How to think sideways

Almost a year ago, I took part of a plunge. Danielle, a friend of mine, had written about How to Think Sideways, an online writing course she had participated in. She had really good things to say about it.

Enter me: I’ve always loved writing. I’ve felt more at home with writing than with anything else: I prefer emails, letters, text messages, and chat. Writing opens my mind, whereas speech takes a circuitous route. It’s therapeutic. I wrote when I was younger, I planned to take up journalism (which for me was just the “more serious and practical” choice if I wanted to write for a living), I wrote for the school paper.

It’s also something I gave up when I went to college. For lots of stupid, lame reasons. I still wrote incessantly (as my various journals can prove), but I stopped writing creatively. As I grew older, so did all these insecurities and ideas grow: larger, deeper, more difficult to dislodge. As they say, when you don’t use it, you lose it.

And that’s a shame, because I still love writing, I still love stories. It’s embarrassing how many times I started and stopped writing creatively so many times over the past years. (Exactly how many times? I don’t really know. I don’t keep count.)

But I’d always thought, I spend money on my other hobbies, the stuff I collect, the things I do. Why have I never spent any money on my first love: writing? (That’s not precisely true; I have a few writing-related books I bought.) So last year, just before Holly stopped offering the full How To Think Sideways course, I took the plunge and bought it.

Why (aside from my friend recommending the course)? Here’s an excerpt from the first lesson’s information page:

Lesson 1: How to Start Writing a Book, and Never Fear the Blank Page Again

…Finally you’re going to learn four techniques that will keep you writing in spite of fear, perfectionism, excuses you’ve made in the past for why you can’t do this, and a tendency to lock down one half of your brain or the other (shared by most folks).

(Emphasis mine.)

Fear. Perfectionism. Excuses. Those are all me. Those are all the reasons I don’t write, even though I know I can. Those are all reasons that I know I am plagued with, but is keeping me from writing anyway.

And this is why I said I took part of a plunge: I bought it, but I didn’t start it. I’m not entirely sure why. It was money I really needed, money that needed to go elsewhere at the time. Every month the course fees were deducted from my Paypal account, I winced. But I didn’t start it. I’m listed on the website as an HTTS graduate, I have all the lessons waiting for me, but I didn’t do a single thing.

(I obviously have some really, really big issues.)

Well, Holly has released a new, upgraded version of How To Think Sideways (called Ultra), and classes start this week. I’m planning to join–since I purchased the full course earlier, I’m able to join this upgraded course for free, but there’s a 3-day introductory price when it goes live if you’re interested (exact price is still unknown, but you can take a look at the (older-version) standalone lesson prices to gauge the range).

I’m planning to join–and I’m saying it here, so that I feel guilty about backing out. If I keep it to myself, I might very well back out. So I’m saying it out loud.

I’m planning to join–and I’m hoping you guys join as well (if you have writer-ly aspirations) so we can drag each other along when needed. If there’s someone making a similar journey with me, it’s more likely I will finish, buoyed and prodded along by the energy in the air.

I’m planning to join–and maybe write a little about the experience, to make me feel motivated to keep writing and not get discouraged at every little bump in the road.

(I’m saying I’m planning, because I can’t “officially” join until the doors open on Monday for Legacy students. Otherwise I would say “I joined”. Really.)

So, yeah. There. I’m joining, and you’re free to scold me soundly if I drop out of the course yet again.

Disclaimer: the HTTS links on this post are connected to my affiliate account. I do get some money by promoting, but yes: I did take the course, and yes: I can recommend it. I’ll be posting a few updates on my progress here as well.

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