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Skunk works and visions

Skunk works and visions

About eighteen months ago I started writing a series of episodes for a science fiction website that I started. Over time this grew into a manuscript of 106,000 words and this week a lot of the final pieces of publishing my first novel finally fell into place.

For a start I purchased a block of ISBN numbers. These numbers are used to uniquely identify each version of a book (eg. ebook, paper back) for libraries, shops etc. It was a great feeling buying the “codes” that my own book will be designated by.

Just yesterday, I commissioned an artist to do the front cover…’ve got to have a decent looking cover as many people will judge the book by it. So where did I find the artist? I perused thousands of illustrations from artists all over the world at (it’s a great site). I then narrowed down the selection to about five artists I thought best represented what I was after. Of the five artists, three responded and I interviewed each from there.

This Sunday evening I’m having a group of beta-readers provide their feedback on draft five of the manuscript. It’s the final feedback prior to me doing any minor clean-ups and fixing some grammatical errors that may have slipped through. It will probably be around two weeks work… not too long!

So in about four weeks I should have my first science fiction novel in print and e-published (fingers crossed with all the rush up to Christmas). It all started with a vision of writing a book.

Like anything worthwhile, it takes a lot of effort but it’s the vision that empowers you to move forward. I had some really difficult times in this journey and some rather severe critics of a partially completed work…..the vision helped me to move through these obstacles.

Over the years I've seen too many people coasting through life without any clear sense of what they're trying to achieve. I do think that it's important for there to be seasons in your life that are like this....but I wouldn't recommend making it a habit. Before long, you're old and full of regret.

When I was a teenager my grandmother said to me, "Michael, you only get old when you think you are." She had a zest and zeal for life which inspires me to this day. In her late sixties she and my grandfather went on an adventure that involved criss-crossing Africa and even traversed the Sahara desert in the height of summer! WOW!

As well as a vision I find that it’s personally important for me to develop another creative outlet that's not directly related to any of my businesses. This time, it was writing a book. I like to think of it as my skunk works project that just refreshes and energises me in everything else that I do…..besides, you just never know where these projects will lead you.

So I have two questions for you?
1.    What is your vision?
2.    What is your skunk works project?

Having a vision is like oxygen and when the vision is a passion that is a bit out of left field then all the better. You see, I can have a vision for a business that I have no interest in whatsoever. It will help move the business forward and help me through adversity but it really isn’t going to get me excited.

Now having a vision for a passion…..that’s another story! You get fired up and look forward to spending those few moments where you can do what it is that gets you excited about life. So my suggestion is….stop reading this and go and do something you’ve always wanted to.

Have a great weekend!


Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.
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Sunday, 24 October 2021
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