Passion That Can Start Fires

First of all, this is the final post in my 30 Day Blogging Challenge – can I get a high-five?? I did miss a day, but blogged twice the following day to make up for it. So in 30 days, I have posted 30 times. And do you know what? I really thoroughly enjoyed it. (I sincerely hope you did too, I hope the daily emails weren’t too irritating!)

I will probably blog more often from now on, but probably not every day! It’s been a good challenge to come up with something relevant every day, and even though I made a list of 30 things to blog about before I started, I’ve only used a fraction of those ideas.

Today’s post was inspired by a beautiful friend of mine, Miranda, by my circumstances this week, and by the book I’ve been reading for the last two weeks (took me longer than my normal book a week goal), which is The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte.

I want to talk about passion. And crazy ambition.

I’ve been struggling to understand why anyone would prioritise their work and their to-do list over having a meaningful relationship, and last night, when I finished reading the last few chapters of Danielle’s book, I finally understood. I had an ‘aha’ moment, you could say.

For too long now, I have bought into the ‘myth of balance’, as Danielle calls it. You know, where you fill in the wheel of life, and see how unbalanced your life is, and how bumpy the ride will be. I filled in an online one, and my wheel looks something like this:

wheel of life

Wow. Seriously out of whack, you could would say. Or is it? I know these kinds of exercises are useful to see what areas could use improvement and a bit of attention, but in Danielle’s Firestarter Sessions, she makes the very important point that when you have a crazy ambition, sometimes you have to cut out and ignore anything that doesn’t help you achieve it. Which means your life will be unbalanced. You can see from my wheel, that all my focus is on my career right now, which is my writing and publishing, and in order to focus on that, I have not been working in a regular job and my finances are not good (though I am getting things sorted now). And in my crazy, working all hours to make things happen mode – I don’t take much time out to have lots of fun, and I do try to keep healthy, but that often slides too when I’m in mission mode.

And as I’ve come to realise this week, when you’re trying to have a relationship with someone who is on a mission, and who believes in your mission, then sometimes having an intense relationship is not a good thing. It’s a distraction. It’s going to derail us from our missions. And I have finally come to accept that in order to pursue what we are passionate about, it means going our separate ways.

I’ve realised that when I really put myself into gear, I can achieve so much. I thought that publishing two books a year was a lot. That it was a big goal. After writing and publishing a book in less than 3 months last year, and writing another book during that same time in just two weeks, I have come to realise that actually, I have been really quite slack.

I am an author. I write books. It has literally been all I wanted to do since I was eight years old. So to only actually write anything for a couple of months out of the year seems crazy. How will I hone my writing skills that way? How will I produce enough material to keep my readers happy? How will I publish enough books to make a living from them?

By putting everything I have into it. By giving myself permission to stop trying to balance my life. There has been this pervading myth that women can ‘have it all’. Husband, kids, career, home etc. But do you know what? Dividing all your energy equally between those things is impossible. If you do manage to, you become exhausted. Sometimes, you really do need to just focus on one thing at a time. Yes, you will upset people, no, it might not always be convenient. But sometimes, it’s totally necessary.

So for 2015, I’ve set myself some pretty big writing goals, because this is the year of focussing on my career. I will try to have fun along the way, but for too long now, I have lacked passion and real commitment to my purpose. I want to wake up every day, desperate to get some words onto the page, and eager to get my books out into the world. I want to experience a passion every day that can start fires.

Not only will I be a firewalker, I will be a firestarter too!

You Freakin Rock!

Me and my fellow firewalker 🙂

 

Recap of Basket Brigade 2014

To make up for missing a post yesterday, as I was distracted, I wanted to post a second time today (apologies to those whose inboxes are getting filled up, the 30 Day Blogging Challenge is very nearly over, I promise!)

It was Yes Group in London yesterday, which I wasn’t able to attend, but they posted this video of the Basket Brigade day that I took part in just before Christmas. Here it is:

http://youtu.be/X1TaNuOSdZw

It was a fabulous day, and I would recommend getting involved this coming Christmas. Another wonderful organisation, which is run by the amazing Anita who used to run Basket Brigade, is Anita’s Angels. They distributed bagfuls of items to homeless people all around London in December, they are distributing red roses to people in elderly care homes and at Easter they’re distributing Easter Eggs to children who would go without. Check it out, and if you can, take part. And if you can’t take part, they love donations.

Acts of kindness are what make life worth living.

Just my opinion.

 

Time to Walk Away

Dear Twin Flames,

I know it’s been a while since I wrote to you, I’m sorry. I have been so caught up in my own stuff, my own dramas, that I have neglected you, I do hope you can forgive me.

Today’s letter is not a happy one I’m afraid. Today’s letter is to tell you that you do not need to keep breaking your heart over and over. That you do not need to suffer any more.

This letter is to tell you that it’s time to let go. It’s time to move on. You are far too beautiful, far too important to be hurting like this. Because the pain is stopping you from shining. It’s holding you back.

Do not hold yourself back any longer. If your Flame repeatedly pushes you away, then they simply cannot see your magnificence, they cannot understand how incredible you are.

And until they decide to change their old beliefs, they will continue to pull you in then push you away.

As difficult as it is, it is time for you to say – ‘no more.’

The cycle must end. And you must end it. So when you leave, and the time comes when they reach out, wanting you back, you must say no. You must put yourself first. Otherwise you cannot hope to pursue your mission, your reason for being here.

Perhaps, one day, they will finally understand. Perhaps, one day, a reunion, a wholehearted, harmonious reunion will be possible.

But until then, you have to let go.

It will hurt like hell. But I can promise you this – staying in the cycle will hurt more.

And know that when the pain feels like too much – the angels are with you, always, keeping you safe.

You are so very loved, beautiful Flame. Do not let this pain extinguish your spark.

Sending you so much love and light,

Michelle

xx

goodbye

How Do Writers Survive?

I read an article online, about how a writer says she is ‘sponsored’ by her husband, in that her writing doesn’t make her enough to live on, but her husband’s job pays well enough that it doesn’t matter.

She says in the article that writers need to be more honest about how they actually earn a living, if for no other reason than to make budding writers aware that it won’t be a smooth ride to say the least. She had been to events where the author would talk of all their hard work and effort, which has made them successful, but in reality they came from wealthy families, had high-earning husbands or had a lot of amazing connections that ensured their success.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back, who believed that women writers could only be successful if they had wealthy husbands. I must admit, I resisted the idea, not wanting to believe that the only way I could be a successful author was to find some rich schmuk to marry me.

But in the spirit of being honest – there’s a possibility she may well be right. When I am focused on writing (and editing and publishing) my own books, holding down a normal job that pays the bills is all but impossible for me. Because when I have a normal job, I put 120% of effort into it, and have nothing else left, so being creative is quite difficult. So in the last few years, during the jobless periods of time, I have relied on credit cards. So yes, like many other people in the UK, I have credit card debt. Not because I bought designer goods, the latest gadgets or dined out every night, but because I needed to pay rent and for food and car insurance somehow.

Magically, every month, I have made enough money to pay for my basic bills, and eat and have shelter. A lot of this is down to the generosity of friends, family and my flame. And the rest of it is down to my business, The Amethyst Angel, where I help other Indie authors to publish their work.

My living expenses are not paid for by my royalties. Not even close.

But I don’t believe that I will be in this situation forever. Despite the apparent evidence, and my friend’s belief, I do believe that Indie authors can make a living from their writing, and I do believe that I can succeed without needing a wealthy husband. If anything, these tough financial times have taught me what and who is really important in my life. It’s taught me about what I actually need to live a happy life, and what is completely unnecessary. I have come to be truly grateful for the small things, and have gathered a massive amount of material for future books!

other side quote

So I’ve made up my mind. Making a living as a writer is not easy, and many writers may be supported by their loved ones, but I refuse to believe that it is impossible to be a successful writer off your own back, making a good living. Because there are many authors who have done just that.

In the meantime, being honest about how we authors survive can only be a good thing.

I think.

To read the article that inspired this post, click here.

That First Book Feeling

Last night we watched ‘Albatross‘ on Netflix. If you have a subscription to Netflix, I would recommend the movie, it really was good. Hilariously funny in place, and quite sad in others, a good British movie. (Okay, so I suck at writing movie reviews, but that’s not what this is, so read on!)

In the movie, there’s a scene where, having written her first book, the character then gets it printed and bound, and then as she cycles home, she has this massive smile on her face. For any writer who has completed writing a book, they will probably remember that ‘first book feeling’. That sense of having accomplished a dream, of having created something you have always wanted to create.

It’s amazing. It’s exciting. It’s a feeling of pure unadulterated joy, because you’ve finally done it!

But it’s short-lived. Because once you have finished your first book, where you were free to create whatever you wanted, free to dream of your success, and free to be yourself, hidden away from view, with only yourself to answer to – you then move out into the publishing world, and from that moment on, you can never have that ‘first book feeling’ again.

Or can you?

After having written and published eight books, it’s not easy to remember that feeling, because every time I publish a book, my mind is already on whether my readers will enjoy it, how to market it, and what book to write next. Stopping to enjoy the fact that another book has been brought into existence, rarely happens, because I have so much to do.

But in order to retain the pure joy that comes from writing, and to remain passionate about creating another work of fiction – I know I must take that time to revel in it, to celebrate it, to enjoy it. And I implore other authors out there, busy doing their own marketing and promoting, to do the same. In fact, I have added it to the list of 100 things I will do in 2015 –

 wpid-20150126_122003-1.jpg

To all writers out there who are working on their first book – really enjoy every moment! And when you have finished, celebrate like crazy because truly, it is a massive accomplishment and you should be so very proud of yourself for having done it.

If you have any tips on how to celebrate that don’t involve tons of money or alcohol, I would love to hear your suggestions!

 

A Magical Quest

What started off as an ordinary, innocent walk in the woods, turned into a magical quest leading to a hidden treasure.

Having not been sticking to her promise to herself over the previous week, of going for a walk every day, on the Sunday after she turned 31, Michelle decided to get back on track and to go for a walk in the woods. She was alone in the house, and though she was trying to get some work done, she was feeling too sleepy to concentrate, and so decided to get some fresh air.

She wrapped up warm, it was January, after all, and as mild a winter as it had been, there was still a chill in the air. She set off down the driveway, and instead of taking her usual route, she headed in the opposite direction. As she walked down the path, she took in all of the sounds and smells and sights, taking in details that she had not previously noticed. As she made her way down the trail, she decided that the time of talking about and thinking about the past had gone. And that it was time to focus entirely on the present and how that would create her future. After all, the past was done, and she had no desire to live there any more.

At each junction, she opted to take the opposite path to normal, and soon she found herself on a path she had never walked on before, despite having walked through these woods for the previous four and a half years.

caves

Where the wise old wizard lives

 

Intrigued by the possibility of this new adventure, she continued, and found some new caves, where she thought a wise old wizard may live. Perhaps they would have some words of wisdom for her. But even though she called out greetings, there was no reply.

A sleeping Ent. Shhh

A sleeping Ent. Shhh

She moved on, past a majestic Ent, (who was asleep) and found a curious hole in the ground, and wondered if there might be a helpful hobbit there, perhaps bearing some cheese and crackers or some jolly music, but alas, no one was home there either.

No hobbit was home

No hobbit was home

She continued along, and found she was heading for the river, the sound of which grew louder and louder. It appeared to be flowing quite fiercely, due to the rains they’d had, she supposed. In the middle of her path, she came across a shaman’s feather. Its black and white stripes reminded her that there was light in darkness, and that duality was needed in life, despite it being difficult to endure the darkness at times. It also reminded her that there was an inbetween, where things weren’t black or white, but a bit fuzzy and grey. And that’s okay too.

Beautiful shaman feather

Beautiful shaman feather

She silently thanked the shaman, for leaving her the message, and continued further down the hill, a little daydream running through her mind as she carefully descended the slippery, rocky path.

Still unsure as to what her next step should be, in her wonderfully crazy and haphazard life, she was thrilled to find that though the wizard and the hobbit had not been home, the pirates had left her a treasure map! She couldn’t fail to find what was hidden now.

The pirate treasure map

The pirate treasure map

She eagerly read the map and then followed the trail to the river, and found a deserted beach, the water lapping onto the shore. She remembered all the many times she had spent at the ocean, and how it always reminded her of the expansive nature of the universe. Standing on the shore, looking out to sea, would always bring home to her that she was merely a drop in the ocean, part of the whole, connected to all of life.

A deserted beach

A deserted beach

She continued on, past a beautiful tree with roots like celtic knots, reminding her of her heritage, of her ancestors. Though she had resolved to not dwell on the past, she thanked them now, for all they had learnt and passed on to her.

My celtic roots

Her celtic roots

She found a very hospitable stone, at the waters’ edge, and sat upon it. It occurred to her that it must have belonged to the house she had seen on the treasure map, that had once stood where she now sat by the water. She sat in silence for a while. Her eyes drifted closed and she listened to the sound of the water, listened to her own thoughts, to the ideas that were drifting about in her head. She opened her eyes after a while, and watched the water as it hit the shore then rippled back, and a little poem came to mind, so she wrote it down:

The ripples

Merge

Converge

Shift and 

Transform

As the river

Flows

Determinedly

On

The river was rushing past

The river was rushing past

She watched the water for a while, then thanking the river for its wisdom, she stood up and decided to make her way back. As she went up the trail, she thought about how she had been trying for some time to find a way to prove to herself that she was committed to her life, to her mission, having realised a few months before, that she hadn’t been up until then. She had been trying to devise a ritual of some kind, or to create something, or to purchase something to show her commitment, but she had not been able to decide on what it should be. She didn’t know what this kind of commitment looked like, having not experienced it before. She stopped on the path and looked towards the river, and spotted a heart-shaped patch of moss on a tree. She instantly knew that it was a message for her dear friend, and so captured an image of it to share with her, once her quest was over.

message

A message from the Angels

A quest! That was one idea she’d had of proving her commitment. To go on a quest by herself. But had this not been a quest? What had started out so simply, as a way to get some fresh air and exercise, had turned into so much more. As she made her way back up the hill, she looked up at the trees, dark against the white cloudiness of the sky, and it hit her again, the fact that everything was connected.

Everything is connected

Everything is connected

She realised in that moment, that she didn’t need a special ritual, or a symbol or to create anything to make her commitments, she could do it right there and then, with the trees, the river, the rocks and the sky as her witnesses, she could state them out loud, and so they would be done.

As she climbed the slippery, rocky hill, she began to speak out loud:

I, Michelle Louise Gordon, am committed to my life. To loving myself, loving my body. To taking care of myself, my soul and my body. I am committed to my purpose and my mission here on this earth, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure I complete what I came here to do. And so, I commit to helping others. I commit to inspiring others. I commit to helping others to heal. I commit to my own growth and evolution. I commit to assisting my friends and family and those who seek me out to become their best selves, and to follow their own missions too. I am committed to everything that my soul has in store for me. And so it is.

By now, she had reached the caves again, and as she looked toward them, she realised that the wizard had indeed had some wise advice for her, but she had not been open to it until now:

The wizard's advice

The wizard’s advice

She knew that the wizard meant there was a danger of her forgetting her commitments, especially with her terrible memory, and that she would need to find a way not to forget the magic of her quest. She thanked the wizard, and continued up the hill. When she had nearly reached home again, she took off her gloves and scarf, having got too warm, and pulled the bobble from her hair, allowing it to fall freely. Without realising, she had wrapped the bobble twice around her ring finger, and she smiled when she saw it. In that unthinking act, she had sealed her commitment to herself. Once she arrived home from her quest, she pulled off her boots, and went inside to make a cup of tea.

The ring, and a well-deserved cuppa

The ring, and a well-deserved cuppa

It was clear in that moment, as she watched the steam rise from the silver spout, that the only way she could make absolutely sure that her commitment would not be forgotten, would be to share it with the world. So, cup of tea in hand, she sat at her computer, and began to write.

 

Raising Funds to Publish

I recently set up a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to publish the next book in the Earth Angel series. Being a completely Indie Author, I have so far funded the publishing of all eight of my books myself, with the help of some beautiful people who want to see me succeed.

download

I created the campaign because I would love to invite my readers and fans to get involved, and to help me to bring the next book in the series into the world, and to also be able to get stock to do some Mind Body Spirit shows and get the books out there to even more people.

I guess the sensible thing to do, would have been to set a budget for each of my books, for the editing and publishing costs, so that I could see how much I had spent on each one. But I never did that. I am planning on writing a post on my publishing blog about budgeting for publishing a book, because if you approach publishing books as a hobby, you’ll end up just spending loads of money on unnecessary things, and it’ll end up really expensive. If you approach it as a business from the outset, then you are more likely to decide on a budget and stick to it, and also, if you keep better records of everything, it makes everything much easier comes tax return time!

I am so very thankful to everyone who has donated to the campaign so far, your support is very much appreciated. I plan to list all of the donors in the new book, which I haven’t begun editing yet, but do intend to release in March. If you would like to help me with the publishing costs, please know that every little bit helps and that I am very grateful to have your support.

 

First Oracle Reading of 2015!

It’s taken me a while to get to record this video, in answer to Brittney’s question about her Twin Flame. It was amazing how many similarities there were between Brittney and the man she feels is her Twin Flame and me and my Twin Flame. I sincerely hope that the reading helps her, and other Twin Flames who may also be in a similar situation, as I believe that there is a lot of good general advice for Twin Flames from Velvet and Amethyst in the reading too.

Please do leave feedback on the reading in the comments if it has helped you, and if you have a question of your own, email it to theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk

A New Publishing Blog

amethyst angel logo green

A week ago, I started a brand new blog, over on my publishing website – TheAmethystAngel.com. I am undertaking the 30 Day Blogging Challenge on that blog to get it going, and have had a wonderful response to the 7 posts I have put there so far. I am blogging about all the different steps and elements there are to independently publishing your own book. Each blog post will cover an aspect of self-publishing. I have so far covered some tips on self-editing, whether Indie Authors should have publishing imprints, how to send documents to your Kindle and some of my favourite uses for Scapple.

Over time, there will be enough posts on there to assist authors in every step of their Indie Publishing journey. I am writing posts somewhat randomly, choosing topics that come up and that I am inspired by each day. But I am categorising the posts so that it’s easy to find what you need easily.

I am opening the door to questions, so if you are an Indie Author and you want to ask me something, then email it to me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk and I will create a post to answer it, as I’m sure many others are likely to have had similar questions.

 

New Author Photos

Today my sister came to visit me. For those who don’t know her, she is the awesomely talented graphic designer who created my beautiful Visionary Collection covers, the back covers for the Earth Angel Series and also did my last set of author photos.

We went for a little wander in the woods today to take some new author photos, as I felt an update was needed. I wore my beautiful new hand-carved fox pendant, and my angel wing scarf. We had fun taking over 400 photos, and before she left this afternoon, Liz transferred some of the pictures to my computer.

Out of all of them, there were a few favourites, and I wanted to share them here with you first! I may share some of the silly ones at some point too.

me me6 me5 me3 me 2