Being the Definitive Collection of Works by Allison Holt


(Much like the author)

Coming Into Focus

Posted in on November 7, 2005

It was never my dream to be a novelist.

I think that it’s pretty obvious at this point to anyone who’s paid a shred of attention to my progress bar on the side of the page that my heart’s not in writing the novel I was (am?) working on. The bar hasn’t budged in two months. For a while, that fact was bothering me; yesterday, I stopped letting it.

Writing a novel has always been on my “something I’d like to do someday” list. But, as I said, it’s never really been my dream. When I think of my life as a writer in the not-too-distant future, I don’t honestly see myself writing novels (or not predominantly, anyway). I’d say that writing novels doesn’t feel like the way I’m going to get my writing goals met–except that the fact is I haven’t had any firm writing goals.

The novel gave me something to do. I’d had a story idea rattling around in my head for a year or more, and that seemed like a good way to start working out the details of that particular story. What I worked out more than anything else, as noted in this space previously, was that I don’t do the dive-in-without-planning thing very well. And while I do have an overall much more clear idea of the story and where it’s going, I’m not sure that story’s future is in novel form.

Tips What Spoke to Me.

What, you might ask, spurred this particular bit of self-examination? Well, I rediscovered a link yesterday to a site from which I’ve gotten one of the previous sidebar quotes for Do or Do Not. Hugh MacLeod, author of Gaping Void, writes an awful lot about creativity–how to be more creative, how to succeed at whatever your creative vision might be, how to follow your own instincts and tell everyone else to piss off, how to get through the inevitable down times. I’d read Hugh’s article several months ago, early in the infancy of this site, and it helped me restructure some things in my head; unfortunately, over time I seem to have lost all of the valuable insights I’d gained from the article.

But when I re-read it yesterday, it helped bring into focus how out-of-focus my creative energies have been recently.

I haven’t had a lot of time for writing overall lately, between a hectic work schedule, time spent with family and having some semblance of a social life, and what little time I have had I haven’t been putting to good use. Some of the stuff I’ve written for this site has been worthwhile, or at the very least fun to write, but overall I just haven’t been very productive. But as I was thinking about these issues and thinking about some of the issues raised in MacLeod’s article, I realized that even when I had been getting the words out, most of them weren’t in service to the things I’ve always really wanted to do. I think I was writing a novel because it seemed more like the kind of thing I should be doing rather than what I know in my heart I really want to be doing. I was writing just to say I was writing.

So I think that from now on (or, well, for the near future), I’m going to work on those things that will get me closer to my actual goal: writing comic books. I’m going to work on developing my craft, regardless of whether I think the projects I’m using to develop that craft are going to sell–I’ve got plenty of shitty stories to work through before I get to the good ones, so I might as well get those out of the way now. I’m going to work on things for me, not on things I think the world expects from me; when I’m ready, when the work is ready, the world will know it.

Thanks, Hugh.

Allison Holt spends her days wrestling with code and her nights wrestling with her amazing wife, three fantastic children and her big goofy rescue dog. You can find her at any of the social media links below, or you can email her at

All wrestling referred to in the previous paragraph is metaphorical.