Suddenly, writing my first book is so exciting!

When I first got the idea for my book I was bouncing off the walls with joy!  

Then the work started and I realised there was more to this Book Writing Lark than I’d realised.  But now, I’m re-living that initial enthusiasm!  Suddenly, writing my first book is so exciting – again.

I recorded this audio a while ago. But I’m ready to share my excitement now! I think you’ll probably hear exactly how excited I am …


TRANSCRIPT – Slightly Edited

Hello! Claire Gillen here, my Lovelies.

I just wanted to do a little post about how I’m getting on with The Book.

This morning I woke up and took myself out of bed and straight to my desk. I was so excited about working on my book!

I thought it had been a few days since I’d last looked at it. Actually I think it’d been over a week and I suddenly got this urge to go back to it.

It’s so important I think to go with the flow of how you’re feeling – following your inspiration and enthusiasm.

Many people say the inspiration will come if you sit at your desk and just start working. That may be true as well – sometimes – but not all the time and everybody’s different.

Anyway, I was very, very eager and I almost ran to that desk chair! I started reading the outline that I’d already put in place and how I had started to relate it to The Hero’s Journey and this young boy, the story’s hero.

mystery boy in maskI’m going to try not to reveal his name because …I don’t know … there’s something about why I don’t want to give you his name just yet.

I can’t explain what it is. But I’m almost holding him close to my heart and, not protecting him, but just keeping him … sacred, I think is the word I want to use for now.

So I started looking at all that I’d written before and I was getting really excited! It’s all fleshing out. I can see each of the scenes, the boy’s progress, his adventures, his ups, his downs, all meshing together. It’s starting to seem like a ‘real’ story.

I also now have more of an idea of what bit to work on. And it can be any bit of the story. It can be any stage of the journey. I don’t need to work in order.

Because I’m using Scrivener that makes it all the easier (to work in this ‘out of order way’.)

If you haven’t heard of Scrivener, check it out. If you’re writing anything at all, Scrivener is a fabulous tool.  (The link takes you to a free trial – I’m not an affiliate – I just love Scrivener!)

So that’s it! I just wanted to say that I’m feeling really up, really excited and I think it’s all coming together.

There’s still a lot to do. It’s not the book I thought it was, as I think I’ve said before. But (I think) it’s going to be a fabulous book(!)

I’m enjoying it anyway. And I hope, because I’m enjoying writing it, that other people are going to enjoy reading it. And that makes me feel a little bit tearful – in a nice way!

So, lots of love to you all and I hope that whatever you’re doing is going beautifully as well.

And if it isn’t, Don’t Worry. It will all work out fabulously, I know that for sure. Because … everything always works out in the end.

So lots of love and I’ll do another little blog post soon and let you know how I’m getting on.

Okay. Thanks. Bye!




Posted in Book Writing Progress, Writing | 2 Comments

Shhh … Don’t tell them you’ve had a Blogging Gap – they might not notice

I admit it. I have had a Blogging Gap. I’ve got an hour and a half to write a blog post and post it. Do I edit one I’ve started, or start afresh?

Shhh Don't tell them you've had a Blogging GapI feel a sense of urgency because I haven’t posted on my blog for months. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone.

Yes, I’ve been busy writing my book but that’s no excuse. I have a whole hour and a half today free – I can do this.

I set myself a deadline that I would get a blog post out before another month rolled by. It is 31 August today. Tomorrow is September. Ahh …

Some writers and bloggers I follow have also not been posting lately. When I receive their apologetic emails I think:

“Don’t apologise!” You’re drawing it to my attention. If you’d said nothing I probably wouldn’t have realised you’ve been silent for three months!

And I’m not even following my own advice. I’ve put a big arrow and pointed it at my ‘blogging gap’.

So now, I’ve broken my duck (whatever that means) and I have posted something – YAY!

From here on in, I am drawing up a Blogging Schedule to keep myself on track.

Apparently, publishing at least two blog posts a week is what we should be aiming for.

Well, if that’s right, my posts will be getting shorter … (Maybe that’s a good thing?)

Like this one! But I’ve done what I set out to do and that is post something before September.

Gaps happen. We all have lives to lead. Blogging isn’t all we do. Especially if we earn our living in ways other than blogging.

So don’t apologise. ‘They’ probably won’t notice. Just get back on track. Which is what I’m doing.

Next post will have an audio too.

Happy writing, happy blogging and happy having fun to you all!

Posted in Blogging | 4 Comments

New: Audio Blog – hear my voice!


There was a time (long ago) when I couldn’t bear to hear a recording of my own voice – now I can’t wait to share with you!

There’s a fair bit of lip smacking but I hope you’ll forgive me for that. In time, I will learn to edit those out.

Oops, you’re probably going to be listening for them now.

The transcript follows below. It’s a little different from the audio because I’ve ruthlessly cut out ‘um’s & ah’s, repetition and other unnecessary fripperies.

But I’ve also added in some sentences with further thoughts or clarification – and links.

(Audio doesn’t do links – yet!)

Hello Lovelies

I’m recording this on a little digital voice recorder. I decided that I would start doing these audios, as well as the written blog post, in the same way that I used to do the weekly videos for my SoulCollage® readings.

So you can either listen to the audio (above), or read the post. Or both!

I think I’m going to enjoy this new thing – because I do like to chunter away to myself (hopefully, not totally just to myself!)

Book Progress Promise

What I wanted to mention today, to keep myself committed, or rather, held accountable, is to do more of what I said I would do – and don’t seem to have done very well yet.

And that is, to talk about The Book itself, that I’m writing, and exactly what it’s about.  Or at least give you some clues(!) or excerpts from it. I haven’t really made up my mind how to share it yet.

And I do want to share my progress – and process.

But as anyone who has ever written anything – and specifically fiction, for the first time, (unless you’re a Wizard!) … what I’m trying to say is, it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.  There is a lot more to it.

For one thing I’m changing my mind a lot.  I start off with one idea and then I may go down a totally different track.  I suppose sometimes that is okay – it may well be a better track than the original one.

frog panickingI’m (desperately?!) trying to keep up with The Story Grid podcasts with Tim Grahl and Shawn Coyne because I’m finding those very helpful.  But putting those learning points into practice is another matter.

I think I used the word ‘desperately’ because there is a lot to learn and I’ve missed some of the podcasts and am trying to catch up.

I do believe however that it is all falling into place and I will hear what I need to know, when I need to hear it.

Because that is what has been happening with the podcasts.  If I’ve been struggling with something or feeling a certain way about my book or my writing, you can bet your life it’ll be addressed in an upcoming podcast.

I almost cheered when Tim Grahl realised he had to scrap his first draft manuscript and start again from scratch (sorry!) – because I had to do that too.

It’s soothing to hear that I’m not the only one going through writing challenges. Not that I enjoy hearing of Tim Grahl’s writing trials and tribulations – but in a way, I do!  It’s a great story in itself really.

And thank you Tim for pretty much saying to Shawn “Stop! Don’t tell me what to do, tell me how to do it!”

I feel that way too.  I learn by doing it myself, not by being told or shown.  But the showing and telling(!) do have to come first.  After that, I take what I’ve learned and then I can get my own hands, and my own mind in there – and try it out for myself.  And, yes, learn from my mistakes.

earphones - sounds goodShawn is inspiring and helping me very much.  As the learning points sink in, I’m getting lots of ahas and ideas relating to the writing of my own story.  Listening to the podcast is very reassuring – and I look forward to it!

Because the good news is, I seem to be doing some things intuitively.  I’ll hear about something in a podcast episode that I should be implementing and I think ‘Oh, I’ve already done that.’ Or, ‘I’ve already taken that into consideration.’  Yay!

Yes, there is still a lot to learn (and, more to the point, implement). But as I said it’s all falling into place now.

I was so excited this morning. As I was looking at my outline and adding bits to it, I felt very positive.  I could see the story fleshing out and unfolding beautifully before me.

I dashed to my little talk box and recorded my excitement!

I’ll share that recording in my next blog post.  Partly because I don’t want to overload you, and partly because I want to save the material for another blog post!

Okay – back on track …

As I said, the Story Grid podcast is very, very informative and for anyone who is on this fiction writing journey for the first time, I would definitely recommend the Story Grid podcasts.

This post has turned out to be more about the Story Grid podcasts than anything else! Should be interesting when it comes to keyword-time.

So, just a very brief audio today.  Short and sweet. Lots of Love and speak to you soon!

Over and out.




Posted in Book Progress and Process | 2 Comments

Oh! My Book is about The Hero’s Journey!

What is The Hero’s Journey?

There are three main stages to The Hero’s Journey:
– departure
– initiation
– return.

Stop! It’s much easier to watch this short, animated video.  It explains it all, simply and beautifully.

My Hero’s Journey: writing my first book

The First Calls to Adventure – and Refusals

I wanted to be an author since I learned how to write.  My first stories however were not worshipped and revered, so I thought I probably wasn’t author material.

I started to keep a diary from age eleven. I still write almost daily in it, but now I call it my journal.

At school, in any free moment, I wrote diary-like entries in my Rough Book.

From the first time I ever held a pen, to over fifty years later, I’m still writing.

The Call to Adventure

The ‘I want to write a book’ idea did not go away completely. Year after year I contented myself with writing – just for me, in my journal.  It was my passion. It was enough.

Kind of.

It must be more than a decade ago that I heard the call again, this time more strongly. It’s true, big desires do not go away. They just get bigger.

I’d heard the call many years previously but did not answer it. I carried on writing in my journals and online. But I did not start writing The Book.

Mentors, Departure from the Ordinary World

Help and encouragement came in the form of: spiritual teachers such as Abraham-Hicks with their inspiring and life-transforming books and audios; like-minded LoA friends I met online and at workshops; and other friends and writing gurus who had already done what I wanted to do.

I followed The Creative Penn and Joanna Penn’s inspiring, writer’s journey for many years and I still do. As I followed her journey I thought:

“That’s what I want.”

Accepting the Challenge

Eventually, resistance was futile. I committed. I accepted the challenge. I decided to write – and publish – my first book.


The trials began. Some small, some bigger. I had to learn new things about my chosen challenge. I was moving into the world of writers and authors. I was moving into the world of Book Creators and StoryTellers.

Occasionally, I doubted myself, but mainly I remembered to soothe and encourage myself.

I learned to ease off the reigns, if the horse was careering downhill faster than I was ready to go.


I fully immersed myself in the act of Writing The Book. Finally I felt like I was a writer. And I was beginning to feel like an author too.

This is getting Real.

For me, The Approach part of the journey is about doing the work in order to actually become the author. It’s the act of seeking out, downloading and piecing it all together. Discovering the various aspects or components that make up my book.

Because without the Book, I won’t become the Author.

The Approach is a little scary sometimes.

Because I don’t just want to be an author. I want to write a great book. I want to write well.

It’s feeling risky. Can I really do it?



I want to learn how to self-publish smoothly and to market effectively. I’ve got all the relevant teachers, books and gurus lined up – but there’s still work to do!

“You love this.  Your work is your play.  Keep going.”

There are challenges and learning points all along the way. It can be overwhelming.

dancing skeleton

It’s a bit like piecing together the bones of a skeleton, so that you have something for the flesh (words) to hang on. A rather macabre image, but a pretty accurate one for me right now.


There’s lots of advice out there. No wonder I sometimes feel overwhelmed.

Despite all of that, I began to slowly morph my original story concept into a more detailed outline and then worked on the plot.

The Snowflake MethodMore Mentors

I followed Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method, with a degree of success. Through that I became a lot clearer about my plot.

I also got the book’s synopsis down to a few sentences – which I read appreciatively and thought “Hmm, I’d want to Look Inside.”

But even though I was pleased with the synopsis, there was a lot more of the skeleton to build.

So I did some more work, on my own, mapping out possible plot scenarios, dipping into more books for plotting advice, and sometimes adding to the feeling of overwhelm.

And More Mentors

I found Shawn Coyne’s book The Story Grid helpful. But I wasn’t sure that I’d quite grasped how to do the actual Gridding. Not in relation to my own book anyway.

gridThe Story Grid, I believed, was more of an editing tool. But I hadn’t even written the complete book yet, so how could I edit it!

Maybe I was jumping the gun? Or maybe I should try to implement the ‘Story Grid’ at the same time as I was writing?


I decided to go back and slowly re-read The Story Grid, taking notes as I went.

Time passed …

Helpful Videos and Podcasts

Then Shawn Coyne produced some Story Grid videos that explained the Story Grid process very clearly and succinctly. Better!  The information started to sink in.

Yes, the Story Grid is an editing tool. But if you know what the components of a good story are, then you can ensure your story includes those components – at the same time as you are creating the story.

A few months down the line, Tim Grahl and Shawn Coyne got together to produce a podcast: Tim Grahl is writing his first fiction book (he’s already written non-fiction) and Shawn, in his Expert Editor role, is assisting Tim with his story structure. A winning combo!

The podcasts are helping me to click everything into place. Eventually I may even fully understand how to use the Story Grid on my own story.

Okay, scrub that to “I will fully understand how to use the Story Grid on my own story.”

Biggest Enemies (dragons and goblins to slay)

My biggest enemies are my own fears and doubts. That’s it. Full stop. Period!

Thankfully I’m getting good at noticing the doubts, when they first start sidling their way in, hoping I won’t notice.  I’m getting better at easing those small, initial doubts before they grow.

If I jump on them fast, then the little doubts don’t have a chance to develop into larger fears.

Canva - well done ClaireBear!I don’t need to do battle with the doubts.  I just have to soothe them.

So I sweet-talk myself until they get bored, and then they simply go away and leave me alone.

I cheer-lead myself and create little images like this on

And I’ve stopped feeling self-conscious about doing things like that.  Whatever works, is fine by me.


I have not reached the ‘Crisis’ part of the Hero’s Journey yet. Maybe I can skip it. (Watch this space.) Repeat: Maybe I can skip it.

Yup – Even More Mentors

The Writer's JourneyIn one of Shawn and Tim’s podcasts they talked about The Hero’s Journey (documented by Joseph Campbell in his book ‘Hero with a Thousand Faces.’)

In particular Shawn spoke of a book by Christopher Vogler called The Writer’s Journey. I already knew a bit about the work of Joseph Campbell, not in huge detail. But to apply the Hero’s Journey to the Writer’s Journey? That sounded like my kind of book.

I ordered it.

The book arrived, and as I read about the various stages of the Hero’s Journey, a mental light bulb exploded –  Ka-BOOM!

“Oh!” I suddenly realised. “My book is about The Hero’s Journey!”

My fiction book, intuitively scribbled down, without me realising until now, was based on The Hero’s Journey.

Now, I had something I could work with!

My story had already taken on a form. It already had an outline and a ‘structure’,  one that is as old as time.

As I compared my book with the stages of the Hero’s Journey it fitted beautifully. It matched.

I could see how my protagonist was to progress: from leaving his ‘ordinary world’; entering the ‘special world’; going through his trials, challenges, and adventures; then finally, returning home to the ordinary world, forever changed (for the better.)

I already had my skeleton, my structure to hang my words on. It was there all along.

Actually, I think ‘It’ is there, all along, every time. It’s just that we can’t always see it right away.

Until we’re ready.

Or until we’ve stopped trying so hard to look for it.  Until we’ve stopped desperately trying to find it.

The Treasure

The Treasure is of course The Book and so much more, I’m sure of that. I’m looking forward to seeing how the treasures will unfold as my Hero’s Journey progresses.

(According to WordPress I’ve made 85 revisions to this blog post.  I think that is more than enough for today.  Time to hit Publish.)

The rest is still to come.  The completed book and the journey to it.


Where are you on your Hero’s Journey? 🙂

Is it a Writer’s Journey like mine, or something else?

Do you have a blog you’d like to share?  If so, please feel free to post the link below in the comments!

Posted in Book Writing Progress, Writing, WRITING tools & inspiration | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments