I have to admit that I never did get all the way through Holly's How To Think Sideways class. There were some concepts of Holly's that I never did get. The dot and the line was the big one. How to Think Sideways is her course on how to write a novel, as opposed to how to fix one. I've pulled out the looseleaf (Volume 1 of 3) in which I stored the lectures from that class because I really have to get started on planning for my NaNoWriMo novel if I stand any chance of actually writing a new book in November. I also pulled out James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure this morning for the same reason. And I'm looking at 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them on my bookshelf right now. Yes, I'm hoping that there's lightning stored somewhere in one of these three places.
So far, How to Revise Your Novel is awesome. It fits right in with my left side of the brain tendencies to overanalyze everything. I'm getting to look at what I wrote from several different perspectives. I'm really looking forward to pulling all the pieces together and getting the rewrite done.
Because I've taken a course with Holly, I'm on her mailing list. You don't have to take any courses, though. Anyone can sign up for her mailing list. Authors love it when people ask to be put on their mailing lists. (Hint: You can sign up for mine over to the right of this post.)
This morning, she sent out an email with the heartbreaking story of the event that caused her to quit her day job to write full time. I won't retell that story because it's hers, and what I really want to focus on is what she said after that:
At some point in your life, you face a watershed moment---everyone does---a realization that you are no longer the person you once were, and that if you continue on the path you're on, you will lose the part of you that you that matters most to you.Which is why I didn't wait until my full retirement age to give up the day job. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.
At this point, people make one of two choices. Either they say, "I can't do anything about this," and then start numbing themselves with alcohol or drugs or food or falling asleep in front of the always-on television or any of a hundred other ways that turn their minds off...Or they say, "I am going to fix this now." And they act.I don't know what your dream is---that promise you keep tucked inside of you that is going to be the magnificent thing you do "someday."But I know THIS.SOMEDAY NEVER COMES.NOW is all you have.
It was about ten years ago when I figured out that I no longer wanted to be a programmer. I wanted to be a novelist. But I was afraid to take that leap of faith and go for it. As a matter of fact, I was so afraid to take the risk of following my dream that, in addition to some of the self-medicating behaviors Holly describes, I sabotaged any hope of trying by putting myself in a financial position where I had to continue to work in IT. Looking back, there were other choices I could have made.
But that was then and this is now.
It's still all too easy for me to come up with excuses to not write. Or not do the other things that a self-published writer must do to be successful. I'm still adapting to being "retired" and trying to figure out how much of my time I want to spend on my new career versus exploring other interests. There's always something else I could be doing.
It's a daily struggle to remember that writing is my dream. Henry Ford said:
Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.I really want to think I can.