Camp NaNoWriMo, Title Reveal & Instagram!

On the 31st July 2015, I hit 50k words, and won Camp NaNoWriMo! It’s been a very busy month of travelling and working, so I was very pleased to hit my target, despite being so far behind on my wordcount earlier that week. The story wasn’t quite finished at that point, so I continued writing and I finished it at the 54k word mark just yesterday.

As a winner of Camp NaNo, I received my certificate, and by posting it here, I am revealing the title of the new book, which came to me during a mediation on the last day of Camp.

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I had hoped to stay away from using yet another word beginning with ‘re’ for the title, but this word is perfect to describe the theme of this book. As usual, when I began writing it, I had no idea what was going to happen, so the original title I chose just didn’t quite fit when I finished writing.

The editing will begin soon, and I will publish it by October, though if possible, I will publish it sooner. I also want to start writing my next book, I have so many books flying around in my head, impatiently waiting for me to write them!

Yesterday, encouraged by my editor and awesome Angel friend Liz, I started using Instagram. I had tried to use it a while back and just didn’t get how to work it! But I think it makes more sense to me now, and I have posted a few pictures on there so far, I plan to post more on a regular basis. Please do check out my profile and follow me! I will follow you back 🙂

Will be blogging more often now that I’m not writing too. Look out for my next blog on a Sacred Journey I am taking part in!

Putting the Novelty back into Novel-Writing

I don’t know about any other writers out there, but I know that for me, writing needs to be as fun as possible, otherwise things like washing up and cleaning become more interesting and therefore take priority over getting any writing done.

But how fun can you make it? Well, when I wrote my first novel, The Earth Angel Training Academy, it was immediately after reading No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, a book that I have told many people about, because without it, I may never have got started. I’m currently participating in Camp Nanowrimo to get my latest novel written. Chris is a master at making writing a fun thing to do. He encourages writers to set crazy deadlines, eat far too many snacks, wear crazy hats as writing totems and then printing out the manuscript and diving into the paper with wild abandon.

Unfortunately, most of my writing time is really not very exciting, and consists of me being hunched over my iPad with some music playing. Fun or novel it is not. Until that is, I discovered the Hanx Writer.

For some time now, I have been hankering over getting an old typewriter. I remember having one as a child and loving doing my homework on it, and it seems like every movie author has one, and quite frankly, I just love the way they look and sound. But practical? Not really. To write my books, I really need a normal keyboard, and one that’s connected to something digital. So when I read about the Querky Writer, I was really excited. It was a typewriter-style keyboard you can attach to your keyboard. Genius! When I first found it, it was on KickStarter and was in pre-production stage. Now that I’ve seen the final product, I don’t find it does much for me.

Then while looking at the Querky Writer, I found this site, which sells actual typewriters that have been modified so they link directly to your computer or iPad. Now this was much more exciting, though if I were going to spend that much money, I would buy a Mac laptop, as my PC is terribly slow and I need a new one.

Then, my wanderings on Google led me to the Hanx Writer. Designed by Tom Hanks, who is a collector of typewriters (who knew??) the Hanx Writer is an app for iPad and iPhone that basically turns it into a typewriter. You can use the basic version for free, but I bought the upgrade and I have to say it’s fab. I have used it for the last two days, and weirdly, I think it’s made me a faster and more productive writer. All because I love the way the words appear on the paper and the clacking sounds of the keys.

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Yes I’m on Chapter Eleven of the latest novel in the Earth Angel Series!

It’s definitely put the novelty back into novel-writing, and in a weird way, makes me feel like a real writer. One day, I may still get a modified typewriter, but for now, the Hanx Writer ticks all the boxes!

Now back to the clack-clacking.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to write this! This is my own honest opinion about an app I found accidentally and have fallen in love with.

Going Old-School

As a writer who relies heavily on technology to write and publish books, I am a massive fan of all the advances in technology that we’ve seen over the last twenty years. I write my books on my iPad, edit and format them on my laptop, publish them on Createspace and Kindle, and then market them on Facebook and Twitter. Every step of my process relies on technology. None of it can be done without gadgets and electricity.

But despite all of these things making my craft much quicker and easier to do, there is something quite magical about creating something using old-school methods. I used to love my old typewriter, and would happily do my school work on it, taking care not to make too many mistakes, otherwise it would be covered in tip-ex, or I’d have to begin again. And I used to love sitting on the beach, or with a torch under my covers, scribbling in notebooks with a pencil. I absolutely love stationery, pens and pencils and notebooks – I have so many, yet most of the notebooks lie empty, unused.

I do treasure the pieces of writing that I have written with pen, and one of my favourite writing moments was when I was living in New York, and was sat in a diner with a friend who kept saying the most hilarious things. Not having any paper to hand, I grabbed a napkin and penned one of my favourite poems, titled – Musings over Milkshake. I still have the napkin, seven years later! I found it the other day:

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To read the poem in its entirety, click here.

Who knows, I may even go completely old-school and write a whole novel on the typewriter, or even a pack of 200 napkins – now that would be an interesting challenge!

 

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 –

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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 Room of One’s Own

Virginia Woolf’s famous quote, that to write fiction, a woman must have ‘a room of one’s own’, is something I once believed to be true. That it was important to have the perfect space to compose my stories in.

But though I still dream of having a roll-top writing desk, and a stunning view, (as evidenced on my pinterest board) having written nine books now, I have come to realise that it’s not really necessary to have those things to be able to write. I have written the majority of my books while sitting on my bed (not the best thing for my posture, I know, no need to lecture me) or on the sofa, or in various other places, some of which had a view, some didn’t.

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Admittedly one of my favourite views, when I sat on the beach to write parts of my latest book.

I’ve also come to realise that as long as I can write on some form of computer, I don’t need special equipment to write on either. I don’t have any special tools, a writing totem or any kind of ritual at all. I do need plenty of snacks usually, and have to stay hydrated and warm, but there ends the necessities.

Part of me would love to have some bizarre writing ritual, that had to be performed before a writing session, just to add a little more eccentricity to my life. But over the last few months, I have come to realise that in fact, the only vital ingredient necessary for me to write well and enjoy myself is this:

Excitement.

If I am excited to tell the story, it doesn’t matter where I am, what I’m wearing or what view I have. All that matters is that I can let that story flow quickly through me and out into the world. And if I lose my excitement for the story, no amount of rituals or special tools are going to coax it out of me onto the page. (Well, certain snacks might do the trick, especially a good lemon meringue pie)

When I finished writing The Twin Flame Reunion, I had no intention to plunge straight into the next book, because I usually allow a bit of time in between books. But the story had already begun taking shape in my head, and as it was the season of Nanowrimo, I felt excited to get the next instalment written. So I went for it. And my excitement for the story meant that I finished the novel in the shortest time it has ever taken me to write a book.

No sooner had I finished that one, did I want to write another. Suddenly, all I wanted to do was write. And not just in my usual genre for my established collection and series, but I also had ideas for trilogies and other series of books that I felt excited about. Writing and publishing only two books a year now feels like too little. I feel like I haven’t really pushed myself enough, that I’ve been slacking too often.

So don’t be surprised if you find that by the end of this year, I have written way more than that, because that is definitely my intention – whether I have a room of my own or not.

Searching for Clarity

Have you seen her?

Astrid

My plan for the first week of 2015 was to plan 2015. To figure out where I want to be, what I want to do and what my long-term goal for the year, and even for the next five years. But aside from writing my Love List, as inspired by Dr John Demartini’s Breakthrough Experience, I’m not much closer to having the clarity I am searching for.

One of the biggest things I have been working through over the last few weeks, is why I find it so difficult to plan. Why I am afraid of starting something now that will come to fruition in more than six months or a years’ time. Why all of my projects are very short-term, and why the idea of planning the next five years of my life is so terrifying to me.

I think that part of it is the fear of making the wrong choice, choosing the wrong path, and ending up where I don’t want to be. But a bigger part of it is that I have a fear of leaving things unfinished. If I can see the end of a project, and I can see fast progress, then I am more likely to stick with it and complete it. If progress in very incremental and slow, and the end is not in sight, I am likely to lose focus and abandon the project.

Looking back at the last few years in particular, I can see that there are things I could have done, that had I stuck with them, would have benefited me greatly by now. Like starting a savings account. If I had started saving when I started working, which was 16 years ago, then I would be in the position to be able to fund my life now. If I had started saving even four years ago for a campervan, then I would be in the position to buy one by now.

The only things I have worked on consistently over the last five years has been my books, and this blog. They started out small, and have grown gradually, and I am very glad that I have stuck with them. I started this blog in December 2010, and in 2011, I had a total of just 251 views for the whole year. Each year, my views grew in number, and last year I had 15,497 views. With my books, I started publishing in 2011, and have published two books a year, and now I have eight books in print, a growing fan base and my sales are steadily increasing.

So I know that deciding to do something, and then sticking to it, does really work. And obviously I will continue with my blog and with my books, but what else to choose?

For me to stick to something, it takes conscious daily effort, and numerous reminders posted everywhere, alarms set, etc. My short-term memory means that if there is no visible progress, I tend to lose focus and interest and get sidetracked onto other things. I have got my new planner, Astrid, and I will be blogging monthly on my progress of using a planner properly for the first time ever. I have also been on Pinterest, searching for downloadable and printable planners for different aspects. I found a great blogging planner, which I might have a look at, and I definitely need a financial planner of some kind.

Whatever I choose to do, I need to find a fun way to do it, and it needs to be in line with who I am, and what I love. Whenever I have tried to build businesses or do work that is not in line with my mission and my purpose, they haven’t worked because I could not put my heart and soul into doing them.

Because I know that deadlines work very well for me, I am going to set myself a deadline now – by the time I turn 31, which is in just under two weeks, I, Michelle Gordon, will have an actionable plan for 2015 and I will be taking the necessary steps to put it into action and to go for it.

I’m counting on you to hold me accountable!

What are your plans for 2015?

Nanowrimo Winner 2014!

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Was thrilled last night to reach 50,000 words and become a Nanowrimo winner! I decided to do a little video on my experience with Nano over the last five years since I first discovered it. You can watch the video below. High fives to everyone who took part this year, you are amazing!

Announcement! New book title unveiled!

I know that I haven’t yet published the latest book in the Earth Angel series – The Twin Flame Reunion, but I’m excited to announce the title of the next one in the series, that will be published in the new year. It will be called:

The Twin Flame Retreat.

I have written twenty thousand words of the book so far. It has a slightly different structure to The Twin Flame Reunion, and it follows different characters, so you get a different perspective on the story. I haven’t got a cover design yet, but I will post it here as soon as I do! I have created this quote photo using a quote from the brand new book, I hope you like it! As always, please feel free to share it!

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I better get back to my writing. You can pre-order The Twin Flame Reunion from Amazon now, and I will keep you updated on when the print version will be available.

Anyway, Angel

In preparation for creating the audiobook versions of the Visionary Collection, I was reading through Heaven dot com, and I realised that I hadn’t heard the song I mentioned in it – Anyway, Angel – for over ten years. The band who wrote the song, etcha, who are also mentioned in the book, was a band my brother played bass guitar in.

As a teenager I was basically their groupie, and I used to go to their practices and of course sit front row at all of their gigs, and even, on one occasion, sang the female parts of Pretty Fly for a White Guy on stage…

I have no idea why I am confessing these very embarrassing teenage stories here, I suppose I just started thinking about the times surrounding the writing of Heaven dot com. Part of me cannot believe it was fourteen years ago, and yet another part of me feels like it was a completely different lifetime.

The interesting thing is, that it was during my teenage years that I began channelling stories and poetry, even though at the time, I didn’t understand that was what I was doing. Years later I would find pages filled with words in my scrawl that I had no recollection of writing. I would find beginnings of stories I never finished and I would have no idea where the story had been heading or even what had inspired it. I also remember a story I started writing, that I think I may still have somewhere, about ghosts, and though I was doing well with it at first, I suddenly got a clear vision of how the story was going to end, and so I wrote the last chapter. What I learnt from that, is that I am very much a sequential writer – because though I loved the story, I had basically spoiled the ending for myself and now had no interest in writing the middle.

These days, if an idea for the ending comes up, I make notes, but I do not let myself write the ending, for fear that I will not write the middle. It has worked for me so far! It’s interesting how writing habits are developed, and the reasons why creative people do things in a certain way.

Enough reminiscing! If you want to hear the song, you can hear it below 🙂

Need Help with Self-Publishing?

the amethyst angel

For the last couple of years, I have been helping Indie Authors to publish their books. I have had clients in America, Australia, the UK and even the Middle East! In addition to assisting authors with each step of the process, I have created manuals and have held workshops to teach authors the process, so they can do it themselves. Though I have been doing these workshops in person, I have decided to offer them online too. So I am offering Skype sessions, during which I will go through the process in detail, and I will send the materials needed to complete each step. The sessions can be spread out over a few days, or even over a few weeks.

To book your sessions and choose your time slots, simply click here to pay via paypal then you will be taken to my online diary. If you wish to book one session to begin with, then book your next session afterwards, that’s great. If you want to book your sessions in advance, let me know, and I can arrange for a one-off paypal payment, (so you don’t have to pay for the sessions individually)

If you have any questions at all, please do email me at theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. I can usually go through the process of publishing print books in about 4-5 hours, and then ebooks would be 1-2 hours extra.