jessicasteiner: (Fangirl Moment)
I've been meaning to do a review about this for a long time, but the job is so large that it may require multiple posts to complete. Still, here is my first shot.

Holly Lisle's website is probably one of the biggest reasons why I've gotten as far as I have so far with my writing career. (The rest of it being composed largely of stubborn bloody-mindedness). She's an accomplished author, who now spends a large amount of her energy putting together and administering courses to help new authors like myself to learn what they need to know to hone and develop their craft.

How To Think Sideways is the main course, though there are satellite courses, as you can see at the bottom of the page. The courses are now available on an a la carte basis, though when I took the course it was a single package you had to buy all at once.

The courses are worth every penny. They are clear, in-depth and thorough. Most of the weeks involve filling out worksheets. Sometimes I find the courses to be incredibly time consuming, but once you've done the course the first time, you've learned some amazing skills, which you can apply again and again.

I heartily recommend anything that Holly Lisle puts out in terms of courses. Probably in the future I'll do specific reviews on various courses she's done. Right now I'm working through the How to Revise Your Novel course for the second time, as I edit OtherWhere. More to come.
jessicasteiner: (Save the World)
I have a really terrible headache right now, but I need to earn experience. So here I am, reviewing the sole reason why I'm not in bed. I know I normally review books, but this is worth making an exception.

I discovered HabitRPG through their Kickstarter, which just recently finished and which I donated to. The idea behind the website is that it uses videogame principles to help people develop good habits and get things done.

You can set up daily tasks to be completed, one-time to-dos, and other habits you want to develop by rewarding yourself every time you do them, or punishing you every time you do something you want to avoid doing.

Each time you complete a task, you earn experience. If you do something you aren't supposed to, or leave a daily task incomplete, you take hit point damage. You level up, and can earn gold, which you can trade in for rewards such as ice cream, or armour and weapons to customize your sprite.

The game is in beta and updates are happening very quickly. I've been having a lot of fun trawling the Trello board, voting on suggestions and taking part in the discussion. Now that the Kickstarter funded, a phone app is on the horizon.

To my slight surprise, it's really working! The variety of tasks I've put on there range from chores (doing the dishes) to writing related (finishing chapter 25 of Dale Shepard and the Bug Aliens from Outer Space) to health (taking the stairs instead of the elevator) and I keep coming up with more things to put on the list.

The fact that I'm writing this right now (posting on my blog is a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday activity and if I don't do this I'll take damage) is a testament to the fact that it IS working.

I highly suggest that you try it out. It's free and easy! There are so many ways it can be used to improve someone's life, I'm sure I couldn't list (or even think of) them all. I'll warn that it's a tiny bit buggy, in that sometimes I have to refresh a couple of times before it'll record what I've done. But I have no doubt that over time it'll become more reliable. And once the phone app is released, it'll be even easier to record my achievements without having to wait until a computer is handy.

Now I think I'll sleep.

Also, when you reach level 3, drop me a line with your userID and I'll invite you to my party Turn Write (also the name of my dead writing group, oh well).

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Jessica Steiner

February 2016

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