What does your writing process look like? Is there a specific schedule or certain habits that help you write?
I was able to feel the story flow through me like a movie, a series of images, much like a dream, connecting one to the other. As one of my good writer friends, Jane Tara, commented, it was like reading a vision or a visionary experience, as if I was channeling something. I would get up in the morning, watch the movie playing through in my head and listen to the voices and conversations and feel what they were feeling. Sometimes I would cry when I wrote and sometimes I would laugh. In some cases I would be taken back into the experience that I had so many years ago.
In some ways it was like composing a piece of music. There were many layers that I could “hear”. The percussion provided a beat that seemed constant and stable as I wrote. The strings provided the emotion, wafting in and out of the main melody. The brass provided the drama, punctuating the story with strong feeling. And the wind provided the melody and higher realms when I entered into some things that were a little otherworldly.
What has been the greatest challenge for you as a writer?
When I think about it, the biggest challenge has been distilling down the enormous number of ideas and stories I have into a coherent stream and developing a powerful pitch. So I wish I had thought about my pitch a little more clearly. I would advise anyone with lots of ideas to get 10 different writers or people that love reading to give you different perspectives on what you have written and summarize it for you and help you with your pitch. And get a good publicist! Tree District Books and my own publishers Balboa Press/Hay House have been most helpful.
You integrate many cultural and religious themes into your work. What is your approach when doing this?
I reach out to cultural and religious leaders like the Dalai Lama, for example, with whom I have a personal connection and speak to them on these themes to get direct guidance on how to incorporate these themes into a personal practice and into my writing.
Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to translate their own personal experiences into fiction or non-fiction pieces?
Have a really clear intention to begin with. If you are telling a personal story make sure you do that and really live it through the book. If you are writing non-fiction, research it really well, live the subject so you eat, sleep, and dream it. If you are writing fiction, live in your characters skin so your readers really live the characters with you.
Then when you market the book, bring a message of love. Reach out to help people, whether it is through your humor, your suspense, your information or your stories of love. Keep your focus as you are writing the book. Set aside a time and place that is just for writing. When you write, write, don’t have any distractions, let your family know, make it a sacred time and go deep within when you write. Make writing your passion. If it is the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning then that is writing calling you.
Write write write every day, practice practice practice.
"Write write write every day, practice practice practice."
What projects are you currently promoting and/or working on?
Enlightened World, an online television network with VoiceAmerica and RHGTV. Enlightened World came about through my meetings with Dr. Ruth Anderson. When I met Ruth, the founder of the Enlightened World Network, I felt touched by a kindred spirit and divine healer. She also works with the Divine Mother and the Archangels in a way that resonates with my approach and the way I work with people.
I was struck by how Ruth also wants to bring about positive change to everyone on the planet. She is creating a network, platform, and a voice for lightworkers everywhere to support–and be supported by–a global spiritual awakening. What could be more compelling or more needed at this time?
We connected, and now I’m so excited to be in charge of five new programming channels that bring fun, beauty, healing, love, wisdom, compassion, awakening, and transformation to people everywhere. These channels relate directly to my book Diary of a Yogi which is about awakening and transformation and the healing that happens when we open our hearts to the fun, beauty and love all around us.
I also feel blessed to share the revelations and transformations that each one of us can experience through the channel called Diary of a Yogi. This is something that draws on my book.
Where can we find more about you and your work?
Author of "Diary of a Yogi: A Book of Awakening"
Website: Diary of a Yogi
Facebook: Stephen Altair
Blog: Altair Shyam
Television: Enlightened World
Joshua Gillingham is a Canadian author from Nanaimo, BC. He writes Norse fantasy, Celtic songs, and non-fiction essays about writing craft.