I purchased the “How To Think Sideways” system from Holly Lisle a couple years ago. Now it is time to actually finish the system. Holly Lisle is a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author who has been both in traditional and self publishing. This 6 month course is supposed to get you ready to actually have a career in writing.
I paid for it, so I probably need to go ahead and work my way through the course. Here I will provide updates of my progress. In previous attempts, I got to lesson 6. But now, I will skim lessons one and two and then start in lesson 3.
This lesson seems to have three goals. The first goal is to get you acclimated to the course. Something it doesn’t do too well because the course is totally unlike the next lessons. If you buy this course, don’t leave after lesson one, it does get more practical as time goes on.
The second goal is to give you tools to get started writing. She provides a couple of exercises that in my mind just can be reduced to “Sit down and start writing….ANYTHING!!!” I don’t really have a big problem with the issue of sitting down to write and nothing at all comes, but if you do, these exercises may or may not help.
The third goal appears to be to provide the student with something to help her overcome procrastination. While I do have an issue with procrastination at times, this help kind of hit me the wrong way. I do recognize how they can be helpful to some, but they really didn’t help me all that much. Maybe because I don’t have a problem with perfectionism or some of the other issues she directly attacks in this part of the lesson.
In the end, lesson one is a theory intensive lesson that I realized if I didn’t skip this time, I wouldn’t go very far in the course, so bye bye lesson one.
Lesson 2 essentially takes the mind map concept and has you apply that to 6 questions. When you brainstorm answers to these 6 fundamental questions you will gain an insight to what you need to write.
This is a very helpful concept to me. One of the most common questions many people ask on writer’s forums is “What should I write?” And the answer often given is “Write what you like to read.” That is a good answer but often it becomes reduced to genre.
For example someone might say, “I like to read Urban Fantasy, so I should read Urban Fantasy.”
OK, but what parts of Urban Fantasy appeals to you? What elements of Urban Fantasy turn you on? And if those elements are in other genres what hinders you from writing in those as well?
The cool thing about Lisle’s application of the Mind Map methodology to determination of writer’s interests is that you learn the “elements” that need to be a part of all things you write.
I’m excited about finally finishing this course, and along with Sanderson’s Videos, hopefully start moving towards the dream of becoming a writer.