Take Back Your Life and Keep Writing
IF you’re actually getting the
Help is on the way . . .
Dear Fellow Writer,
This is a true story.
A girl was born in rural Iowa during a time some people call “the fabulous fifties.” Her childhood was isolated and challenging, but her imagination was rich. By the time she was twelve, she was hiding in a closet, writing stories.
After college and marriage, she was again isolated—this time at home with her three children (soon to become four). She suffered from chronic migraine headaches and a host of neurological face, neck, and lower back problems, with severe pain. It was then that her childhood dream became a reality. Writing. It was the most effective and reliable medicine she could find.
Her treatments have been a boon for thousands of writers
“When my kids were toddlers and in grade school, I was wired shut for 11 weeks after two jaw surgeries. I couldn’t talk to my four small children or even call a friend. I was thoroughly cut off. So I hurried to my computer where my characters ‘talked’ to each other. Writing a middle-grade novel usually took me five or six months. That time, it took me eight weeks.”
Kristi Holl is an extraordinary survivor. The “writer’s first aid” treatments she devised for herself have been a boon to the hundreds of aspiring writers she has mentored over the last 25 years and to the thousands of people who have read her books. More than that, she is a highly productive writer, mentor, lecturer, and blogger. In fact, there is probably no writer more qualified than she to offer More Writer’s First Aid.
The “wired shut” challenge was but one in Kristi’s long struggle against the many obstacles she overcame to write 42 books while mentoring her students. She kept notes on the “first aid” treatments she devised to help her overcome procrastination, disappointment, jealousy, physical and emotional pain, and the ordinary obstacles writers everywhere face in “getting the writing done,” and passed them on to her students. Some of these treatments were published in 2003 in her very successful Writer’s First Aid.
Now, in More Writer’s First Aid, Kristi Holl digs even deeper to give you another 48 effective remedies for the kinds of physical, psychological, and emotional challenges she overcame by “writing straight through them and coming out the other side.”
“These are the true secrets of success”
These are the true secrets of success in writing, the ways a writer “gets the writing done.” You won’t find a word about plot, characterization, the creative arc, or other academic subjects you already know about in the 48 chapters of More Writer’s First Aid. All that you’ll find are the strategies one very successful writer devised to overcome, go around, or simply plow through the kinds of personal obstacles that made her want to quit—and how she squelched them, or made them work for her.
While your personal challenges and obstacles may not be the same as Kristi Holl’s, her experience in mentoring hundreds of writers over 25 years has given her clear insight into the problems that beset writers of every stripe. You’ll find that the 48 situations she describes are very familiar, and you’ll find her solutions ingenious, simple, practical, and effective.
“I’ve gotten good at blasting my way through these negatives over the course of 30 years,” she says, “although many of them are still there, waiting for me to let down my guard. Take procrastination. You just can’t laser it out of existence. But I’ll show you 14 ways of overcoming it whenever it pops up.
Read Chapter 29 first
Although Stages of Writing is Chapter 29, I urge you to read it first, because it deals with the seven predictable stages of every piece of creative writing—from preparation to publication. There are hazards and pitfalls at every stage, and Kristi tells you what works for her in thwarting every negative along the way.
I wish every aspiring writer on earth could read these seven pages. I wish I myself had them to read 40 years ago—but, of course, it has taken Kristi 30 years and 42 books to develop them all.
In the Preparation Stage, for example, give yourself permission to write down everything you can think of, from ideas to images to snippets of conversation, bold thoughts, trivial thoughts, and random thoughts. It will all make sense later. The dangers are a critical eye, an acute ear, and a Type A brain. While you can’t change them, you’ll find antidotes for all three.
Other dangers lurk at the volatile Germination Stage, and the Working and Deepening stages. But it’s in the Shaping and Completion stages, and Going Public that you may have to find ways to re-ignite your enthusiasm and reinforce your confidence, and Kristi has six very effective strategies for you.
“You’re the boss”
Forget the office. You’re the boss now. Are you the kind you like to work for—or a tyrant, a paranoid type, or an authoritarian? You may have been all three over the years, but Kristi tells you that there’s no boss like a dream boss—one who’s compassionate yet professional, sympathetic yet disciplined. Since you are the boss, she points out, you have the power to be the boss of your dreams.
Among other things, a good boss honors the writing instrument; in other words, honor yourself. Get enough sleep, good food, and exercise, and honor your creative side by treating your ideas and fantasies as valuables to be noted and stored for future use. The more you honor your creative side, the more creative you’ll be. Of course, there are dishonoring negatives, too, and Kristi shows you how to deal with them.
Lower your expectations—for higher achievement
Disappointment is one of those emotions that need management. Lowering your expectations is often the best antidote. Keep the image of a high jumper in mind. She warms up and builds confidence with the bar set at a modest height, a low expectation. She raises the bar inch by inch, and enjoys each accomplishment. When she tops out, she knows she has more work to do, but she still savors all the successful jumps along the way. Be a high jumper. Kristi shows you how.
Much of the same medicine that’s useful in avoiding disappointment is effective in combating procrastination. This “disease” runs rampant through the writing community and several chapters of More Writer’s First Aid deals with it. Its symptoms may be varied, but it occurs as a cycle with predictable stages. You’ll want to study both the symptoms and the stages, noting that the cycle usually begins with impossible goals and feelings of being overwhelmed. Kristi admits to coming up against this old enemy time and time again, and she shows you how to send it packing.
8 criteria for assessing any writer’s group
Your writer friends may be skillful in administering writer’s first aid—but they can also be harmful. As a veteran of writer’s support groups, and counselor to students in and out of groups, Kristi offers eight crucial criteria in assessing any group you may be thinking of joining. In the meantime, she says, think of an established group as a family, and consider the dynamics set in motion when an unknown person (you) suddenly joins it.
Groups should be approached cautiously and mentors even more cautiously. A mentor is primarily a trusted counselor, advisor, guide, tutor, or coach . . . someone who’s farther along in her writing career and willing to take you under her wing, show you the ropes, and encourage you during the rough periods.
Your implicit contract with your mentor is, take this potential writer and shape her as a writer—but do no harm. It’s the last part that could be troublesome. Remember our earlier discussion of what it takes to be a good boss? It’s related. Kristi also describes the earmarks of a good mentor and four essential criteria in making your choice.
Changing your “writing lifestyle”
If you’re tired of your “writing lifestyle” and the opportunity to change presents itself, says Kristi, “Do it! I suddenly got tired of all the procrastination and excuses. Just for a day, I tried telling myself ‘I can’ statements. I said, ‘I can sit here for an hour without a break’ and ‘I can write for two hours this morning’ and ‘I can focus regardless of my physical health’ and ‘I’ve done lots of harder things than this’—and guess what? I wrote for two hours, turned out about 2,650 words, and it felt wonderfully productive.”
Kristi shows you how to recognize the time to change your writing lifestyle . . . how to seize the opportunity when it arrives . . . and, most important of all, how to make the change permanent.
“Slow down . . . and get more writing done”
As driven as Kristi may be (she labels herself a “Type A”), she says “Slow down,” and gives you five ways to de-accelerate, enjoy your writing, be healthy, and get more writing done. She shows you how to defeat procrastination by replacing your grinding schedule with an “unschedule” . . . but urges you to keep tabs on every piece of writing you turn out (and watch what happens!) . . . and to stay on course, but keep on making course corrections.
“Write what you love,” says Kristi, “because without passion, your odds of success are smaller” . . . and she shows you why. But she also gives you an effective alternative if you can’t write what’s dearest to your heart full-time, gives you an inspired prescription for facing your creative fears and turning them into powerful assets, shows you how to stop sliding down a slippery slope toward failure, and describes five down-to-earth ways to be a happy writer.
Watch out for saboteurs!
The forces intent on sabotaging writers come in many disguises, and while many appear unannounced, there are the others that we unconsciously invite in. How do you follow your own dream instead of someone else’s? Whose voice do you listen to? How do you order your priorities, and where do you find the point of comfortable balance?
Every writer must answer these questions for herself in order to write free of conflict and guilt. The answers will be different for every writer. But, by showing you how she answered these questions for herself, Kristi will help you to develop your own personal and meaningful answers.
Multi-tasking vs. mindfulness
Kristi’s chapter on multi-tasking vs. mindfulness is brief yet important because it’s necessary for a writer to be able to do both: The key questions are which one do you do and when do you do it. And there are times when you must do both at the same time. She has a huge amount of practical experience in this area as mom/writer/teacher/breadwinner/ blogger, and she shows you what’s worked for her over the years. (Perfectionism is not one of them.)
When we consider the perils of perfectionism in writing, we may be sailing close to the rocks of procrastination and the whirlpool of disappointment because perfectionism invites failure instead of providing a sense of accomplishment, or satisfaction, or reassurance. Kristi’s prescriptions are startling, yet so down-to-earth that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been following them from day one.
The plain common sense and true wisdom you’ll find in the 48 chapters of More Writer’s First Aid will amaze you, because you’ve thought of many of these remedies yourself without actually having tried them. Kristi gives you the “permission”—and the courage—to try them.
“A genuine game-changer”
And when you learn that these are the 48 ways a successful writer actually gets the writing done, it's a genuine game-changer.
Which of these 48 chapters—or how many of these 48 chapters—will actually give you the breakthrough you’re looking for is a question only you can answer.
I can help.
You can order More Writer’s First Aid today for a free 30-day examination*. You can read it—then test it out on your own writing.
If it doesn’t help you to solve a problem, remove an obstacle, or meet a challenge that’s keeping you from getting the writing done, put it back in the mailing envelope and return it to us at our cost.
No questions asked. No hassles. Guaranteed.
Save 15% vs. bookstore prices
But if you decide that More Writer’s First Aid is the both practical and inspiring companion you need to get the writing done, simply pay the invoice we will enclose with your shipment. It will be for the discounted Kristi Holl-fan price of $19.95 plus handling and shipping.
If you’d would like to receive More Writer’s First Aid for a 30-day. no-risk examination, simply complete the order form today. Just click on Order Now.
With best wishes for your writing success,
Prescott V. Kelly,
|*30-day Free Examination is available to purchasers located anywhere in North America. Elsewhere, a prepaid order is required—click to see order form for details.|