Tarot for Writers: What Does it Mean to Journal on a Tarot Card?

I talk a lot about Tarot. And one of my favorite practices is to tell people to journal. The combination of that often results in telling people to journal on a Tarot card.

What does that mean?

The Importance of Journaling

There are many gurus, teachers, therapists, and writers out there who will tell you that journaling is essential and important to keeping a healthy mind. Yet it’s easy to get hung up on what that means.

For many of us, when we were in school, we would be given writing prompts to get us to think about what we had learned. “What was the significance of living eternally in Tuck Everlasting?” “Would you want to live forever? Why or why not?”

I used to hate them. Truly.

Now I love them. I love the idea of delving into what I think about something. This is essentially what journal prompts serve to do. They invite a person to collect their thoughts and put them onto paper, or into audio.

The Benefits of Journaling

One way that journaling is effective is that it’s like putting your thoughts into a funnel. You have everything floating around in your head, but as soon as you have to put them into words, your brain has to organize them. It’s like untangling a knot into something manageable.

While this is an excellent reason to journal, the best understanding of the importance and therapeutic method of journaling has come from Julia Cameron in her book, The Right to Write.

She writes that journaling is allowing you the space to witness yourself. Often times we need to be witnessed, but so much of what we feel or what we think is shrouded in fear or shame. We’re afraid of what people will think of us if they knew we had x thought, or y belief, or felt a particular way.

When we journal, we are giving ourselves space to express what’s inside of us, and we are bearing our own witness.

I think this is truly beautiful, and essential for everyone to experience.

Journaling on a Tarot Card

So what does it mean to journal on a Tarot card?

This is a great practice when you’re learning to do Tarot or to read an oracle deck, and there are many ways to do this. There is no one right way. However, here are some offerings.

Note: I should mention, these are exercises designed mostly for Rider-Waite-Colman-Smith- and/or Thoth-based decks. While some of these exercises can be used for Tarot de Marseille decks, they don’t translate as easily. Oracle decks can also be used in this manner as well.

1. Describe What You See

Even if you know all the card meanings, describing what you see in a card can help you get to what you need to know about a card. It shows you what’s catching your eye first. Pay attention to that, and examine what that image, color, number, symbol, glyph, etc. might mean to you.

When you write this out, or record it out loud, you’re giving yourself the space to explore a card beyond the keyword meanings you might have memorized.

If you’re new to getting to know the Tarot, this is an opportunity for you to discover more about the picture in front of you.

2. Describe What You Feel

Writing the emotions or thoughts that come up immediately when you look at a card can help you get to the heart and energy behind a card. If you flip over the 3 of Cups and you feel panicked, then there’s a chance that you should pay attention to how you feel about social situations. If you turn over the 10 of Swords and feel relieved, then the chances are you should examine how you can move out of your particular situation and go toward that new dawn on the horizon.

Write out how you feel, and then ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Ask yourself “why?” several times, or “what can I learn from this?” several times before you move on. This is how you get in deep to your psyche.

3. Define the Card

Write out your definition of the card. If you know the card, or even if you don’t know the card, write out what it means to you. What is the image telling you? What story can you get from the picture in front of you?

Now, how does that story or definition relate to the position of the card, and to your life right now? Write it all out. Allow yourself to organize your thoughts in this way, and see what unfolds before you.

Ways to Journal

There is no right way to journal. Whether you’re doing it for a writing project, for school, or to get to know the tarot, there is no one way that is correct. What is correct is what works for you and serves you the best.

There are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t judge yourself for what you express through journaling. You are making space for yourself. You are allowing yourself a safe place to explore and examine ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Don’t think too hard. Try to let it flow
  • Have compassion for yourself.

Here are some ways to journal

Longhand

While of course you can type out your journal entries, writing by hand, or by some measure other than pressing buttons, helps you to connect better with your thoughts and with the exercise.

When you write longhand, you can write your journal entry like you’re talking to someone, in pros, in poem form, however you want so long as the pen is moving or the voice keeps speaking, until you’re done.

Audio

Personally, I suffer from a hand injury a few years ago. When I write too much, my wrist and hand ache and it’s useless for a while. This is just one reason why someone might not be able to, or might not want to journal by hand.

Creating an audio recording is a helpful way to get around this. So long as you can find a space to yourself and can access some form of recording perhaps on your phone, on your computer, or into an old Home Alone Voice Recorder, then you’re good.

I do want to note that while yes, you can absolutely dictate your journaling to the computer, I wouldn’t recommend dictation as your writing practice. The reason I say this is that when you dictate, you need to tell the computer or dictation software to put in commas, periods, line breaks, etc. This can interrupt the flow of thought, and might create a barrier to achieve what you’re looking to achieve through your journaling.

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a combination of art and journaling. It allows you to think and mull and gnaw on your thoughts while you doodle and color, and then bullet point your key thoughts.

Furthermore, not everyone can express themselves fully through writing. Words aren’t their medium, and there is nothing wrong with that. Using bullet journaling allows for the journaler to use color, lines, and images to give a broader range of expression.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what any of the images mean to anyone else, only the person expressing themselves. The journal is for you and only you.

Combining Tarot & Journaling

It’s no secret that I see the Tarot as an excellent tool for writers. Learning to journal on a Tarot card is a great way to help a writer sink into the scene in a card and use it to help them write their story.

For example, a two-card reading process I like to use is Situation & Problem. The first card acts as the situation I’m starting from, then the card that crosses it is the Problem. From there, I begin writing.

If I turn over the 5 of Wands, then my situation could be competition. If my second card is the Lovers, then the Problem is either a choice that has to be made, or perhaps a competing love interest, depending on where I want to go with this this card.

When I journal on the situation, and what the card looks like, the colors expressed, what the images mean to me, I’m starting my brain along the path of how I could apply this to a story. This is my jumping off point for my story, whether it’s a piece of flash fiction, a novel, or a short story.

Likewise, when I begin to journal on the Lovers and what it means to me or how I might apply it in terms of the first card, then I’m beginning to develop a plot. I’m exploring how what I know, what I feel, what I see in this prompt can be the thing to interrupt the first card.

This is just one way out of hundreds that I can benefit from journaling around or about a Tarot card.

Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook

If you want to take a truly deep dive into your writing practice and discover more about yourself as a writer, I have something just for you:

The Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook

This workbook has over 65 pages of journaling exercises to help you plunge into the depths of what makes you, you, of what your writing habits are, what is supporting you, and what is holding you back.

Through using the classic Celtic Cross Tarot spread, I walk you through

  • Getting real with your current situation
  • Begin looking at your writing life through the lens of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
  • What’s getting in your way
  • Uncovering your biases that might be holding you back
  • Looking at what’s supporting or hindering you internally and externally
  • How to develop your actionable steps to make necessary changes
  • And more

The best part about this workbook? It’s completely free.

Fill out the form below to get your workbook and begin learning how Tarot and your journaling practice can serve you as a writer!

September Natural Writer Journaling Prompts

After an impossibly long 9 months of 2020, September is finally here. And with September comes #NaturalWriterJournaling prompts.

As promised in my introduction post, I have 30 single-word journaling prompts for you, one for each day of the month. I want to challenge you each day to crack into a word, and look at it from every perspective. As a result, I have the following questions/prompts to spark your thinking with each of the daily words:

  1. Define the word in your own terms
  2. Generate as many synonyms as possible surrounding this word.
    Feel free to expand your definition based on the words you generate.
  3. How is this word used culturally vs. socially?
    For example, the word “man” literally means an individual identifying as a grown male. However, culturally we use the term “man” to mean “mankind/evolved humans.” Socially we might mean it be “the man” as in those in control of the system, or “man” as a casual generic term of direction at the start of a sentence, usually to make a point of notation. For example, “Man, the band last night was amazing!” Similarly used as “dude,” “oh boy,” “Oh my god,” etc.
  4. What are the historical uses of the word?
    There are so many examples of words changing definition over time—most recently, the word “literally” which now is also known to mean “figuratively” (ironically).
  5. How do you feel about this word/how does this word influence you?
    That is, what emotions or memories does this word bring up for you?
  6. How can it be used spiritually and/or metaphorically?
    I say “spiritually” to mean that which applies to the non-physical and outside general daily conceptual use.
  7. What are the creative different ways this word can be used?
  8. If you feel inspired, use this word as a creative writing prompt.

Have fun with these words and get creative! We are wordsmiths! Words and their definitions are what we use to build worlds, break hearts, and restore harmony.

Here are the 30 words of September:

1. Light bulb11. Power21. Diamond
2. Peanut12. Branch22. Dark
3. Integrity13. Coin23. Prolific
4. Word14. Elastic24. Green
5. Spark15. Survival25. Azure
6. Freedom16. Red26. Feel
7. Time17. Justice27. Loyal
8. Unit18. Rising28. Art
9. Heart19. Dependent29. Gate-Keeper
10. Ice20. Grow30. Belonging

While you go through these words, don’t be afraid to break out a dictionary (or several! Look at the difference between British dictionaries and American dictionaries), rhyming dictionaries, and thesauruses (I do strongly recommend WordHippo, which can be fun to play around with). Sometimes finding words that are similar to other words can help you to create a deeper understanding of it.

The key take-away? Have fun! Play with these words, and also, see what it unlocks within you.

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram: @NaturalWriterCoaching for daily posts with the 1-words prompts and reminders of the journaling questions.

Happy writing!

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September 2020 Journal Prompts Announcement

Journaling is an important part of the writing process. It’s how we empty our minds of what might be distracting us, and how we work through our blocks. It can also act as a way for us to generate ideas and work through them for new projects.

For September, I have created a daily writing prompt list for your journal. Each day there will be a different word for you to mull over and write about. However, this is more than just looking at this as a writing prompt.

Words are what we use. They are our medium. They are how we build words, create characters, project emotion into the reader. Words are what create and destroy projects, people, and civilizations. Words are powerful. We wield a mighty sword.

Thus, I want to bring forward some words each day to contemplate. Some are mundane and some might be obviously powerful. But all of them will have positive and negative sides. For these words, I’m also providing a set of questions for you to journal on revolving around the word. The questions won’t change, but are a challenge to really crack open the word and dig deep into it.

I want to really get your thoughts going regarding each daily word. So there will be a few questions to get your mind going.

  1. Define the word in your own terms
  2. Generate as many synonyms as possible surrounding this word.
    Feel free to expand your definition based on the words you generate.
  3. How is this word used culturally vs. socially?
    For example, the word “man” literally means an individual identifying as a grown male. However, culturally we use the term “man” to mean “mankind/evolved humans.” Socially we might mean it be “the man” as in those in control of the system, or “man” as a casual generic term of direction at the start of a sentence, usually to make a point of notation. For example, “Man, the band last night was amazing!” Similarly used as “dude,” “oh boy,” “Oh my god,” etc.
  4. What are the historical uses of the word?
    For example, historically “making love” would mean to say sweet things to another, in a form of showing love. Today, it’s a lighter, sweeter term of an emotionally-entangled sex.
  5. How do you feel about this word?
    That is, what emotions or memories does this word bring up for you?
  6. How can it be used spiritually and/or metaphorically?
    I say “spiritually” to mean that which applies to the non-physical and outside general daily conceptual use.
  7. What are the creative different ways this word can be used?
    There is a wonderful Bad Lip Reading video called “SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)” of Yoda and Luke Skywalker, where Yoda is singing about being attacked by Seagulls (look it up, it is hilarious). One of the lines is “One day I was walking, and I found this big log. Then I rolled the log over and underneath was a tiny little stick. And I was like ‘that log had a child!’”
  8. If you feel inspired, use this word as a creative writing prompt.

Of course, you don’t have to answer all of these questions. However, the idea is that it generates you to think about these words differently and use them as an anchor of personal development, of diving deep into the self, as well as getting creative with how we use language in our writing.

The words will be posted each day on my Instagram Account, @NaturalWriterCoaching, and I’ll post the full chart with the month’s words on here as well. This is 30 days’ worth of journaling for you. I’m excited. I hope you are too!

Happy Writing!

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Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

Finding Your Steam: Writing Alchemy as an Act of Self-Love

What is writing?

There are so many ways to answer this question. That’s probably because there are so many ways to write, ranging from creative non-fiction to technical writing that reads like stereo instructions (is it me, or have stereo instructions actually gotten easier to read over the decades?).

However, for me, it’s a way to get in touch with water.

What the hell does that mean?

Okay, so I have a focus and love of Tarot. I’ve been a writer longer than I’ve been a tarot reader, but I’ve still been a Tarot reader for nearly half of my entire life, so at this point, I think with a slightly more esoteric twist.

In the Tarot, there are four suits that represent four elements: earth, air, fire and water.

To me, writing is a culmination of fire and water.

What?

I’ll back up.

Writing Water

Water is represented by the suit of cups in the tarot, and within the individual, it represents love, emotion, intuition, the subconscious and creativity.

When I write, I feel as though I’m diving into my imagination, swimming in my subconscious, and picking out ideas to bring to the surface. It’s a form of therapy. Why do you think so many writers put themselves into their writing? They’re understanding themselves.

I am plunging the chalice into my wells and pulling out the water from within. Writing, for me, is an act of self-love.

But self-love is hard for a lot of people. There is a lot of negativity in the world that helps people find a way to find flaws within themselves. Sometimes those flaws can be overwhelming, so much so that we forget that we have some amazing and beautiful qualities. As a result, that well of creativity gets covered, and it takes us a while to find it again and figure out how to remove the cover.

Writing Fire

I mentioned earlier that writing was a culmination of water and fire. That sounds very contradictory, but that’s also alchemy, baby.

Let’s start off easy: what is fire a representation of?

Fire is passion. It is the spark that ignites us and inspires us. It’s the yearning that burns within us to complete and achieve. It’s our get-up-and-go.

When you have a story idea that you get excited about, that’s fire energy at work. It is what springs you to life and says, “heck yes I’m going to write an epic space opera in one night!”

Fire can get out of control sometimes, which is why it is so important for water to be present.

Fire and Water

You have to find the balance between fire and water when you’re working on something as enriching as art. If you have too much fire, it can rage out of control and you can burn yourself out. But if you don’t have enough fire, or you have too much water, then the spark only weakly ignites, at best, before going out.

What happened when we, as a human species, got the right amount of fire and water? Steam punk! Okay, not quite steam punk, but steam engines. Those allowed us to have machinery which enhanced our farming, gravel, and transportation of goods.

You need to develop your own steam engine within you. You need to balance your passion and creativity.

How to Find Your Steam

I’m going to give you a somewhat of a cop-out answer to this: know yourself. When you know yourself, then you know your limits, you know what makes you light up, and you know what suffocates your flame. You know what’s boarding up your well.

Here are some methods I have found helpful to get to know myself. They are not universal, they will not work for everyone, but I implore you to try them. And if you have, or if you have other methods, share them in the comments below to help us all learn.

1.
Daily Journaling

Most writers do practice daily journaling anyway, but when you focus on yourself there is a lot to be learned. As you write, you feel more and more comfortable peeling the way layers of yourself. This is why I often provide journaling questions.

If you don’t journal, or if you do but you don’t really delve into yourself, start by asking yourself these questions each day, and trying to spend at least 5 minutes of continuous writing on them.

  1. What is my ultimate goal within myself this year?
  2. What do I need to accomplish within myself to achieve this goal?
  3. What is holding me back?
  4. How do I feel about this?
  5. What can I do about what’s holding me back?

A Note on Goals Within the Self

In this context, the above questions are more geared toward goal-setting. However, I would like to make this distinction: when we’re talking about goals within the self, we aren’t talking about career goals, writing goals, family goals, or anything external. What we’re talking about is internal goals such as being more forgiving, being kinder to yourself, self-love, trusting yourself, being more decisive, creating barriers, being more honest with yourself or with others, etc.

Think of your goal for the year as your character arch that you want to work toward.

2.
Practicing Stillness

Stillness means different things to different people. For some it’s meditation, for others it’s mindfulness.

The benefits of stillness is that it’s a practice to center your mind on the moment, on a single thing, or, when you get really good at it, on nothingness.

This can help to reduce anxiety, and when anxiety is reduced, clarity of mind emerges, and there are a various number of physiological responses to anxiety that subside.

Challenging yourself to spend one minute in stillness a day for a month can help you mellow out your fire so you don’t burn out. As you get better at it and more comfortable, you can increase the time you spend in stillness, which will help you to better hear your intuition and sense where your well is to draw from.

How to Practice Stillness

I want to offer some basic tips on how to practice stillness just to get you going if you’re new to this. Because you’re only starting out for one minute, you can literally do this anywhere: in the car before you go into work, or in your car after work, in the bathroom (preferably for privacy, not for multitasking), when you wake up and are laying in bed, before you go to sleep (actually, I find it helps me go to sleep), and so on.

Here are a couple of ways to start:

1. Focus on the Breath

You can start by just paying attention to your breathing. It’s helpful if you get a count going on. Personally, I like to breath in to the count of four, hold on for the count of four, exhale for the count of four, pause to the count of four, then repeat.

As you get better at it, you can extend your exhale to the count of eight to make sure all your air is expelled from your lungs. I find that when I draw in air, I do so much deeper than when I exhale. By counting to eight on the exhale, I’m getting rid of everything I drew in.

2. Ocean Waves

An extension of focusing on the breath is to imagine that your breathing is mimicking ocean waves. Sometimes the counting gets to me, but I have a love of the water (and this helps us to connect with the water of our inner wells). Thus, imagining inhaling being the gathering of the wave and my exhale as the crashing of the wave brings to mind a peaceful scene that I can focus on.

If you’re sometime who is easily distracted by sounds, this can be a good way to try to block sound out by focusing on the sound of your breathing.

3. Visualizing

There are several ways of doing this, so find something that works well for you. I personally have a couple of methods that I alternate between depending on my mood.

i. White Light

Visualize a ball of white light over your head. With each breath you take, it grows brighter and brighter. Now, lower the ball over your body, letting it touch every part of you. Wherever the light goes, you relax.

Let the ball cover you from head to toe, imagining it just below your feet when it’s finished. Breathe into it again, seeing it get brighter with each breath.

Now, bring it back up your body, repeating the process until it’s over your head again, letting its light relax your body. Once it’s above your head, hold it there for as long as you’re comfortable.

ii. Roots

Visualizing roots growing into the ground is an excellent way to still yourself. I find this is especially effective if I’m getting anxious. It’s a way of getting myself out of my head and planting myself to the spot, or grounding.

This visualization is very simple, and when you get good at it, you can do it while you’re walking. Simply visualize roots extending from the souls of your feet into the earth. See the roots wrap around rocks, dip into underground pools of water, and extend into the pit of the earth.

You are steady, connected, and the energy of the earth’s core is feeding you and energizing you.

iii. Beam of Light

Similar to visualizing roots, you visualize a beam of light coming from above and entering you through the top of your head. It comes down through your core, through your heart, and down into the soles of your feet.

Some might define this as divine light, universal energy, source, or simply just energy. Whatever you’re most comfortable with. Focusing and visualizing on this light can help you tune your mind to one thing and stay with it as long as you need.

iv. A Combination

During my daily stillness practice, I use a combination of all of these techniques. I visualize the white light relaxing my body, the beam of light coming down and joining with the sphere before moving down through my chakras and into the soles of my feet, where it extends into roots in the ground.

3.
Knowing Your Body

Knowing your body means not forgetting about your body.

We aren’t just our minds, our passions, or our creativity. We are physical beings making our way through a physical world. However, we are heavily influenced by our minds and our emotions. We are a connection of mind, body, and spirit.

In the Western World, it’s accepted that our minds reside in our brains. There are some traditions around the world which believe the mind resides elsewhere, such as the heart or the liver. What can be agreed upon is that the mind resides somewhere in the body. The body is the vehicle which must keep healthy in order for the mind to function optimally.

Thus, knowing your body can help your mind and your emotions, and thus help your creativity and drive.

For me, I know that when I’m starting to delve into a funk, it’s likely that I’m not physically moving enough, or that I’m vitamin deficient, or dehydrated. Thus, my daily practice includes not only walking the dogs, but dancing for at least ten minutes, doing some form of exercise for at least thirty minutes (yoga, walking, stretching—anything as long as it’s movement beyond sitting), and taking vitamins and supplements.

I am by no means saying this is what you should do. I am not a licensed medical professional. I’m saying this is what I do that works for me. Just because it works for me doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Thus, you need to know your body. You need to know what foods your body responds well to. You need to know how much water you need in a day for your brain to work optimally. You need to know where the line is that defines too much sleep or not enough sleep. You need to know what movement makes you feel good and lights you up.

Dr. Andrew Weil suggests keeping a notebook with you to track every feeling in your body all day, from the unknown ache to the slight cough. This will help you understand what’s normal for your body, and how your body reacts to certain things.

Water is a huge part of our bodies, and it’s no wonder that a hydrated being can help one to be more connected to the element of water.

If you take only one thing away from this post, let it be to drink water. Lots of it throughout the day.

4.
Write

One of the best ways to know where your steam comes from is to write. While you’re writing, pay attention to how you feel. What is making you feel excited? What’s making you feel burnt out? What is draining you and making you feel like writing is a chore rather than a joy?

When you pay attention to these things, then you can see what may need adjusting, and thus you can try and find the happy medium to create your steam.

Your Homework

Of course, your homework is to try all of this out. See what works for you. Spend at least a month with any or all of these practices.

However, I have a few journal prompts for you in the meantime.

Thoth tarot: Art
  1. What does Water mean to you? Literally, spiritually, creatively, symbolically? Why? Spend some time really delving into what water is, and riff on anything related. What about analogies to wells, oceans, rivers, lakes, cups, chalices, rain, storms, etc.? How does this increase your understanding of water? How does this understanding influence you?
  2. What does Fire mean to you? Literally, spiritually, creatively, symbolically? Why?
    Spend some time delving into what fire is, and riff on anything related. What about analogies to sparks, inspiration, fire, man, infernos, forest fires, kitchen stoves, wood fires, heat, warmth, lava, burning, passion, etc.? How does this increase your understanding of fire? How does this understanding influence you?
  3. What is a balance of fire and water to you? Within you? Outside of you? What can you do to work toward this balance?
  4. How do you feel applying this concept to your writing? To your writing practice? How has it affected, if at all, your understanding toward your relationship with writing?

Finally, I implore you to look into the tarot card, Temperance. She is often depicted as mixing from two jugs or cups. Spend some time researching what she represents, what the card means, and from many stand points.

I am by no means saying you need to believe in the tarot or even incorporate it into your life. However, it is an art form, and each card provides insight to certain aspects of life. Temperance, along with the Queen of Wands and the Knight of Cups are examples of fire and water coming together, the latter two might represent imbalances between the two elements in some instances.

If you want to delve further into the tarot to better understand the elements, I suggest looking into the Ace of Cups and the Ace of Wands, The High Priestess and the Magician.

Here are a list of resources to get you started:

How does this card represent the balance of creativity and passion to you? Does it at all?

Happy Writing

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December 17 Journal Prompt: Your Own Personal Mary Sue

Who Is Your Perfect Person?

We’re going to play around a little bit with character traits here. I want you to think about your ideal person, and think about what makes them perfect.

Thinking about a perfect person might sound count productive. After all, wouldn’t that essentially be creating a Mary Sue?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, a Mary Sue is someone who has almost no character flaws, or the flaws they do have are too much goodness. Superman is a great example, in my eyes anyway.

The reason we don’t want to write this type of character is because we need our characters to struggle. When they struggle to overcome an obstacle, especially one that’s a character flaw, then they’re relatable and the character also grows.

In creating a perfect character or person, you can use this as an exercise to discover creative ways to bring that character down. How would you make this perfect, flawless character struggle?

However, we are also going to use this as a personal exploration. There is a lot you can discover about yourself when you consider the characters you develop.

Journal Prompt

Step 1

Create a perfect character. Free write what you think this person would look like, sound like, act like. What would they spiritually be into? What activities would they enjoy? Why? What good would they do for the world?

I strongly encourage you to complete this exercise before moving on or even reading the next part of the exercise.

Step 2

The interesting thing about this journal prompt is that you’re likely going to be putting your own ideals into this character. This offers you the opportunity to develop and explore what you value.

After you’ve created your character, ask yourself what it is you’ve included that are something you personally hope to aspire to, or that inspires you?

If you’re not actively a working toward these characteristics, why? What’s stopping you? Spend some time free writing and considering what it is that you want to include in your life going forward, and what you want to include in your goals for the next decade.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

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December 15 Journal Prompt: Who’s Awesome?

The first part of the month was focusing on getting to know yourself. The last part of the month was getting ready by setting some goals. Now we’re going to look at how to generate ideas for writing.

Today is going to consider things in your own life that might work toward building your characters. You do need to make sure you do today’s journal prompt because the next few will stem from this one.

Journal Prompt

Who, in person or otherwise, inspires you?
Why?

This questions is important because you can examine the characteristics you find appealing. Likewise, you can take some time to research the person (if it’s someone famous and you don’t already know much about them), and look into the complexity of their character. You can pick apart what their flaws are and see how they contribute to the inspiring aspect of this person.

For example, I used to know a woman who suffered from extreme anxiety. She was a single mother, and she knew some intense hardship in her life, most of which all happened at once. But despite everything, she managed to create her own business and make a living off it enough that she was able to support her and her son, lease her own car, and have luxuries she couldn’t afford when I first met her. And her business had to do with her art. Then one day she saw something she didn’t think was right, something she thought the city should be doing something about. When she couldn’t find a solution, she went back to school so she could prevent it from happening again. She’s one of the strongest, most amazing people I know.

There are so many traits about her that I could use in my writing to make an inspiring character, or a redeeming character.

Likewise, I absolutely adore Jim Morrison from the Doors. Love their music, love his poetry, and I think he’s a fascinating individual. He had a lot of problems, which makes him all the more interesting to me. There are aspects of him that I could combine with my first example and make a very interesting and complex character.

So today’s journal prompt is to think about an inspirational person you know, even better if it’s two of them, and to list every characteristic of them you know about them.

If you have more than one character, then your next task, or bonus task, is to see how you can combine the characteristics you’ve listed into one person.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 14 Journal Prompt: Know Your Steps

What steps are you going to take toward achieving these goals?

You now have at least some of your goals for the upcoming New Year, with all the steps we’ve taken. You have done some work regarding your fears and how those might influence your success and your goals.

Now we’re going to look at the little tiny steps you can take to achieve your goals.

For some people, making goals for the New Year, or in life, can feel overwhelming. A project might seem HUGE. But when you break it down into smaller bite-sized pieces, it’s not that bad.

A Quick Personal Story

I went back to school nearly 10 years after I graduated from high school. I enrolled in the local community college and set myself the goal of just passing my classes. When I realized I could do that, I jumped and set myself the goal of straight A’s. All the time.

No pressure or anything.

Except it was ALL THE PRESSURE. I did it to myself.

When midterms and finals came around, I was a mess. I was working two jobs while taking four classes (with the way my college was, more than three classes at a time really wasn’t recommended because of their work load), plus an additional pilot program I was helping to design.

I was freaking out a bit.

But when I was swamped with everything, knew that I had school stuff, work stuff, as well as general existing stuff like laundry, grocery shopping, eating, and this weird thing called sleeping, I started making lists.

When I organized my jobs that I needed to get done on a list, and then approximated how much time I thought each thing was going to take, none of it seemed impossible. In fact, it all looked very possible.

I began delegating certain tasks to different days, and I was suddenly able to manage my time that much better. For the projects that were bigger like completing a report on the pilot mentorship project, I broke that down into smaller pieces. Suddenly finding five suitable research papers as my goal for one day was far less daunting than “work on research project.” I had a specific smaller goal to achieve that was manageable.

The Point

The idea is that when you break down your goals into smaller steps that you can assign yourself, then you can achieve them more readily.

Tip: Love NaNoWriMo?
Excited for CampNaNo in April?
You can learn to use Tarot
to plot and develop your story
without even knowing how
to read the card.
Check out my
#30DayTarotWritingChallenge

A great example of this is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those of you who don’t know, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to 1667 words in a day. For some, that’s a breeze. For others, it’s like writing the length of a school essay every day.

But a really great way of tackling this is to break it down into small parts and litter the small parts throughout your daily schedule. This is short bursts of 417 words four times through the day. You might do this before breakfast, somewhere around lunch, when you get off work, and then before you go to bed. It’s about a page of single-spaced typing, or a page and a half of double-spaced typing. Far less daunting.

Journal Prompt

You might have already guessed what the prompt is, but I’ll tell you anyway. Your prompt is to look at what you want to achieve, what you’ve been journaling toward over the last few days, and break them down into small chunks.

What can you do daily to work toward your goal? What seems daunting about it?

Furthermore, I want you to look at any fears you might have surrounding it think about steps you can take to work through those fears and resolve them. Journal out and brainstorm as much as you can.

The more you know about your fears, your goals, and the steps you can take to be successful, the more equipped you’ll be for a successful 2020.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 13 Journal Prompt: Know Your Fears

What Is Your Fear Around Writing?

There are two more posts specifically about goal setting, and one of them I’d like to talk to you a little bit about fear.

When you boil it down, fear is behind what stops us. We’re afraid of investing, we’re afraid of success, we’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of being wrong, we’re afraid of being right.

All of this boils down to change. If we have a fear in any of these areas, it’s because we have an idea of what is or should be, and whatever it is that you’re afraid of runs the risk of change.

I listen to a lot of tarot podcasts (if you didn’t know, my dovetail into coaching was via my tarot website and the writing prompts I was posting there), and Lindsey Mack had a wonderful episode recently on the 10 of Swords, which is generally viewed as a difficult card. In the episode she spoke a lot about fear, and what it is in the brain.

Your brain is trying to create a safe route for us, but we can only do it if we can predict what’s going to come. When we have a fear of change, it’s because the change is something that is unknown. The outcome is unknown. And as a result, we fear it because we can’t predict and prepare for it on a deeper level.

If you look at Eckhart Tole and what he has to say on the matter, fear is a result of your ego trying to preserve itself. Similarly to the idea of unpredictability, the ego is trying to maintain its sense of identity. Anything can threaten that sense of self, especially change of status. As a result, we have fear, anxiety, anger, jealousy, and myriad of other difficult emotions.

I cannot recommend his book, A New Earth enough. The first chapter can be a bit dry, but once you get into the meat of it, it’s amazing.

What’s this Got to Do with Writing or the New Year?

When we are setting our writing goals for the New Year, we need to address and confront some of these fears that we might have around success.

Some common writer fears are:

  • Fear of success
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear to start
  • Fear of not finishing
  • Fear of not writing well enough
  • Fear of people reading their work

I won’t get into these too much. However, the end result in many of these is a change in the understanding of yourself. What if you write a book? Then you’ll now be the person who writes books, and with that comes some form of responsibility.

What if you’re successful? What if you fail? Both of these involve changes to the sense of self. If you’re successful, then your identity now involves “writer,” and it can mean keeping up a social media presence, going through the motions of publishing, repping your work, etc. If you fail though, then it could mean a change in how people perceive you.

Whatever your fear regarding your writing is, it has the potential to hold you back in some way.

It can manifest in

  • Writer’s block
  • Stagnation
  • Boredom of a project
  • Inability to stay focused on just one project
  • Constantly working on your piece but never actually getting anywhere with it

Again, these are just a few ways you can see fear interrupt your writing.

When you’re making goals for the New Year, you want to look into what goals you aren’t setting but would like to set. You want to look at the goals you are setting and see how fear is playing a role in how you set yourself up for success this year.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be another two-part journal prompt. It is essential that you really dive deep to get to understand what’s in you, what might be blocking you, and what might be supporting you. Your joy is what’s going to carry you through to find success. Your fear is going to be what holds you back.

Step 1: Your Relationship with Fear

The first part of this is to look at your relationship to fear. This might involve a few days’ worth of reflecting. During this exercise, think about the things that have held you back because you were on some level afraid. Think about the things that infuriated you, and ask how they might have been in response to an underlying fear.

Look at this in relation to your writing, but also in life. Sometimes our fears in life can be symptomatic in our writing as well. For example, if we’re stressed out in life  because we’ve taken on too much, our writing can suffer, even if we make time for it.

Step 1.2: Your Writing

Now look at your writing. Really look at it. Look at all the times you thought “I should be writing,” but didn’t. Think about the times you wrote but wanted to keep it a complete secret. Think about the manuscripts you have, completed, doing nothing.

Ask yourself why all these things are the case, and examine the fear around each situation.

Step 2: Your 2020 Goals

Now that you have some understanding about your fears, ask yourself how they’re going to influence your goals. Are they going to hinder them in some way or will your 2020 goals remain unaffected?

If you think they’ll be a problem, work overcoming that fear into your goals for 2020, into your habits for January.

If you need any help coming up with ways to break through that fear, I’m only a quick message away!

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 12 Journal Prompt: What to Write Next Year

What is your writing goal for the whole of 2020?

We’ve spent some time delving into the habits we can create to make our year successful, but now I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Knowing what you now know about yourself, we are going to look at what goals you can set for the whole of 2020.

Writing goals mean different things to different people. For those who write non-fiction, this might be querying a publisher with a book idea. For those who have an idea for a book but haven’t put any time into developing it, it might just be to outline it and get the first chapter done. For some it’s to write a book a month, and for others it might be to write a million words during the year.

All of these goals are set with the idea of what they want to develop in the long run.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be a two-part prompt. We’re going to look at the big picture and then shrink it right on down to the smaller picture.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

Fun Fact: If you want to write 1,000,000 words in 2020

You only need to develop the

right writing habit.

It only take 2,740 words each

day to write 1,000,000 words

in 356 days.

If boundaries were not a thing and wishes were fulfilled as easily as taken a breath, what would you want for your writing?

Do you want to build a career? Do you want to publish? Do you want to create stories for  those who are close to you? Do you have a message to share?

Over the span of the next decade, what do you want to happen with your writing?

Spent ten minutes or more writing everything you want for your writing. Think big, think about a world without limits, and consider everything you would want. Again, give yourself at least ten minutes of constant writing. That means no pausing once you’ve stopped. Let that pen flow, even if it means writing “I don’t know” 14 times before you finally figure out what you do know.

Don’t think about what is practical, don’t think about what is feasible. Think only about what you want.

Step 2: Your Writing Goal

Now you’re going to make your writing goal for 2020. Look at everything you’ve just written. It is possible. You just have to make the right steps.

List out the steps you would need to take in order to get to where you want. Write them out in detail, break them down. If your first step is to write your first book, then what steps do you have to take to make that happen? Break everything down as much as you can.

Now, that you have this list, ask yourself what you think you can get done in the first year. This is the time to be practical. But, at the same time, you want to challenge yourself.

Running with the example of writing your first book, maybe you not only want to write it, but have it completely squeaky polished and ready to send off to publication, or ready for beta readers, or ready to self-publish by the end of 2020.

Or maybe you want to write a million words in 2020. You could write a million words, or, you could really challenge yourself and aim for two million (5480 words a day!).

Bonus Step

When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

When you have yourself a writing goal, break it down, step by step. What do you need to do to write your first book? What do you need to do to write a million words? For each of these steps, create a reward system.

On of my favorite podcast hosts, Sara Werner of the Write Now Podcast, likes to reward herself when she reached word-count goals during her writing sessions with an M&M.

I’ve rewarded myself with cups of coffee. When I’m really struggling to put words on the page, I’ve told myself that when I get to x point, then I can have another cup of coffee (though I do have the fine print that I have to have a pint of water before I have my coffee as well).

Your reward systems should line up with your goal. If it’s something small, have a little—but joyful—reward for yourself. If it’s something bigger, then have a bigger reward. For example, if one of your steps is to read three books on writing, then celebrate each book by purchasing a song download, and when you finish all three, purchase a full album. Or if you want to need to finish your outline, then celebrate by spending a day out doing something you love but rarely get to do.

When you have things to look forward to, then it makes achieving the steps along the way that much more fun. When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four.

This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

Processing…
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December 11 Journal Prompt: First Quarter Season

What is your writing goal for the first quarter of 2020?

Yesterday we spent some time looking at what habits we can form during the first month of the year. Today we are going to look at how those habits can be implemented over the first quarter of 2020.

But we’re going to look at this a little bit differently than we did yesterday. Today, we’re going to look at the seasons, and we’re going to consider our personal seasons.

Learning Your Seasons

Rebecca Campbell, author of Rise Sister Rise and Light is the New Black, talks about personal seasons. Just like the planet, we experience times of fruitfulness and times of rest. There are times when we are productive and times when we just can’t begin to look at what to tackle.

And that’s okay.

Knowing how you function best is going to help you to be your best. Knowing yourself is going to be the key to the optimal you. Everyone needs to rest, and it’s good to know when your resting times are. These can happen monthly, daily, and annually.

For example, I, living in the northern hemisphere, discovered that I can get next to zero work done in the summer. I am highly productive in the winter and in the spring, but summer I go into my personal winter of work hibernation.

Does that mean I stop working altogether? Not at all. What it does mean is that I adjust my workload to accommodate my resting time.

Not all of us have this luxury—it’s one I have worked hard to cultivate, and I know that nothing is permanent. However, in terms of our goals for on-coming years, we can take these “winter” periods and adjust our goals to work around them. Likewise, we can adjust our goals to work around our energetic, “summer” periods.

Journal Prompt

Reflecting on Winter and Summer

Reflect over the last year and compare it to the year before, and the year before that. Do you recall when you were at the height of your energy each year? Do you remember when you struggled with your energy?

Spend some time journaling about the most productive times that you recall, and see if you can narrow it down to a time of the year, time of month, time of week, time of day. If you can’t pinpoint it, that’s alright. Perhaps you might want to make it a goal to pay attention this year to when your energy waxes and wanes.

If you’ve managed to do this, then we’re going to move on to the second part of the prompt: developing a first quarter goal.

Quarterly Goals

If you have an idea of how well you work during certain times or periods, then you can more readily make goals for the first quarter of the year.

If you find that your seasons line up nicely with the year, then you can consider spending the first part of the year gearing up for your more fruitful times. The first quarter should be a time of preparation, gathering momentum, and building to the “climax” of your year.

If you find that you’re more productive in the winter, or find that you have to be more productive in the winter (shout out to my SAD people!), then acknowledge that the first three months of 2020 will be preparing to take a little bit of a break during the summer to recharge your batteries.

Now look at how you function on a month. Campbell also mentions that she finds, as a women, she is more spiritually tuned in during her period, and thus will adjust her work schedule so that she can allow for lower-key days and meditation during that time. Some folks might find that they are more productive or less productive around a full or a new moon.

At the end of the day we are writers. As writers, we tap into out creative side which depending on who you talk to, is linked to our subconscious. Our subconscious is that deeper part of us that we allow to be expressed through our dreams and through our creative works. Thus, we may not know what rhythms our subconscious and our creative side might be aligned with, so we should explore every possibility.

Once you’ve spent some time considering how and when you work best, then you can begin setting your first quarterly goal. Consider the habits you want to form during the first month, and look at how they can contribute to a bigger goal for the first quarter.

Learning your own personal rhythms is going to be what sets you up for a successful year, and hopefully, a successful decade.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.