The Girl Who Loved Too Much

New Release!

 

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a different reality that was better for you, but not for those you loved?

Caru loves to make things. And collect things. And give gifts. She loves to print, sew, knit, paint. Her life is full of unfinished projects, yet devoid of financial stability and romance. Though she loves her life, she finds herself disappointing people and struggling to keep everyone happy.

So when Caru wishes life could be simpler, and then finds herself in a completely different world, where her life is easy, money is abundant, and her long-term boyfriend is the most fabulous cook, she can’t quite believe her luck.

But will all her wishes come true? Or will the dream turn into a nightmare?

The Girl Who Loved Too Much is a modern day ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

 

The Girl Who Loved Too Much is m brand new novel, published by Jasper Tree Press. It will be available in eBook and paperback, but I am also doing a special edition hardback, with a letterpress printed dust jacket and bookmark, which you can pre-order only from my website here.

Michelle says RELAX

Do you relax? And by that I mean, do nothing and just chill, while awake in the day? I think I have somehow lost the ability or the gene to be able to sit and do nothing, because even when feeling ill, I still find it difficult to simply BE.

Doingness has taken over. I must be doing something all the time, otherwise I am wasting time. And because time is precious and finite, wasting it is the ultimate sin.

Which means I find myself chatting to a friend online, while watching Netflix, while eating dinner. Because doing any of those tasks on their own would waste time. And I write a blog, while also editing a book, while checking my email and drinking my tea. Or I sew while watching a movie while talking to my partner.

When did multi-tasking become the only way to be? What happened with just sitting and having a cuppa? What happened to eating a meal, and noticing the tastes and enjoying each bite? Why do I feel the need to cram as much as I can into every waking moment of every single day?

In case you were hoping for solutions, I better warn you now, I have none! Other than – if you feel the same way, then becoming aware of your addiction to doing is the first step in changing it. If you want to change it, of course.

I know that part of my issue is that there is just so much I want to do. So many creative projects, so many work projects, so many things I enjoy… at times when I find myself with some spare time, I get overwhelmed at all the possible things I could fill it with. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, that all I can do is something domestic and mundane. Relaxing is never really an option. Not when the car needs washing and clothes need folding and the firewood needs collecting and the kitchen needs cleaning.

Being addicted to doing has never really been a problem for me. You could say I’ve thrived on it. But by the end of last year, even though I hadn’t achieved all I’d planned to, I hit something of a massive slump. I felt depleted and exhausted, and in early December I had no energy to do anything at all.

I saw my kinesiologist and got back on track, but it took a long time for my mojo to return. Then in the new year, I got a virus. Now, having got over that and getting myself back on track, I find that I don’t have nearly as much oomph to get things done as I once did, and I wonder if I ever will again.

It’s tricky when the mind and the body are not in sync. When my mind is trying to beat me up and make me feel bad for not getting everything on my to do list done, and my body is saying – I need more sleep, just sit for a while, and it’s okay, you can do things tomorrow – it leaves me feeling more exhausted.

So I plan to use my trusted friend – EFT – to do some reprogramming. Because if my body needs rest, then I need to feel okay with resting, and relaxing. Because feeling guilty about it certainly isn’t going to help my body either. I’m also exploring this whole topic in my new novel, which will hopefully help me to work out a way forward too.

How do you relax? Do you multitask too much? Do you feel guilty for chilling? Would love to hear from you.

No time to relax? Stare at this photo for a full minute and imagine the sound of the waves on the pebbles…

 

Duelling Poets – Coming Soon!

In the summer of 2012, I duelled with another poet, Victor Keegan, for 30 days. each day, we chose a topic to write about, and then wrote a poem each. We took it in turns to choose the topics, and they got pretty random at times! Now, a mere 8 years later (!) we are finally ready to release those poems, and we are asking that you, the reader, choose the winner!

The poems are not credited, so you simply read them all, tick the boxes under your favourites, then tally up the points at the end. Then you can declare your winner on Twitter, using the hashtags #duellingpoets and either #michellewinstheduel or #victorwinstheduel

The book will be available to buy as a paperback and on Kindle, from the 20th February 2020.

May the best poet win!

A decade of blogging

I’ve never really experienced writer’s block in the way that other writer’s describe. Where the ideas have dried up, and they have no idea what to write. Ideas are definitely not a problem.

But I have hit blocks in terms of getting the words and ideas onto the page. Not just when writing books, but also in terms of this blog. In December this year, this blog will be 10 years old, and just a couple of weeks ago, it hit 100k views all time. As proud as I am of this, I wonder where to take things next. With the shift toward Instagram and YouTube, I admit to neglecting this blog over the last year or two, with posts dwindling down to a couple here and there, instead of every week or even every month.

I never used to worry about what I posted, I would just write whatever came to mind, but lately, I haven’t been sharing as much, because there is the pressure to only share what is useful to others, or that teaches, inspires or at the very least, entertains. There is more leaning towards things needing to create revenue and get clients and customers and not just simply provide a glimpse into the world that I inhabit.

I didn’t write any books last year either. I was focused on publishing The Winter’s Sleep by Monica Cafferky, and also found myself moving house too many times to mention! I took part in many festivals and MBS shows, and by the end of the year, found myself needing to focus on my health more, as I got quite fatigued and couldn’t keep up the pace I had set.

I did however discover a passion for letterpress printing, and papermaking, and even leatherwork. So although my writing has been at a minimum, my creative output has been pretty extensive! So I feel maybe I just needed time to be creative in other ways.

I have no idea what 2020 has in store for me, and unlike last year, I haven’t made a huge long list of things I want to accomplish, because inevitably, when I set the bar too high, I end up being disappointed with that I have managed to do. I do however have a few books in the pipeline, some are by other authors and some are by myself, the first one is a poetry book, called Duelling Poets, which I can’t wait to release into the world. (post about this coming soon)

So what direction do you think I should go in? Do you enjoy the random wonderings? Is it just useful information you are looking for? Or more gluten free recipes? (those posts got a lot of views!) I don’t want to abandon the blog altogether, as it has been with me from the very beginning of my writing journey, but I would love to hear what you think.

I do hope 2020 has been kind to you thus far, and that we get to interact more in the coming 12 months!

My letterpress creations! (Available on etsy 😉 )

 

Not From This Planet

What a year 2019 has been! (I’m aware it’s not over yet, but I also can’t understand how it’s October already?!)

I haven’t been as active online this year as I have been busy working on some amazing projects. As well as a brand new business which I am hoping will reshape the way publishing works.

My editor, Liz Lockwood, and I have been plotting, and we have created a whole new publishing model that we are very excited about. This new model seeks to blend the best bits of both traditional and indie publishing, in a way that the author feels supported and it works financially for both publisher and author. Working closely with authors to create books that they adore feels like the best way forward, and so, we have begun our own publishing house, Not From This Planet.

Under this cosmic umbrella, we are creating several imprints to cover different genres, and so far we have four – The Amethyst Angel (Visionary and metaphysical fiction), Labradorite Press (non-fiction), Amber Beetle Books (children’s) and Jasper Tree Press (General fiction).

We are releasing new books before Christmas, please do check out our website and Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates, and if you are interested in finding out more about how our new model works, do get in touch!

promo image 6

The Winter’s Sleep by Monica Cafferky published by Jasper Tree Press

 

Empowerment, not blame

There’s a concept in the spiritual/new age beliefs that says that you create your own reality. That whatever is going on in your life – you have chosen or created it, perhaps not on a conscious level, but on a subconscious one.

I do believe this to be true, and I see a lot of people hating this concept, because they think that they are to blame, or at fault for their illness, their bad relationships, their circumstances, or their situation.

But the way I see it, is that if I am responsible for creating what I am currently experiencing, then I am capable of changing it. If I am not responsible, and it is the creation of some outside person, deity or force, then there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it.

I am powerless. I am at the mercy of the whims of the unknown.

So I prefer to see myself as being the creator of my reality. Because I find it empowering to be in control of my own situation. Because even if there is something I cannot change – I can change my perspective of it. I can change my experience of it.

When it comes to health, if there is a dis-ease or issue in my body, I do what I need to do to heal. I change my diet, I see a professional therapist, I change my thoughts, and I nurture and care for myself. I do not blame myself, berate myself, hate my body, fight it and punish it for failing me. Because even though I believe that I created the issue, it doesn’t mean that I consciously wanted that particular illness. It just means that my actions/thoughts/beliefs up to that point created it, so I need to change them in order to heal it.

When it comes to finances, instead of blaming the economy, my job, or taxes, I now look at where I am spending unnecessarily. I look at what I can save, where I can make more money, and learn how to manage it better. I change my beliefs and my thought patterns.

When it comes to relationships, I no longer blame the other person for what is not working. Instead, I go within, turn up the self-love dial, and make sure that I am in complete authenticity with myself and with them. I make changes in my own behaviour.

When we blame, we hurt. When we take responsibility, we heal.

Perspective is everything, and how you see things will be the way you experience them.

What do you think?

A Letter to Writers

Dear Writer,

I don’t know why I am only just realising this, as it seems so very obvious, but I think that writing may be the most difficult art to make a living from. I’m not saying this to put you off of writing, or becoming an author. And I’m certainly not saying this to be negative for the sake of it. Let me explain.

Writing is the most difficult of all the arts to have genius recognised in. Because in order to recognise the genius of a piece of writing, one must actually sit, concentrate and read the words. Which might take thirty minutes or several hours or even days or weeks.

Whereas a song can be recognised as genius in three minutes. A movie in two hours. A painting in seconds. A dance in a few minutes or more.

But writing demands time. And in this world of constant information overload, time is of short supply. Or so it would appear. And so if someone takes the time to read your words, it is truly an honour, because they are saying – your words are worth more to me than several movies or several hours of social media.

As a writer, it is harder to be ‘discovered’. To have that magic moment when someone spots your genius and tells the world about it. You can’t go on a talent show or do a video that goes viral on YouTube.

All you can do is keep writing, and keep hoping that your words will hit the spot for enough people that the word will spread that your words are worth the time and effort they take to consume.

Of course, you will still always hope that one day you will reach that tipping point where every time you hit publish, you sell several thousand copies straight off the bat, and not just a handful. But until then, you keep writing, because you were not born to be a singer or dancer or a movie star.

You were born to be a writer.

So fall in love with the difficulty, the struggle and the stress that comes with this work. Because I promise you, it will be worth it in the end.

Much love,

A writer.

Image – James Pond (Unsplash)

Digital Immortality

Life on Earth was intended to be fleeting.

Our journeys from birth to death, and the transitions through many stages and ages, were to be experienced then discarded and forgotten. We are eternal beings. Our mission here on Earth was to experience the finite nature of humanity.

But the birth of the internet changed all of that.

No longer are the tiny minutiae of our daily lives simply experienced and discarded, by only ourselves and those who are physically present. Now they are recorded, shared, stored and kept (possibly in a country-sized bunker somewhere) for all of time.

The photo of you at seven years old with paint on your face will live in a cloud forever. The ex you dumped ten years ago can still follow your life as if they were still in it. The drunken tweet you posted can cost you the job you really want, even fifteen years after the posting.

Human beings hunger for immortality. To live forever is the ultimate goal. But we’ve forgotten that we do live forever.

Just not in this particular body the whole time.

But the actions, thoughts, meals and nights out that we have experienced in this body may well live forever.

 

Is digital immortality really what we want? To be known forever for the pictures of things we ate, books we read or songs we like? Is it not enough to just share the moment with the people right in front of us, or even just with ourselves?

Would it not be better to be known for an act of kindness, a job well done or a long, healing hug? Or for writing a book that has moved people? Helped them?

 

Part of my need to write books is to be remembered. To leave a legacy of some kind when my soul leaves this body and moves onto the next adventure. The idea that a photo of my gluten-free vegan meal might be remembered more than my novels hurts me. So you can expect less banality and more creativity from me from this point onward. Because I came here to write.

And that is what I intend to do.

Can you really have it all?

There are a lot of articles and videos about the concept of ‘having it all’. The idea is aimed at women, and it’s said that women can now have the career, the relationship, the family, the home etc, etc. They don’t have to choose between one of the other – they can have all of it, all at once. Of course, ‘all’ will be different to each woman, some don’t want children, some don’t want a relationship, and I think the main idea is that women can now choose, instead of having to get married and have children as a matter of course.

But recently I have recognised a pattern in myself (which I am currently working on) that when lots of things are going well in my life, and I reach for the final puzzle piece in order to ‘have it all’ something goes wrong.

One of the other perfectly good pieces suddenly falls apart, and diverts my attention from the final piece, and often distracts me enough to stop reaching for it. And it made me wonder  – are we programmed to choose either/or? Do we actually believe it’s possible to have a good balance between home/love/money/career/family?

Because it’s all very well to say we can have it all, but if we don’t believe it, then it will never happen. So do you believe you can have it all? And do you know what your ‘all’ looks like?

Something to ponder on this Monday morning!

I do love this movie. But it illustrates exactly my point – when she tries to have a high-powered career and also care for a child as a single parent, it seems impossible to ‘have it all’.

On the Smugness of Minimalists

I’m in a slightly ranty mood, so take from this post what you will!

I have stuff. And I like all of it. I’m not a hoarder in the sense that I keep absolute rubbish, but I do get sentimental about things. I come from a family of hoarders, so in my defence, I never had a chance.

I get that energetically, it’s better to have less ‘stuff’. To have a clear space is to have a clear mind, and I have to say, every time I watch a decluttering program (I do love Marie Kondo!) I have the urge to clean, tidy and purge my stuff. And some things have improved – my drawers contain all Konmari style folded clothes now, and have done for months. But some things don’t change.

And one of those things is, I like my stuff.

I’m not just a writer. Or even just a reader. I have a LOT of interests and hobbies. I knit, crochet, scrapbook, sew and create all sorts of crafty things. I love stationery (washitape is my current addiction) so I have a lot of papers, pens, stickers, notebooks etc. I run my own business, so I have stock, packaging, and equipment like lighting etc for filming videos.

And you might be reading this, thinking – so what? Why is this an issue? Well, the issue is, I don’t own my own home, and in the last 12 years, the longest I have stayed anywhere is my current home for the last 13 months. So I have moved, a LOT, and every time, I get so many comments from people on just how much stuff I have. Yet I bet any of them would struggle to move their belongings every few months!

I honestly do wish I could be minimalist, and believe me, I have done energetic work on having too much stuff. But the things is, I love the things I own. In the words of Marie Kondo – they bring me joy.

What doesn’t bring me joy is having to pack them up and move them all the time! So of course, the easy solution is to have a permanent home. But unless a magical unicorn that poops gold bars drops out of the sky right now, that’s not really an option.

There’s not really a point to this post, I was just feeling ranty because many minimalist people seem so smug about not having so much stuff, and to be honest – if I were minimalist, I’d probably be smug too. It does seem like an easier way of life!

But until I find the magical minimalist pill, or a gold bar pooping unicorn, I guess I better just get used to packing a lot of boxes…

(This image may seem completely random, but it shows one of the many craft projects I have done in my life and had a fun quote on it!)