive of your mission. I’d be happy to read short story collections and help writers exploring the flash format, but would not wish commit to reading novels. (Know your limits and keep your promises is the motto.) My social network is limited, but I’d help promote where I could. I have previously been involved in market research around how consumers relate to products based on advertising visuals and testing cover art would be something I’d enjoy. If you feel you could use my services in any of those areas, just ask. Nothing in life is more satisfying than helping others achieve their dreams.

  8. Katharina Gerlach Avatar

    Happy birthday to you, Holly. And thanks for apprechiating your mods. They’re all doing a great job (and I should know since I’m officially 1/2 a boss 😀 ).

    I love your reader/writer idea and already signed up.

    I struggled forever and ever with my writing. When amazon finally came along and opened its doors to Indies, I hesitated but then joined. I’ve never looked back since. Unfortunately, I’m still not making much money with my books despite the quality my readers assure me of, so anything to help with that is somthing I’ll jump at. Thanks for thinking this up.

  9. Laurie Avatar

    Happy Birthday and cheers for your vision! I will support it in whatever way I find that I can. Looking forward to your continued journey.

  10. Barbara Lund Avatar

    I’m in.

    With one book rejected and one being shopped to agents, I really want to indie-pub the one I’m writing now and the two bursting to be written, but I couldn’t figure out how to reach the readers.

    And I LOVE to read and am always looking for new authors who write what I want to read, so this vision of yours sounds like the answer to EVERYTHING I need right now. Well, except more time. I could use three or four hours a day that no one else can have access to! 😉

    Thank you, Holly, for your classes, your caring, and your vision.

    1. Katharina Gerlach Avatar

      Agreed. I’d do anything for a remote control that allows me to slow the time around me. I could do so much in the extra time. 😉

  11. Claudette Avatar

    Congrats, Holly, both on your birthday and on your new mission statement. I’m with you on this quest, for more reasons than I have room to mention.

    I waited until I’d burned-out of three professions before taking writing seriously. I’ve always been a writer and began in the “free-zone”. I don’t like that zone anymore and have chosen the pay-as-you-go-zone for my future.

    Readers and writers need a place to commune and yours is the most logical place in the world to place it. Kudos on your plan.

    You asked if we had any ideas for this r/w communion. I have only one. I’d like to see a forum where the writer could post a page–a very short scene–for the writer to evaluate in constructive terms. Not a critique, but rather a thoughtful eval–something on the order of – “I like this character and would like to see what she’s going to do in this situation,” or “Could a person really build this kind of contraption and have it work this way?”

    That sort of feedback could be valuable for the writer, but would also get the reader involved in the process of how a piece comes together, the kind of research that’s used, etc. I always enjoy this kind of feedback from readers and other writers. At the same time, it offers a chance for brainstorming, which is an absolute favorite of mine.

    You’ve taken a lot of raw, new creative people and forged them into published writers, Holly. You know how to teach what we need to learn, regardless of our experience level. This new direction for you is something that could very big, but more importantly, it has potential for being a creativity generator of global proportions, and that’s always good.

    Be proud of all you’ve accomplished in your 54 years, my friend. You deserve to swell with it for a long while yet.

    1. Claudette Avatar

      Sorry for the interruption. I have a small correction to my post.

      I meant to say that a forum for posting short scenes for eval would allow the readers and writers to chime in with opinions and questions about the scene.


  12. Echo LaVeaux Avatar

    Oh this sounds wonderful! As a life-long reader and writer, I am very interested in your project. Happy birthday!

  13. Sherilyn Avatar

    Happy birthday, Holly! I wish you a year of wonder, joy, and love!

    I am always on the lookout for new writers who are producing good, readable fiction. I haven’t gotten much writing done lately because I am busily building my editing business.

    My passions include helping writers make their work shine, fiction and nonfiction. Everyone who is willing to sit down and do the work to get their book or story written deserves to have it edited professionally for a reasonable price. I am creating a world in which writers put forth their work in the best possible way for readers to enjoy.

    I also want to get the characters rattling around in my head out and on paper. I am working to create time and space for that, as well as time to explore my artwork. Whew! All this packed into one life! I understand how you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed; I’ve been living there myself.

    That said, I would love to be part of what you are creating. Take care and have an amazing day.

  14. Scarlet Darkwood Avatar

    I think this idea is wonderful and should be pursued. Any platform to help readers and writers connect in any way is a great thing. I would recommend trying to keep true to your vision so you don’t fall prey to what some of the other sites have (and you know who they are). Count me in!

  15. Tommy aka ryderevangee Avatar
    Tommy aka ryderevangee

    Short history: I am, like all of your students, a reader and a writer (to varying degrees) who is in love with and fascinated by the magic of stories. Seven years ago, at the age of 51, I retired from the Navy and said to myself, now I want to take control of my destiny, I want to be a writer. I stopped buying lottery tickets because I intended to make a lot of money selling my books — they were going to be so easy to write and be so much better than some of the dross being published. And I was going to be rich and famous.
    Yes, really, I was 51 years old and believed that. Wake up call! Military retirement money is not enough to live on, not with a family and a house and bills to pay. I got a job, a hard, physical labor job that paid little more than minimum wage. And writing a book was far from easy. I searched and searched and searched some more for a place where I could learn. I sifted through metric-butt-tons of ads and websites that promised to have me writing at a professional level and published in just a few short months for a small nominal fee of (exorbitant amount). I paid for some (those that were inexpensive enough). I bought books on How to Write a Novel in 90 Days and a few other titles. I wrote emails to agents, editors, and published writers asking them to be a mentor of sorts, to help me wade through the morass of B.S. to the Holy Grail of “how to be a good writer.”
    Then I found your website. Okay, not the Holy Grail, but as close as it gets. [Insert paragraph of flattery and compliments here].
    Number One on the List of Great Things about Holly Lisle: the amazing balance of positive motivation and brutal truth — being a good writer is not easy. It takes hard work and commitment. I have bought into your core values and philosophies. I have worked at it.
    It took a while to get around to signing up and paying for HTTS (economic factors) but it is worth twice as much (if not more). I have finally finished a First Draft that I’m happy with. It is not a Horrible Wreck, nor is it the Greatest Book Ever Written. But it is Good. I am in my one month cooling off period before revision. I will, of course, be using HTRYN.
    So, what do I need: Working around from general to specific — (This is not complaining. I adore you and the work you have done, and I understand the enormity of what you have accomplished. But you asked.) In general, my brain becomes overwhelmed with the sheer immensity (I didn’t want to use the word “enormity” again) of the website. Compounding that, many of the links don’t seem to work. Or, I click on a link and find that the last comment or thread was posted two years ago, leading me to believe that something is wrong (either the link, or me, or there are no other students currently taking the course or posting). I get lost (could be me). So I retreat back to read the lesson, work on my writing, join a forum or find Boot Camp later.
    Specifically: I am at the point where, when I’m done revision (not far away) I will need an editor. I’ve been putting money away a little at a time to pay for that, but I have no idea where to find one (other than call up the website for the Editor’s Guild and take a shot in the dark). I will need a formatter — I’ve seen the banner on the Home Page, I’m sure that’s where I’ll go. I need (as much as possible) simple, child-proof instructions on how to get my book up and for sale on the internet. I know your recommendations are spread throughout the lessons, I will have to search to find them again because I neglected to write them down.
    I am completely aware that most of that makes me sound needy — and maybe not the brightest crayon in the box — my biggest problem is, and always has been, being lost in a bit of a fog. My talents and natural problem solving abilities won’t kick in until I see the path clearly — then I can figure out how to deviate to suit my own needs. It is having an extremely logical mind and an extremely creative mind separated by a field of tall grass and mist.
    I have practically answered my own question. I know you have moderators. I used to talk to Texanne, I thought the world of her, but she retired. When I’m done revision, I will find a place to post my questions and I’m sure one of your other great moderators will help me out.
    On to What I Can Offer: (granted some of it is not “what I can offer,” but more like “what I can get others to offer”) I have a niece with a degree in Graphic Design. I intend to ask her to do my cover art for free (because she’s my niece and she loves me). I also intend to see if I can get her involved and offer her services at a drastically discounted price. That translates to: no promises (of course) because although she is young, talented, and an extremely nice person, the choice is hers. I have a very good friend with a degree in Marketing. He has agreed to help me (free of charge). Depending on how good he turns out to be and how much of a need there might be for his services, I would like to recruit him also.
    As for myself, I’m want to be part of this. What can I offer? At a minimum, I am perfectly willing to be a reader for another writer — “another set of eyes” — I read yours, you read mine. I know there is a place for that somewhere on the website, refer back to the previous paragraphs, I don’t know where to find it. Once I have one book up and for sale, I am willing to serve as a guide for others who are looking for advice or directions (though that might be repetitive of what is already offered somewhere else on the website). If I manage to break out of my fog and get good enough, I would be willing to be an actual moderator.
    In summary, I probably need a lot more than I can offer. The only saving grace is that, once I get on the right track, I have the ability to get good at a moderately fast pace. And once I have the requisite experience and knowledge, I am willing to share it freely. Holly, if you found anything in there that you think could be useful or helpful, I volunteer.

    1. Tommy aka ryderevangee Avatar
      Tommy aka ryderevangee

      After re-reading my own comment above, and more of the other comments from others, I realize that (once again) it sounds like my tunnel vision has me commenting in a way that is slightly off-target, as in, the post is directed more toward the existing website as opposed to the vision of a new goal. Please forgive me. I did read your Birthday Post, and have been remiss in not first saying, Happy Birthday! And then saying, take anything applicable from the above post and move it into the category of new vision. My apologies. I don’t get out much.

      1. Holly Lisle Avatar
        Holly Lisle

        It’s okay. Mine was a LONG post.

        Please join the brainstorming team:

        We can use your ideas. 😀

        1. Devi Black Avatar
          Devi Black

          Happy Birthday Holly!
          This sounds like an amazing way to connect readers and writers directly and I would absolutely love to be a part of it! What can I do to help?

          1. Holly Avatar

            I’m getting my survey stuff set up now. When I get it done, if you’ll do the first survey, that will help enormously.

        2. Matthew Graybosch Avatar

          As a former Forward Motion reader, I’d love to join Even though I’ve never gotten around to reading your books (it’s not you; it’s me), I’m glad you’re still around and still helping out.

          1. Holly Avatar

            Hi, Matthew. If you haven’t done so already, join us. I’d love to have your input. The signup is here: We already have a great group in there, and the things we’re brainstorming to add to this community are beyond anything I imagined.

            1. Matthew Graybosch Avatar

              Thanks, Holly. I’m already there; I just haven’t had much to say yet. 🙂

  16. Werner Avatar

    It matters not, that like others, I work in a creativity-killing cubicle farm. Nor does it matter that I’ve not finished every story I’ve started. What matters is that I have the willingness to learn and an undying compulsion to write. What matters is finding the teachers and mentors I need to instruct me, motivate me and provide constructive feedback from which I will learn.

    It matters that I work toward earning a living as a writer, and become not only proficient at the craft but the business of it as well. Through living the writing life, I will have that sense of place and belonging I’ve experienced before when crafting an article or story which affected others.

    It matters to me to leave a legacy through my writing and stories, and to ultimately pay it forward and teach others to realize the same dreams and ambitions.

  17. Jason Avatar


    Thank you so much for all the work you have done and continue to do. Your writing as well as your classes, advise, forums and everything else are fantastic. I appreciate that a writer of your caliber is willing to spend so much time, money and effort to enable others to follow where you have led.

    Some day I hope to follow this same path. You are an inspiration. Thank you, Holly.

  18. Stavroula Avatar

    Happy Birthday Holly! May your 54th year be filled with joy, great health and wonderful surprises. And here’s to many, many more years to come.

    I remember first finding your site in 2005, maybe 2004. At the time I was juggling various fantasy novel attempts but I was overwhelmed by my lack of experience. Your website was a godsend. I hungrily read all your articles, printed them out so I could have your Worldbuilding & plot tips handy when I wrote. It gave me the courage to tackle writing with more confidence. I didn’t think I could get published at the time, but I wrote regardless.

    Making money from writing is pretty tough. IMO writing is more demanding than other jobs, it pays way less… but it makes living enchanting. I grew up quite poor and that was a huge obstacle in getting an education, especially the arts degree I was dreaming of. For a long time I felt I “didn’t have the RIGHT” to do what I love simply because I couldn’t afford it. The art & writing fields have been a privilege of higher social classes for many centuries. Now for the first time in history, people of different nations, genders and classes have a right to tell their stories to each other. Books can offer true diversity.

    Personally, as I got older poverty ceased to petrify me and I thought “screw it! I have the right to follow my passion and my calling, even if I never sell a single copy. I was BORN a writer. That’s the bottom line”. I’m so happy that publishing and finding readers worldwide is now more accessible.

    But back to you… I can’t think of any other writer who has given so much to aspiring writers, from information, to actual platforms, to encouragement. In my mind your legacy is already an astounding one. You changed so many lives, and have been a beacon in the dark that I believe will continue to guide us, and show us hope for a loooooong time. Be blessed. May your love for words be returned to you in actions a hundredfold.

    I like your new idea. It would be helpful to me as reader as I would love to discover new authors. I have read my old fave writers (over and over) and would love to find different books, without feeling like it’s a total gamble on a newcomer. I’d definitely join such a site as a reader, and as a writer too.

    Thanks for sharing your passion on your b-day. I forgive you for not sharing your passion fruit cake with us as well. I wouldn’t either.

    Much Love and gratitude, Always. 😀

  19. Ariana Browning Avatar

    Happy Birthday! : )
    As both a writer, and reader, I am all for it. As a reader, I find it hard to find great work, unless I go to my standard traditionally published authors. As a writer, my reserved (and keep to myself) nature kicks me in the ass. I’m behind you.

    1. Stephanie Black Avatar

      Hear hear Ariana! I’ve become a reserved reader as well as a reserved writer 😀

      Awesome as always, Holly.

  20. Thea van Diepen Avatar

    Happy birthday!!! 😀

    The Readers Meet Writers idea is brilliant, and definitely what I’ve been looking for, as both a reader and a writer.

    I wish you the very best on your birthday, and may this new venture bring joy to you and all who use it. 🙂

  21. Mike Avatar

    Holly, this vision of yours matters to me because I need it. That might seem to be a pretty selfish reason, but I’ve read almost everything that is available on your website without joining a class, and I can see that you’re the one who will enable me to do what I’ve wanted to do for more than 40 years.

    Yep, I’m of your generation. In fact, I’ve got 2 years on you. 🙂 And I’ve been writing story ideas since before I hit my teens. And it’s continued ever since then. The problem is, they’re just story ideas (in some cases even outlines), not stories.

    For the past 20+ years my life has been way too busy. I’ve continued writing story ideas, but nothing further. A little more than a year ago my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with MS. Yep, that’ll slow a person down! For the past year I’ve tried to figure out a way to continue doing what I’ve been doing, and just the past couple months I’ve had to face the reality that I CAN’T continue doing what I’ve been doing for so many years.

    After holding a short pity party for myself and all that I thought I lost, I realized that now, after being forced to slow down, I will have some time to follow my lifelong dream of bringing to life at least some of the stories that have just been gathering dust for years. I realized that, no, I’m not being put out to pasture; I’m setting off on a whole new adventure! And I believe wholeheartedly that you, Holly, are the one who will enable me to do this!

    I still have about six more months to close out what I’ve been doing for the past 20+ years. But then, oh yeah, it’ll be time to begin making a dream come true!

  22. Jacquie New Avatar
    Jacquie New

    As always Holly you have hit many nails on the head with your incredibly passionate, concise and frank way of writing and I appreciate everything you say and do to help make our ‘wannabe writer dreams’ a reality.
    I will wish you a belated Happy Birthday also – it was my birthday on 11th October so from the date of the post I am assuming we share a birthday? 🙂
    I indie-published my first non fiction book in 2013, I also illustrated it. It was the true stories of my dog rescues along with a portrait of the dog. I did this purely to raise money for the charity so don’t get a penny, I too have been on the ‘do it for free’ bus, in fact I think I’ve been driving the thing for the last seven years! Now in a critical financial position I find that I absolutely cannot do this for free anymore and realistically I have to try and make some sort of a living from doing something I love.
    But…writing is the first step, as I have found out to my detriment, having a book is great but if no-one knows it’s available and you have next to no marketing skills, then it will just languish on websites earning nothing at all. And what is more soul-destroying for a writer than pouring heart and soul and blood into your book only to have barely any sales?
    Putting writers in touch with readers is an absolutely magnificent idea! and having a pool of resources available for such as book covers, illustrations, proof-readers and editors etc. that would be willing to help writers, either for free or discounted would be nothing short of miraculous.
    Trying to write as well as learn from scratch all the software to produce book covers etc. such as Scrivener, Gimp, photo-shop and more means my brain is banging around inside my skull most of the time and words on the page are not happening at the moment.
    It matters to me because I love to write and illustrate, but without an audience then that dream will die and I suspect without a creative outlet something in me will die too.
    I have had a book in my hand almost from birth! and a pencil in the other. I became emotionally involved in the lives of the characters in these books and want to be able to pass that incredible feeling on to other readers. Books are whole new worlds where you can dive into the page and ‘be’ there, escape from the troubles in real-life just for a while and be part of something new.
    I want everyone to experience that magic!

  23. Mary Havens Avatar
    Mary Havens

    It matters to me. August 1, 2003, just before my mother, Violet Rae, went into the unconscious world, she transferred a burden of responsibility to me. A golden key, placed in my hand by the Angel of Death. The gaze from her faded blue eyes that captured the essence of her words…”Take this key and unlock the truth; the truth you have searched for all your life.”

    Writing a book was always a dream, never a reality. However today, I struggle to find the words to support the truth of my mother’s request, by writing a true-life story novel. Years of research, uncovering facts is ever daunting…Harder, is putting it together telling the story that will make sense to others. Telling the story…Easy! Writing…Not so easy.

    Finding along the way, many who want to take advantage of your ignorance…Take your money and provide little or nothing. Lessons learned.

    Holly, thank you for reaching out to others and caring for them while you continue your path for satisfaction…Knowing that you do make a difference.

  24. Misty Avatar

    I started writing for myself in high school, as a way to further explore myself and other people, and I’ve never really stopped since then. For a long time, I thought I was satisfied just writing for myself and never letting other people read it. I wasn’t writing to tell a story to someone else. I was just entertaining myself, and sometimes exploring ideas.

    This isn’t enough for me anymore. I look back at myself as a young woman and realize that I went looking for role models in fiction and found a bunch of white guys wearing dresses (and that’s not even counting the ‘paper doll’ ladies who served more as props than characters in their own right).

    I want to publish so that women like me will have themselves represented in fiction. The world is doing better about this in the last few years, but we still have a long way to go.

    But to do this, I have to learn to write for someone other than myself, finish projects, and then reach an audience. 🙂 The courses on this website have already helped me on my way, but I still have a long way to go!

    1. Maria Maffie Bakopolus Avatar
      Maria Maffie Bakopolus

      I hope you reach every one of your goals. I know you just inspired me with my own, and any excuse I had up until now has just shied away in embarrassment. Thank you!

      1. Maria Maffie Bakopolus Avatar
        Maria Maffie Bakopolus

        My comment above was directed at both Mike and Misty, who share my dreams to write without explanation of why I feel I must! Every time a writer tells someone about a story he’s working on, there is always a hesitation, followed by, “But what are you doing for a job?” Or there is the slightest smirk and (if they’re polite) inward roll of the eyes that somehow pushes those dreams back to where they “belong” — as nighttime entertainment at best. But there are, of course, exceptions, such as my wonderful mother who simply told me, “Finish your story,” in no uncertain terms. It is this that I choose to follow, as I thank Holly for backing up my mom’s words with a lifetime of reasons why I should and will be a writer now. And giving me a new dream that will begin my day, rather than serving as an ellipsis for what, until now, I have been unable to write out loud.

  25. Nancy Sampson-Bach Avatar

    Oh, Holly! First off, Happy Birthday (and welcome to 54 too! It’s not a bad place here)! You amaze me continually at your passion and willingness to pay forward to the writing/reading community. All of what you posted about matters to me. It was through your support and your courses that I finally published my first book, and am well on the way to getting books two and three out the door by spring. And you always inspire me to help other writers to realize their dreams as well.

    While I may still have to keep my day job awhile longer, I am doing what I love and in a way I could not have done before finding you and the HTTS community. When I was working through my first draft, I had the company of other writers on your site writing my 500 words a night. And I had great help on the revision working through HTRYN, both from the course and the boards. It is this community of like-minded people, who share both the passion and the commitment to the work at what we love that make all of us stronger, better, faster than we were before. You’ve helped us become the Six Million Dollar writers.

    So here’s to the next 54 years – for ALL of us! I would be thrilled to still be here, on the boards, getting and responding to your posts then. Thank you, Holly!

  26. Connie Cockrell Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Holly!
    I love the idea of a reader related area. It seems very easy, as a new writer, to connect with other writers. Not so easy to find readers that want to connect. I’m looking forward to linking into it as soon as it’s ready.

    Good job on the whole new site. It’s wonderful and I appreciate all the hard work putting it together.

  27. Chris Olson Avatar

    Bravo! I also have looked the big ‘C’ in the face and realized I wanted to leave something behind. I have also decided that this, this is the year I will build a legacy.

    I am a fortunate man. My calling is as a CodeMonkey. I love programming, I would write programs even if no one wanted to pay me to do it. I am good at it. I can support my family (barely) even though my wife has a disabling, degenerative neurological disorder. Not many people are this fortunate. I know this.

    I have second calling. I love fiction. I crave fiction. I have been writing fiction since I was in grade school in one form or another, and then tucking it away in a drawer, or throwing it away. I am, on top of all of my other problems, shy.

    My family is nothing but supportive of me. THey like my writing. My writing group likes my writing. I have things I need to work on. Dialog comes natural. Description, not so much :-P.

    THis is the year I will write a novel, get it in rough draft form, then get it to an editor, then get it cleaned up and sent out into the world. I’m going to write some flash fiction to send out first, with links to the book. About stuff in the book. And the book will link back to the flash fiction.

    Holly, you are the reason I can do this. You are the writer I look up to. THe one I can identify with. My inspiration for fiction. I have stories in my head. I am going to tell them now.

    THank you.

  28. Ellie Carver Avatar
    Ellie Carver

    Hey Holly.
    Count me in.
    Firstly, I’m just so grateful for a a sight like yours. Today, my lovely boy had a spectacular melt down when faced with maths that he has been doing successfully for over two months. The only thing that was different was the format and the kid went into a all out tailspin. I took my knitting to the table – a sign that mum is ‘chillin’ -cut up the sheet and ordered it around in a format that he recognised and he was A for away. When I asked him what had happened and what made him feel calmer, he told me that just the fact that I was sitting next to him made it all better. Well, in writing, I’m that kid, especially in the beginning. I need a good hand holding as I get my feet wet. Knowing that you are there, that this site is here, that I can ask questions if I need to, makes all the difference. I like your vision. The mere thought of submitting my work to a publishing company and all the mechanics surrounding it, sends me into a tailspin. I too was that kid:) I think your vision is awesome. I think you are incredibly brave, especially those times when you’ve tried something brand new, knowing it can go either way. Life is crazy at the moment for me and I don’t know exactly how I can help, but I know it won’t always be and I really want to be part of this. Thank You, Holly. Your life has already made a difference in mine. Best regards, Ellie

  29. Nan Avatar

    Your heartfelt birthday message has touched a cord deep in my heart. I spent over 20 years helping my husband build a family business. It took a much shorter period of time for the business to be destroyed. In the process, I felt like I lost a chunk of my soul. I turned to writing, a pursuit I enjoyed as a child, and found me again. A happier more fulfilled me. I’m a rebel in many ways. I’ve found out I don’t fit in with the “traditional publishing crowd”. I have my reasons for feeling this way and I feel I must go with it. To see that you have succeeded in the world of self publishing is an inspiration to me. Thank you for being a beacon of light in the wilderness of writing. I will continue to walk towards your light.

  30. Karen Avatar

    It matters to me as well. I have always been a reader, and continue to be. However, I have always wanted to be a writer. Thanks to your HTTS site and your classes and forums, at age 60 I published my first fiction book, and my second. I am currently working on the third. With your training and support I was able to realize a lifelong dream.

    I am not a famous writer…yet. I am not yet able to support myself with my writing, but, I have made a start.

    Thank you so much for all that you do for those of us with a dream.

  31. Karen Giuseppe Avatar
    Karen Giuseppe

    It matters to me because I love to read and write and support other writers. I love and admire the written word. Your courses have motivated me to keep going even when I doubt myself or struggle to complete a story. I have learned a lot from your site and courses and from the other baby writers and more experienced writers. You are remarkable!

  32. Carrie Phelps Avatar
    Carrie Phelps

    As a writer and a reader, as all writers are, when I read your post, I got chills. It was one of those times when you see something, and you say, “Of course! It makes so much sense!” We readers are so devoted to our favorite authors, and would do anything to help them and rub elbows with them. There also so many readers that love the written word and the beauty of the craft, think they could never do it themselves, but would love to be involved in the process. Why not have them part of the process? It’s already started on many author blogs, but needs to go to the next step. I admire you, for your passion and desire to help, coming up with a brilliant idea because you care, and actually backing it with hard work. And the writer side of me would loooooove what it could do for me. Everyone who knows the business, tells me there isn’t a market for my type of book, but I have to believe there are people like me out there who’d read my type of book. This might actually help me to find them. I will definitely support you.

  33. Lorraine Nelson Avatar

    Yes, it matters. I write to stay sane. LOL Like most everyone else here has stated, I worked full-time in an office for years. I’ve been on medical leave for stress and other problems many times. Now, I’m on permanent disability and I write to fill my days. I also write to keep my mind alive and because it’s something I love to do.

    I wrote and published for children in the ’90’s when my kids were small. Now I write for adults. My debut release was in October, 2011. Since then, I’ve released 22 more titles. I write what I enjoy reading and have received many comments on my books. It’s such a joy to know you have followers/readers who enjoy your stories.

    My best advice to anyone is to keep writing, keep learning, and polish that manuscript until it shines. You can succeed. You can reach your dream goals.

    Writing fulfills the urge to create in me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write, although there were long lapses of time in between poems, short stories, and the like due to work,family responsibilities, and medical issues. Writing is my hobby, my way of keeping the mind alive. Being a published author was always my dream goal and the more I write, the more I want to write.

    I spend part of everyday reading, editing, and answering questions for others. My way of ‘paying it forward’ because I was lucky enough to have mentors along the way…people who believed in me and my writing.

    Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but the more books you have out there, the better the pay-off, and by helping others along the way, we can all benefit in the end.


  34. Joy Sanchez Avatar

    I just published my book and I loved the discounted services you had that helped my book look phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about Hitch and the gang at booknook.Biz they we amazing. That being said, however, now that my book is published I am running out of marketing ideas just trying to find readers. I totally understand your vision. I love your ideas, always have, for more than seven years now. If there is a way to make this life I love less day job and more writing I will do whatever I can. Count me in!
    Joy Sanchez (aka Acie Lynn)

  35. Cheryl Rainfield Avatar

    Holly, I’m so sorry for your cancer and brain tumor scares; I know how hard that is, how much emotional energy it sucks. (hugging you) But I’m SO glad you’re okay!

    Making a positive difference in this world matters so much to me because of the torture and abuse I suffered, and the pain, the wanting to die for so many years. I always want to help others, to lessen their pain and let them know that they’re not alone and they can get through whatever their pain comes from, and my way to do that is through my books. Books helped me survive, and now, incredibly, my books are helping others survive. But I need to be able to make a living from my writing–and sometimes that’s very, very hard. (Like after my first publisher closed before my second book was even out.)

    While most of my books are traditionally published, I do have one self-published book, and I’m open to possibly doing more. I’d love to hear more about your vision.

    hugs, Cheryl

    PS When I tried to comment via Chrome browser, the bottom of the comment section was cut off with the box below, including the “Post Comment” button so I had to use another browser to post here…..

  36. Marie-Claire Allington Avatar
    Marie-Claire Allington

    I will be hitting the 50 mark soon – your vision sounds pretty cool to me. If I can be involved on any level let me know. MC

  37. Robert Avatar

    I have written for thirty five years mostly personal journaling. Then I wrote a book to leave to my children about my childhood and gave it to them for Christmas one year. I really wrote it for their children’s children so they could connect with my generation in 100 years through the eyes of their great…grandfather. Then I wrote a book to my wife to celebrate our 30th anniversary. I loved writing those two very personal books, one about 40000 words and one about 20000. I found myself really enjoying it even though I only “published” 30 copies of one and 2 copies of the other. I have often asked the question “What if?” and “What could be?”. Receiving your updates have kept me coming back to the writing table. I love your vision and plan to keep trying. Please keep pressing on and helping those of us that share your love of writing and thanks so much for fighting to get where you are today!

  38. Tyrone Avatar

    Writing is/can be such a solitary mission. All of your efforts to build a community out of all of us who toil in our singularly private writing nooks are appreciated.

  39. Norma Avatar

    I’m not a young writer, but I am still a novice after only 10 years. I have a stash of incomplete novels, untried ideas and some short stories. I’ve never submitted anything for publication because it seems to be a waste of time.
    I enjoy my writing; it stimulates and satisfies me. The gilt on the gingerbread comes when somebody says they enjoyed reading something I wrote.
    I don’t have a pile of money and being quite a bit older than you Holly I may not have heaps of time left either, but I’d like to help in any way I can.

  40. Kelly G in ATX Avatar
    Kelly G in ATX

    There aren’t enough words to adequately describe why reading and writing are so important to me. From a young age, I felt my gifts and calling were in the written word. I love the feel of the page underneath my fingers, the way the words roll off my tongue and past my lips. I love the places thatnbooks take me, the knowledge that a well written article can impart. Reading isnt just a form of entertainment, it’s a way of connecting souls to one another and passing on important lessons.
    My daughter is almost seven and an avid reader, just like her parents. I can’t wait to share the books and stories that shaped me and my childhood. In an age where most of her generation is wired to a screen, I want to encourage her to connect to stories and heroes that mean something. I want her to find her voice (she too shows a strong inclination to writing!), to feel safe in exploring the stories of her heart, and revel in the stories created by others.
    I’m excited to see where your idea leads, Holly – not just for baby writers like myself, but baby writers of the next generation too.

  41. Michelle Avatar

    It matters to me because I want a job that allows me to stay home with my future children. A job where the only stress is the good kind, of scrambling to meet an impending deadline, of agonizing over a tricky plot point. Stress that’s entirely controlled by me, stress that strengthens and drives me, like the muscle strain of a good, long run.

    Not the soul killing stress of aggravating my boss because I forget some administrative detail, or wondering if my contract will be renewed because the budgets have been cut again. The sort of stress that causes me to fight with my loved ones, to crawl into bed exhausted, but having accomplished nothing that mattered to me.

    I feel such passion and joy when I read a good story and I want to bring that same passion and joy to my readers. I can’t think of any better way to make a living; making others happy even while I make myself happy.

    Someone asked me once, “why should you get to do what makes you happy, while the rest of us have to work.” It struck me as a cold thing to say, but I understand where he was coming from. He thought I intended to be supported by others while I played around with my writing. That’s the last thing I want. I want to support myself and my family, just like everyone else. But why can’t I do it in a way that makes me happy? I think every writer deserves that.

  42. Jalane Locke Avatar
    Jalane Locke

    Hi Holly,
    I would love to help in whatever capacity I can. You have a great vision and are doing a wonderful job of providing writing instructions that are both entertaining and(thank goodness) nuts and bolts.

    I just turned 54 myself. I am a fetal baby fiction writer who has been doing technical/medical nonfiction writing as a second job since 1998, and technical writing as about a quarter of my day job in quality assurance (writing myself and reviewing/editing the work of others) since late 2004.

    I have been/am a voracious reader – mostly fantasy and science fiction, but also some mystery, romance, and miscellaneous. I keep trying to broaden my horizons and am always a happy camper to find a new book that I like.

    Growing up, I was the odd little girl with her arms full of books, decimating one shelf after the other of our small-town public library. Yes you can walk and read…. and ride your bike and read (sort of)…. Now it is a combination of paper, kindle, and audiobooks sandwiched wherever they will fit into my life. I am constantly on the search for a good new author – best case, one that already has several books in print!

    I purchased your howtothinksideways course a few years ago and got stalled out on the exercises. Now I am working my way through the ultra version – skipping the exercices for now and it is great! I am on lesson 13 and will go back through it again and do the exercises but I finally figured out I have to do this my way to have it work for me.

    I am on the cusp (or maybe fence) of writing my first novel. The ideas are in my head – I just need to get them on paper. Not saying anyone will want to read it – may just be my “practice novel” but it matters to me – so that is the first one. I am going to write in some capacity for the rest of my life. I would love that to be fulltime as my living but if I have to work full or parttime and write as I can – so be it. Sharing my stories matters to me, and will hopefully matter to more than just me!

    Anyway…… if you can think of ways I can help/participate/be useful I would be happy to. Benefits us both!

    Thanks for what you do.

  43. Francine aka Dragonslady Avatar
    Francine aka Dragonslady

    It matters to me, too. I’m a sometimes writer. I wrote my first book over 10 years ago and had a friend read it each week as I finished a chapter. I’d give it to her on Monday at work and come Tuesday she wanted the next chapter. It made me feel good. Then I couldn’t sell it – it badly needed revision and I’m still stuck 1/3 of the way through the first pass in HTRYN.
    My second book (a continuation of the series started in the first) is basically planned out but not written. Now I’m going through HTWAS and getting stuck again. A third book, a stand-a-lone that follows the villain in book 2 from his arrival on Heartshorn to the time when the protagonist in book 2 gets rid of him (for a while anyway. He’s a good antagonist.) BTW the first book is almost 500 pages long. My preferred writing genre is fantasy. I’m a voracious reader and read a wide variety of generes including fantasy but also murder mysteries, high (unbelievable) action (James Rollins for one) thrillers, seldom Westerns, some sci-fi, and an occasional romance. I really would like to be paid for my work, but I need to get more work out there. I don’t right short very well. Short stories, much less flash fiction are very difficult; my novels have multiple plot-lines featuring many twists and turns that all come together at the end. So, I’m sticking with you, Holly, for as long as we’re around and I’ll keep on keeping on and someday, with your on-line help, I’ll be a paid writer (even when I bring in a lot more than Social Security allows.)

  44. Carole CatWeaver Avatar
    Carole CatWeaver

    Happy Birthday, Holly!! You create; you inspire!

    So glad you were born.

    Celebrate that and keep going, baby!!!

  45. Torrie Avatar

    I am hitting a milestone soon in my life and have also taken stock. Echoing the early post, while the pay is solid and the benefits are good, sitting in a cube IS soul-crushing (not that I can’t learn from it. Sometimes the biggest conflicts and drama stem from the stupidest and petty things). I recently iterated my goal of supporting myself by my writing in five year’s time. I already had one naysayer (thank God for him, my impetus to succeed) and I have my one reader who adores my work (not family and I’ve never met the guy). I’m not expecting King/Patterson/Meyer royalties, just enough to live as I’m living now except not tied to anyone’s clock or anyone else’s successes or failures save my own.

    Anecdote: I’ve taken to writing at lunchtime instead of going out with everyone on most days. When one of my coworkers asked me if I was going with them or staying here and writing, I had to smile. Someday he’s going to name drop, that he used to work with me and that I wrote some of those stories in the cube next door.

  46. Karrie Zylstra Myton Avatar

    Hi Holly,

    It matters to me because I love your vision. I’d love to see a day when I and others like me can write and reach those who want to read us.

    I also know that the classes I have taken from you have helped me improve my writing – something else I know I will always need to do.

    It matters to me because, as much as I love writing, I know I’ll need to make money at it in order to keep spending the amount of time I need in order to keep getting better.

    It matters to me because stories matter. To everyone. Whether they know it or not.

    And, Holly, I’m sorry about your cancer scares. At the same time, I’m impressed to see you use that brush with mortality to push yourself further into your dreams and vision. Even though I have struggled too much with the discussion formatting to feel a part of your community, I read your tips and still use the HTTS material I bought in my latest WIP.

    I’m wishing you all the best in your grand endeavors-

  47. Buddy Avatar

    Like many, I got back into fiction writing after years of attempting Internet Marketing. I wrote hundreds of mind numbingly boring 500 word SEO articles while maintaining my 45 hour.week day job.

    I had stopped reading fiction in order to learn how to game the big G to make money. But thanks to Amazon giving the reins of control to writers and away from the TradPub overlords, it is possible for regular writers to make a decent living writing what they love.

    I am a story teller by nature and by profession. Holly, you are teaching me how to make a business of this skill. And I am very grateful for that and you.

    1. Buddy Avatar

      BTW, I have three years on you and the view looks good from here as well.

  48. Stephanie Avatar

    It matters to me for a couple reasons. I love to read, and by read I mean read good books with heroes who take action. A large majority of books that I’ve read lately are sadly missing my kind of hero. However, I am pretty sure that any writer who grows through your courses is going to write about my kind of hero!

    I am pretty certain about writers growing through your courses because I am one of those ‘baby writers’. Some day, I’d love to be a ‘grown up’ writer who makes a living…heck, even just a partial living, through writing fiction. So far, the forums of your website and your courses have invaluable to my growth as a writer. I’ve grown more through your courses, and helpful students on the forums than I have any other way I’ve tried. I’m selfish, I don’t want to lose that potential for me as a writer…or as a reader. I’ve read other writers materials they’ve posted for suggestions/help on the class forums. They are GOOD. Very good. I’d love to read more and help support them. Because they write stories that speak to me, just like I want to, and just like you do!

    Stories that speak to my soul matter. They are what got me through the hardest times in my life in the past. I am certain they will be there again in the future. I want my stories to matter to someone else, and new stories to matter to me!

  49. Johanna Avatar

    Why it matters to me as a reader: When I was a kid, I read all the time. I would sit and read for hours and hours, forgetting to eat or sleep and just getting lost in the story. Over time, I’ve read less and less. I hardly read anything any more because I’m not finding the stories that grab me. I’m reading recommendations from other people or I’m reading books I bought in a store a long time ago that have sat on my shelf for years, but so few of them are books that I will sit and read for hours. Instead it takes me months to finish them.

    I hate this, and I miss the kind of voracious reading I used to do. I think part of the problem is me, and that I’m not in a good emotional state right now. This means that I need to find the books that really speak to me so that I can get in the habit of reading again. And the other part of the problem is that I don’t know how to find what will speak to me.

    I’ve finally figured out gets me the most wrapped up in the story, and that is the characters. If I love the characters, I will devour their stories. So now I need a platform to find the writers who write characters I will love. And I am SO willing to do what I can to help those writers succeed, because I need them as much as they need me. I need their stories to help me get through the crap that life throws at us.

    I remember reading “The Adventure of Creation” and every time I found a story that really spoke to me, I went and looked up the writer so I could follow them and read whatever they had published. And sadly, most of the writers I loved didn’t even have a website. I want to support those writers but I have no way of doing it. This website sounds like a way for me to do so, if those writers get involved.

    Why this matters to me as a writer: I am a baby writer. In fact, I’m lower on the totem pole than that. I’m just a dreamer. This is another instance of “I used to…” I used to write all the time when I was a kid. Fan fiction, original fiction, short stories, pieces of novels never finished, and hundreds of sticky notes of funny dialogue.

    I don’t write anymore. I could list dozens of excuses as to why, but the best answer I can come up with is that I don’t know how to be creative in spite of sickness and distress. I have this chronic headache that began in 2007 and hasn’t gone away yet. I’ve done, and continue to try, every treatment I can come up with. I have a genetic disease on top of that, one that requires lots of time, every day, to manage.

    I’m not writing this because I want pity or sympathy. It just helps me illustrate my answer to your question. Your vision matters to me because I know that, when or if I finally manage to stop being a dreamer and start writing, I’m going to have to do it in the tiniest baby steps you can imagine. I will (most likely) never be able to devote hours upon hours every day to writing, because of the health stuff I have to manage first. And that means that I won’t be able to write as quickly as I’d like, to promote my work as much as I’d want to. So the faster I can find people who want to read my stuff, who will stick with me even if I’m slow, and who will help me find other readers, the more likely I will succeed. And if I can succeed at writing, if it can actually support me financially, then that will free up even more time to write because I won’t have to work other jobs.

    Basically, as a reader and a writer, it sounds like a dream come true.

  50. Anastasia Avatar

    It matters to me. It matters, because I’ve spent my life “waiting” and now, at 45, unemployed, I’m finally trying to write again, because I love stories, but also because I have learned that working in an office 40 hours a week was crushing my soul, and I cannot do it any longer. It matters to me because I’m terrified, because I only have so long to make money with my writing before I will have no other option but to go and get another job that doesn’t suit me. I have no spouse or other financial support. All I have is me. And I’ve watched the publishing industry change and twist itself into knots over the last ten years, and who knows where we are headed? All I know is that I need to write for my bread and butter, but I need help and encouragement to make that happen.

    1. Mary E. Merrell Avatar

      Hi Holly and Happy Birthday,

      As a 52 year old woman, I am completely on board. This last year was spent honing my craft as I am not happy with the novels I self-published on Amazon and want to do better. I took your How to Revise your Novel and How to Write a Series. Almost finished both of them but learned so much from the amount I did do. I love your classes. I’m getting ready for the NaNoWrimo with the help your worksheets I bought. I would like to help. My biggest hurtle is my husband and our business which is his vision and I am working hard to promote this wonderful business. Unfortunately, my husband tolerates my writing because he knows it’s my passion, but believes I should put all my time and effort into the business, since I don’t make much money on my books, so they can’t be any good. Right? He claims to never have read a complete book, so he can’t understand. I don’t think he could tell anyone what my books are about it asked. Deep breath. Sorry for the rant. I am on board with what you want to do. I think it’s wonderful. Mary E. Merrell

      1. Texanne Avatar

        Happy birthday, Holly. May all your birthday dreams come true.

        And best, best wishes to the writers and readers assembled here.

        You are great. Never forget that. :)TX

        (Sorry I couldn’t comment in the major line. The submit button would not appear for me.)

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