Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


TGIF, dear readers!

For today’s writing prompt, I ask you a deceptively simply question:

If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Why? What difference would this make? How would you feel if you could change this one thing?

As for me, I would change how I make my living. What I want, more than anything, is to be a published novelist.

In addition to doing what I love, novel writing equates freedom. I can do it anywhere, at anytime. I could move to a beautiful, sunny place without worrying about having to find a job. I wouldn’t have to worry about workplace politics or spiteful office gossip. I would at last feel like I was doing what I’ve wanted to do my entire life–what I’ve felt I should be doing since I was five years old. I’d finally have an answer for all those people who ask me when the book’s coming out, or where they can buy it.

I wouldn’t have to scrounge for freelance work. I wouldn’t come home from a day of being chained to a desk, feeling defeated and mentally exhausted. I wouldn’t have to wear uncomfortable clothes while I work, or spend most of my time away from the person and animals I love most. Chloe would be my fuzzy co-worker. I’d like that.

I’d feel at least partly in control of my own destiny. I would be allowed to be as creative as I wanted, and it would be lauded. My thinking could wander back outside the box where it belongs, and no one would mind. It would only make the writing better.

I don’t have to be rich. I don’t have to be famous. I don’t have to win the Pulitzer Prize, although all these things would be nice (except maybe the fame).

What about you, dear readers? What would you change?

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  1. Elspeth Cross

    Here’s the thing. If I change one thing, I’d have a completely different life and I pretty much like the life I have. Any changes would be made early and would affect everything after, and everyone I’d ever met after that point.

    But if I could do one thing without changing the rest, I wish I would have known that people write television shows and movies. It wasn’t something I thought about but if I’d known it as a kid, I would have left highschool and moved to Vancouver or LA and studied scriptwriting and gotten into the industry as my first choice as a career (writing novels in my “spare” time”).

    Nobody in my extended family had ever done anything remotely artistic as a career so I never knew about the opportunities. But I’m here now and you can be certain everyone who comes after me will be aware of the possibilities.

  2. Mystic_Mom

    I agree with Elspeth, changing a one thing might have changed everything, but if I could change ONE thing without causing a loss of the life I have now it would be that I gave myself permission more to pursue the creative.

    I wouldn’t have listened when people told me that the things we do have to have a value that is measured in dollars, I would believe my heart which measures things in a different currency.

    When I was younger and wanted to be a writer and an artist I would have stayed with more of that, even as a sideline, rather than being talked out of it as a waste of time or of no value.

    Keep writing Holli, you inspire me to keep writing, I started doing wire sculpture again and am working on marketing some of it too!

    Wings to your words…

  3. kungfusinger

    Personally, I would not change a thing. I have had my high points and my low point. I have overcome emotional abuse. I have gone trough a rough divorce. I have had jobs I love and jobs I hate. I have made abysmally bad relationship decisions.

    The good things in life are like bright points in my memory. The job as a receptionist that I absolutely loved. Going back to school. Rediscovering my own identity after my divorce. Finding my soul mate. Getting my black belt. Thinking on these things fills my heart to bursting.

    The bad things are dark patches in my memory. The emotionally abusive ex husband. Flunking out of University in my first year. But the dark patches make the bright ones all the brighter.

    I remember living on hot dogs for two months because I could get a week’s worth of food for $10. The first real meal I had after that was when a friend brought me out to Boston Pizza. I don’t mean to knock Boston Pizza, but their food is not exactly the tastiest gourmet cuisine out there. I tell you, though; I have yet to taste a meal that was as good as that supper. Not because I have never had better food, but because I have never been so hungry for it. That’s what the dark patches do: they give you a hunger that lets you appreciate the bright all the more.

    For every mistake I have made, I have grown from the consequences. If I were to eliminate a single dark spot from my past, I would not be the same person I am today.

    I know I am showing my nerdy side her, but Star Trek sums it up pretty well:

    “When I think about everything we’ve been through together, maybe it’s not the destination that matters, maybe it’s the journey, and if that journey takes a little longer, so we can do something we all believe in, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be or any people I’d rather be with.” Harry Kim, Star Trek: Voyager

    My end goal: to be a Structural Engineer. Status: I’m on the journey.

  4. Lisa

    You know it is interesting that the comments here are that people wouldn’t want to change anything. I read your post earlier today and have been thinking about my life, and what one thing I would change if I could…And I can’t think of a darn thing…There are things about others that I would change (like making my ex-husband give up trying to guilt trip me and make me feel like I am a less-than-perfect mother to our children), but in my own life, I am happy with the path it has taken. I am at a point right now that I likely wouldn’t have gotten to had it not been for the journey here. Sure there are things that I’d love to have done, like travel more, or found a career earlier, or started saving for my retirement when I was 18 years old…;0))))) Anything that I would have liked to change, I can and have changed. And I am still in that process. I still want to be a published author, but right now that ball is in my court and I have only myself to blame for not being on that path. But it just shows me that there are other things in my life that are more important to me at the moment, and the day will come when things shift, and I will make that change.

    Once again, thanks for this thought provoking post. You always make me stop and think Holli…and that’s pretty cool…

  5. Figureskater930

    If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
    -I think I would change not being so trusting and so forgiving. Cause it really just ends up with me getting hurt all the time.

    Why? What difference would this make? How would you feel if you could change this one thing?
    -I think in a way I would be better if I could change this cause then like I mentioned I wouldn’t always be getting hurt by those who I thought where friends.

  6. Kim

    I would change conversations. I would take back things I said and conversations that changed a course of a relationship with a person I would avoid having.

    I would probably make a different career choice. The only reason I didn’t become a doctor was because I didn’t want to spend 11 years in school. And then I spent 11 years in school anyway. But then again, I’m not really upset that I’m not a doctor now. I wouldn’t go back and become a doctor now anyhow.

  7. Story Teller

    Thank you for your beautiful, heart-felt submissions. Everyone did such a wonderful job with this exercise.

    @ Elspeth – I can SO relate to your wish. There’s so many careers I wish I’d been exposed to as a kid for my “day job” while I work on the full-time author dream.

    @ MM – I know you love your life. It shines through everything you write and say. And the idea that I have inspired *you* – wow. I am very, very honored to have you as a reader and new friend.

    @ kungfusinger – you’re right; there is a purpose to everything we go through in life, even if it’s just to make us appreciate the happy times that much more. Beautiful post.

    @ Lisa – I am so sorry for your painful divorce, and the pain your ex is still causing you. I hope for both your sakes that he can get past this soon. I am so touched that you find this blog thought-provoking, and I feel the same way about your comments. Very glad to have you here.

    @ Figureskater – welcome to the blog! I have been in your shoes so many times. It does hurt a lot to be a trusting and loving person, and a lot of people will take advantage of your openness. The good news is that you are also open to the wonderful people who will respect your heart and treat you with kindness. It’s worth the bumps and bruises along the way – please take it from me, because I’ve been there. Hugs.

    @ Kim – I can relate to both of your choices. On the bright side, if you were a doctor, you’d be too busy to write. Maybe you chose what you did because there is something else you are meant for….


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