Tuesday, 4 March 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

Last week I received an invitation from the very talented Jane Wilby-Palmer, to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour.  You can check out Jane's blog post here.
After Jane's glowing introduction at the end of her post I have to say, I was feeling the pressure!  Looking back along the tour route I found an army of multi-talented authors and I was about to add myself to this very exclusive list *gulp*. 

So I decided to pull up my big girl pants and get stuck in...enjoy!

Q.  What am I working on?

Blimey, where do I begin?  I have multiple projects on the go and in true Gemini style, I flit between them depending on my mood and the moon cycle (!!)  I can jump between a non-fiction book about meditation to a YA fantasy, this can cause all kinds of problems when I end up with a demon or two in my meditation books.

My main project is a motivational non-fiction book which is at the publication stage *takes a deep breath*.  The title may give you a better idea on the topic - 'How I Changed My Life in a Year: One Woman's Mission to Lose Weight, Get Fit, Beat Her Demons, and Find Happiness in 12 Steps'.  I set myself one challenge for every week of the year, and blogged the results.  It was a fantastically busy year and the book follows my journey, from an alcohol free challenge to zip wiring through Nottingham Forest (no I was not wearing green tights!)

Staying with the non-fiction theme, I am also working on a couple of other titles in my Wellbeing Workshop Series.  I teach holistic personal development courses and meditation classes and last year I began turning these courses in to pocket guides for beginner's.  The first in the series (published October 2013) is Meditation: A Beginner's Guide.  My clients are busy women so my books are quick and easy reads without a hairy armpit or rope sandal in sight.

My guilty pleasure project is in the editing stages.  My first NaNoWriMo YA fantasy manuscript.  Guardians of the Dead is a story of secrets, friendships and self discovery and I have loved every moment of writing it.  My characters have become family and kept me on my toes over the past year.  I am an avid YA fantasy reader, so to write my own was a dream come true and I believe in this book so much that I'm planning book two as my 2014 NaNo project (eek).

Q.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My non-fiction work is motivational stuff and the self-help genre has exploded over the past few years.  I would have to compete with the likes of Deepak Chopra or Gabrielle Bernstein and as good as I am at visualisation and asking the universe for what I want, I'm not quite in Gabrielle's league - yet!

I am my own person and as such I write in a light hearted, conversational manner.  My books are based on real life events such as my year of challenges - that was a personal journey and therefore is nothing like anyone else's story.  I guess my work differs because there is only one me!  (phew, I hear you say)

The self-help aisle is full of spiritual books and how-to books and I've probably read most of them, but my books are purposely targeted at women who want to dip their toe in to spirituality or alternative therapies.  They want to know the best bits, the quick and easy fixes to fit in to busy lives but they don't need to know the difference between a chakra and a chorizo.

Q.  Why do I write what I do?

As I teach motivational workshops and run meditation classes as part of my day job, it was obvious that 'writing about what you know' wasn't just a wise ole cliché, it was fact.

I adore my job and when I started my own business it became my mission to help women feel better about themselves, to feel motivated, inspired and empowered.  So that's what I set out to do, using the skills I had at my disposal - which turned out to be healing hands and typing fingers.

Writing fantasy is for pure pleasure.  When I was trapped in a physically abusive marriage I used fantasy (books and TV shows - God bless Buffy) as an escape.  Smoking hot vampires held a special place in my heart long before they twinkled!

Q.  How does your writing process work?

Oh cripes!  Is there supposed to be a process?

My Guardians of the Dead YA novel started with a simple picture in a magazine, this then exploded in to scenes, plot twists and voices in my head which wouldn't let me sleep.

I opened up a blank word document and pre-plotted the entire story using Christopher Vogler's, 12 Point Plan.  Then on November 1st I started typing, and I typed like a woman possessed for two weeks until I hit over 50k, 'won' NaNoWriMo and had the first draft of a novel ready for tweaking.

I'm a closet control freak so outlining novels is as much fun for me as writing the actual book, yet I am still excited when my characters decide to change my plan and go off on their own.  I love the feeling of typing a scene you think you have sewn up, and then your main character steps off the page and tells you they want to do it differently. 

For my non-fiction books I break a topic down in to the who, what, when, where and how's to get the bare bones.  I then integrate any research, tweak and edit and run it by my clients to see if I've missed anything.

When I write depends on my diary.  I work full time, I run weekly and monthly classes and I'm a single mum to three children who have a better social life than me.  I write my blog weekly and have an unhealthy obsession with twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, my writing gets slotted in between.  It sounds ridiculous but it works for my Gemini brain.

There are pads and pens in every room in my house - you just never know when an idea may strike!

When I'm coming to the end of a project I set a weekend aside, turn off the phone and go for it.  I point out the white blob (oven) and the silver blob (dishwasher) to the kids and hope they don't burn the house down around me.

That's it, thanks for joining me on My Writing Process, I hope you've enjoyed a peek inside my writing world.  Feel free to follow me on twitter @ShelleyWilson72 or find me on Facebook.

I now have the great pleasure of introducing two incredible authors for the next leg of the My Writing Process blog tour.

Vanessa Wester is from one of my favourite parts of the world, the Isle of Wight and her blog is crammed to the rafters with information and interviews from the icons of the writing world.  It only seemed fitting that we found out more about Vanessa and her books too.  You can find Vanessa's blog here and you can follow her on twitter @vanessa_wester.

Our second author is Louise Gibney, a travel writer from Northamptonshire.  Find Louise's website and blog here.   Louise is a columnist for MK Pulse Magazine and a big fan of Elephants!  Follow Louise on twitter @MissWriteUK


  1. What a great post, Shelley. As a new writer I am grateful to writers such as yourself who allow me a peak into their writing process. I believe we have a tad bit in common (smile) so I found your post particularly inspiring. Thank you for sharing (and I just hit the Twitter follow button - smile). All the best,

    1. Hi Diane, thank you so much for your comment and the follow! Great to find a kindred spirit. I have followed you back and will be a regular reader of your blog too, can never get enough clarity and balance in life :-)

  2. I love your description of the stove and dishwasher. It was fun reading your process and meeting you. =)

    1. Thank you Patricia for your lovely comment and great to meet you too :-)

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