Thinking Sideways ~

Lots of us here in the inter-spaceways are taking Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" class, I've seen a lot posted around on various forums and blogs, but I find I have to throw out my own two cents about it.

First, let me say that I've been a fan of Holly's for a long time. Her books first, and I used to lurk in the Forward Motion community. I've read over and over again all the good free articles and advice she has on her website. At a point, before I had really gotten a good start, I'd been beaten down and was close to giving it all up, but the encouragement and support that she offers to anyone who will take the time to read what she has to offer tossed me back on my feet and helped me find my backbone and keep going.

When she started making her writer's workshop series available in the Holly Shop -- I elbowed my way to the front of the line.

Now, the second thing I want to say is that I've done the usual round of online classes as well as f2f workshops at various conferences and worked somewhat extensively with some very talented authors - and not to take anything away from any of that, because I've learned a lot in so many different places it would be impossible to list them all - and I have a full shelf of 'how to' books, including a short stack of well-thumbed favorites -- but on the whole, Holly's workbooks are in a class of their own.

There are a lot of good authors out there, good writers and good teachers. But it is a rare and unique individual who has the extraordinary talent to teach well the thing they are successful at. It takes a special *combination* of skill and talent that few people have.

Holly has that extraordinary, unique combination of talents -- not only of being able to figure out what she's doing that helps make her successful but being able to break that down into steps and explain it in a way that others can use what she's done to build their own skills.

I have most, if not all, of the writers workshop series and love every one. I have links to her shop in my sidebar because I believe in what she has to offer. When she opened up submissions for the '33 Mistakes' Series, I was excited to be included and ecstatic to get to be the first release.

So when Holly opened up registration for the first Think Sideways course, I was right there.

- my life has a series of explosions going on right now, so I wasn't able to keep up with weekly lessons for the 2nd through 6th week ... but I got caught up over the holiday weekend, which leads me to the reason I feel compelled to blog about it, even though so many others are as well, is because even though I went into the course with the highest of expectations - she totally blew me away.

It's not the kind of course I've seen anywhere else. She doesn't necessarily tell you anything.

What she does is show you how to use tools you need in order to learn the skills to ask the right questions and how to use the answers.

By the time I had worked past the barriers, through the clustering and done my Sentences, I had three muses screaming at me in full Technicolor scenes with plots, characters and conflict with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back explaining why each one was on the Group W Bench ... *ahem* ... or something like that. Amazing stuff came up out of the back of my mind and coalesced into complete stories faster than I could work through the pages of the workshop.

I had to physically cap the pen and close the notebook and put it away for a couple of hours so the muses would quiet down enough that I could hear the voices of the stories one at a time and get some notes down for them.

And, with all that, she shows you how to make the connection between writing what you love and writing something marketable. ...and I'm only six weeks into a six month program. I can't even imagine what else she might have in store for us, but I'm very excited about it.

I will say it should come with a warning label: not for the part-timers, wannabes and light-weights. I printed the first six weeks' lessons to take on the road with me last weekend and it completely filled a three inch binder. But the beauty of it is that you can go at your own pace so you don't miss lessons because of the ebb and ka-booms in your life.

If you are serious about a career in writing, if you love writing and you want to make a living doing it, this course can help you learn the skills you need. I haven't seen another single course that comes close to offering what just the first six weeks of this one does.

It's on sale, now, Monday Sept 1-Monday Sept 8. It's a full six months to a year long with weekly or bi-weekly lessons and much more affordable than it should be given the value of what you're getting. It comes with a guarantee, if you don't like it and want out, let her know and the payments stop.

LOL! ... I've been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to think of a way to say "you owe it to yourself to give it a try" without sounding cliché, but it's simply the truth and there isn't a better way to say it - so there ya' go. ;)


Becky Burkheart said...

I said: >>I can't even imagine what else she might have in store for us, but I'm very excited about it.

but that's not true. There is a breakdown of lesson topic by month and week (about halfway down the page) if you follow the link.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I've seen this in your sidebar and been there a few times. Once I wrap up this book and have time to refill the well, I'll give it a look-see.
Hope your writing grows by leaps and bounds :)

Becky Burkheart said...

Hi L.A.

There are two different things. The 'Holly Shop' is an online shop that's open all the time and includes her "writers workshop" series, those are very (very) good (imo) for helping in specific areas.

the Think Sideways course is different. It's not one book, it's actually a series of (um. counts fingers...) 24 (I think) weekly or bi-weekly (depending how you sign up) 'lessons', that includes a forum and workshop group of other members if you want. I don't know how it might be structured or restructured in the future, but currently, it's not available at just any time like the regular workshop books, you have to sign up during a time that registration is open and I believe she's doing that to bring in people at the same time so you can be assigned a workgroup if you want one (I recommend it).

If you are covered up right now, it's probably a good idea to wait and try to catch the next registration period, but keep it in mind, the course includes some pretty amazing stuff.