I grew up wearing a pentagram, and so I think about the five metaphysical elements that correspond to a lot:
I also think about the tarot a lot. You might not know this about me, but along with being a writer and writing coach, I’m also a professional tarot reader. One style of reading that has deepened my understanding of the cards has been through these elements.
As I grew into my writing practice, I saw the correlation between these same elements that I use in the tarot, and the creative process.
That’s what this week’s episode is about. I want to tell you about how you can #WooYourWriting through the lessons of the tarot, but specifically, though the five elements.
I recently just launched my podcast. I also just launched my first free workbook.
There was a lot more to both of these things than I thought there would be.
Of course, there’s designing the content, figuring out how I want to present it, then I have to figure out the tech and marketing side of both of these things…yet that isn’t the part that drained me.
It was the stress of it. The pressure of it.
It left me hitting a wall on Monday morning after I did my part to tell everyone about this podcast, and I felt so drained that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have a creative or logical, or motivated bone in my body at the end of it.
Because I’ve been all work and very little introspection, I decided to participate in a daily tarot draw through August. Owl and Bones Tarot on Instagram has a set of daily questions that I decided to take part in.
In my exhaustion, I drew a few cards for the week ahead, as prompted: Energy/Let In/Keep Out/Mantra.
I drew the 4 of Cups, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Emperor. From those, I developed the following Mantra:
By moving with the flow, I open myself to fill my offered cup, unapologetically.
I gave in and flipped the fourth card anyway, to see what it had to offer: the King of Wands.
The King of Wands is a master of his craft, of the thing that lights him up. He’s also the master of Fire. This means that he knows when to fan the flames, and when they need to be tampered. He can find steadiness through his knowledge of how to balance his passions and desires.
That is the wisdom of my week ahead.
So I took the day off. I gave myself time to play.
I let the day move me and guide me and allowed myself the space to nourish myself.
While I’ve been diving head-first into building my business, I’ve left little to no time at all for my own personal enjoyments. I haven’t given myself space to be creative in the ways I feel most creative. I certainly haven’t looked after my body (seriously, I joined a gym three weeks ago and haven’t been once).
I have been in Fire and Air energy for all of July and so I took yesterday, August 2, to nourish the rest of my elements.
Since it was Lughnasadh (many pagans celebrate on the 1st, but I have always celebrated it on the 2nd), I decided to take the day and celebrate it. It’s a day of the first summer harvests, and a day of gratitude.
I went to the Co-op and bought as locally and ethically as I could, gathering vegetables, fresh herbs, edible flowers, local beers and a cider, getting myself excited to get home and bake some bread and make some stew.
I spent the afternoon cleaning the house, taking care of those chores that get put to the side when you’re too busy. I did those chores not out of necessity. They absolutely could have waited. But I wanted to do them. I wanted to take part in tending the hearth of my home, of honoring my personal patron, Hestia.
Then my evening was spent on the back porch, enjoying the evening, eating my cheddar and herb bread (made with chives, Herbs de Provence, local blond ale, and fresh edible flowers) and summer vegetable stew (with added stout to give it some power), while drinking Washington local, Finnriver lavender black current cider.
Responding to Goal-Setting & Celebrations
Why am I sharing all of this with you?
Because it is so easy to burn yourself out with doing what you feel must be done. We set goals, hard goals, ambitious goals, and we are determined to make them happen. We put a lot of energy into those goals.
But how often do we give ourselves time to rest after we’ve reached our goals?
Releasing the workbook and launching the podcast were two goals of mine, but they weren’t the end goal. They were steps I felt were necessary to reach the end goal. And they were worth celebrating when I reached those goals.
Sometimes celebrating looks like going out for a drink. Sometimes it looks like giving yourself a present. Sometimes it looks like skydiving. And sometimes it looks like rest.
While baking bread and making stew might not look like rest to many, it was rest to me. It was putting down business and making time for what I love to do, and how I nourish myself.
The key question then to ask yourself is what are you doing to nourish yourself? How are you filling your cup when you’ve completed a step? How are you taking time to honor yourself?
Take a moment to ask yourself this, and answer yourself before moving on.
What It Means to Celebrate
You might have noticed that I didn’t have a dinner party. I made dinner for me. Because it was about me being able to rest.
In coaching sessions, I often ask my clients to set goals, since that’s the nature of what we’re doing, but also to determine different levels of celebration when they hit key markers. What will they do when they get their wordcount for the day? For the week? How about when they finish their first draft? Their revision? Send out their manuscript for beta reading?
Often, what they come up with are treats for themselves, which is perfectly fine. It acts as a prize to strive toward. I would be lying if I said I didn’t do the same.
However, the best rewards aren’t necessarily what we set for ourselves ahead of time. Instead, it’s checking in with yourself when you meet that marker and seeing what you need at that point. Do you need a few days to just do nothing? Do you need some fun? Do you need to dance? To eat better? To move more? Do you need to clean? Do you need to just lay in the grass and watch the wind through tree branches?
Checking in with yourself at the time of your success is a great way to reward yourself. Consider which of your elements is running low, and do what you can to find that balance before you move on to the next check point.
What this doesn’t mean is using rest as a reward. It doesn’t mean neglecting yourself and using selfcare something you can let yourself have one you do the thing.
You should always be participating in selfcare.
What this does mean is that you’re then breaking down your tasks and goals into small, bite-sized chunks, and checking in with yourself when you complete each mouthful.
What do you need after you write 2,000 words in a day?
What can fan your flames after you’ve revised your 85,000-word novel?
What do you deserve after you’ve had the bravery to send your piece out to 8 beta readers?
How to Determine What You Need
Think about how you feel after you’ve completed a small task. Think about how you feel after you’ve completed a big task.
Most of us feel pretty accomplished when we complete something, and that’s the predominant feeling. However, there are sometimes undercurrents of other things: exhaustion, anxiety about what comes next, sadness that the task is over, etc.
There are ways to nourish all of those feelings and sensations.
There is no bad response to completing a task. Feelings area always valid. They are expressing a part of yourself, and the healthiest thing you can do for those expressions is to give them a voice at the table, and ask what they are there to really communicate to you.
For example, after my podcast and workbook releases, my brain had enough. My energy was low. What those were both telling me, my Air and Fire, was that I needed to do something that wasn’t mentally taxing. I needed to do something where I was feeling rather than expressing.
A good way to see where your energy is low is to spend some time—you guessed it—journaling on where you’re feeling drained.
This is effective if you have a deck of tarot cards that you can lay out for the following questions, without turning them over. Journal on the questions, then flip the cards and see where your perception and understanding of your situation lines up with your intuition and subconscious.
In what area of life do I feel drained?
What area of life lights me up?
What is nourishing my passions?
What is taking me away from my passions?
What is taking away from my drive?
What thoughts are inspiring me?
What thoughts are holding me back?
What inspires me in general?
How do I feel about the relationships in my immediate circle?
What can I do to be more compassionate toward myself?
How can I nourish myself more spiritually?
Where am I physically over-extending myself?
What am I doing to support my body?
How does my physical space affect me?
What is the best piece of advice I can give myself?
If you do use the Tarot, pay attention to what suits come up the most, and which come up the least. That can give you a sign as to what might be in or out of balance.
Based on what you find here, you can see what you might need that would nourish you.
For example, if you find that maybe you are giving too much to your social life, then spending some alone time might be good for you. In which case, what is something fun, something that’s a treat that you can give yourself that will also nourish the part of you that needs to be replenished regarding your social life? Maybe going to see a movie on your own, a road trip on your own, or letting your friends do something for you so you don’t have to worry about it, but can still have fun.
Yes, you can absolutely celebrate your accomplishments, big or small, by treating yourself to a cupcake, a drink, a night out, a trip, and so on. These are wonderful things to be able to indulge in. But when you are taking time to honor the small steps you’ve done each day? That’s a good way to either go broke or develop some less than desirable, productive, or healthy habits.
By looking at celebration as ways to replenish what has been depleted, and enjoying the process, then you can work toward keeping up momentum and burnout.
Check in with yourself regularly, stay present within yourself, and see where your energy is starting to get low and do what you can to keep yourself topped up.
Get to Know Yourself
Want to see exactly what you need as a writer? I’ve got a free workbook just for you, using the Celtic Cross as a structure.
In this workbook, you’ll have over 75 pages of Tarot and journal prompts to see what is supporting your writing journey, and what might be hindering you.
Dive deeper into your writing habits and mindset and get this free workbook by signing up below!
In this first episode, I ask you to consider where you are as a writer. Where are you leaping off from today? Tomorrow? The next day?
This episode explores
Where you are as a writer
The use of Tarot as a writer
The use of Earth, Air, Fire & Water as a writer
I mention the Celtic Cross for Writers Workbook, and while during the time of the recording I didn't know if I would have that workbook ready, I can now say that it is ready and available! Get your copy here or by visiting
In this workbook I'll walk you through how to use the Celtic Cross to discover yourself as a writer with copious journal prompts and using the Tarot. This workbook has over 50 pages of information, prompts and insight to up-level your writing mindset.
You can find me at
On Instagram: @NaturalWriterCoaching
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Or email any questions or thoughts at Nicola@NaturalWriterCoaching.com or through the Contact Me page of my website.
Happy writing, friends!
Why Do We Need to Know Where We Are?
Knowing where you are as a writer means that you know the starting point from which you’re jumping off.
You might be just starting your writing journey, or maybe you’re a prolific short story writer, yet just beginning your first novel. Or perhaps you’re a self-published novelist, well into your 11th book, and needing some extra umph to keep you going.
We are all at different points in our writing. And yet, we’re all at the same place: the first day.
I know, this is going to sound cheesy, but it’s true. We are all at the first day of the rest of our writing journey.
The good, and obnoxious news is that tomorrow is also our first day.
So where are we starting from today? Where will we be starting from tomorrow? And the next day? And next week? Next month?
You get where I’m going with this.
Knowing where you are right now can help you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, what’s holding you back, and what’s supporting you.
I suggest you have yourself a pen an paper for this blog post or this podcast, because I’m going to be asking you some questions to get you going.
Throughout this podcast, I’ll be referring to the Tarot. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll also know that I’m a big fan of using the Tarot in writing.
For this particular episode and post, I’m considering the lens of the first position of the Celtic Cross: The heart of the matter, or where you are as a writer.
In a Celtic Cross reading, this position represents the sum of all the energies working around you and within you to put you in the current position you’re in right now, or the real issue that is prompting the reading at all.
For many writers, it’s writers block. But that’s not just what the main issue is. It’s what’s masking the issue. So let’s take a second a look at writer’s block.
Writer’s block is rarely simply not knowing what to write. More often than not, it’s the result of something deeper getting in the way, whether it’s a belief, a fear, or the excuses we tell ourselves (though those are also the result of beliefs and/or fears).
If we take a little bit of a bird walk, I’ll talk a little bit about the ego.
The ego, at least, how I’m defining the ego, is the self, or rather, the protector of the self. It is like the shell of the nut that is what defines us.
The aim of the ego is to protect the self. However, what it means to protect something is to keep it just as it is. Which leads to no growth.
In order to grow, we need to initiate a change. Where there is change, there is the unknown. Where there is the unknown, there is potentially danger to the self, which is what the ego wants to protect the self from. As a result, we have fear.
This is very simplified. I know that. Just keep bird walking with me.
This fear is what is causing our writer’s block, when it does manage to crop up. It’s the voice in the bac of our heads questioning whether our writing will be well received, if we as writers will be well received, or if there’s any point in writing at all. These are just a few fears that I commonly talk to writers about. There are plenty more out there.
As a result, we find excuses for why we can’t write, why we shouldn’t write, and so on. This is why we would rather deep clean the bathroom which suddenly urgently needs doing when we sit down at the computer to get some work done. We may not have our writing done, but damnit, our bathrooms are spotless!
Using the tarot, and looking ourselves as writers through the lens of the tarot or even through this position in the Celtic Cross, can help us identify what might be holding us back in our writing practice. Likewise, it can show us what’s supporting us.
The First Step: Journal It out
The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is journal out where you are as a writer. What does it mean for you to be a writer? What does your writing practice look like? What are you doing right now to embody the title of writer? What are your goals? Your fears? Who’s your biggest cheerleader, and influence? Who intimidates you?
Write everything you can about where you are right now.
Don’t think about it too much.
The often famed method of Morning Pages, put forth by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, is about journaling without boundaries. Let your thoughts flow onto the page for at least three whole A4 pages, front and back, without pausing to wonder what to write.
When you find yourself running out of what to write, write “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write…” until your pen begins to know what to write.
Adopt this mentality while you do this exercise. Don’t think. Just journal.
After You’ve Scrawled It All…
After you’ve spent some time journaling, get a highlighter and read through what you’ve written. Pay attention to what stands out to you and mark it. Make notes, highlight, underline, do what you have to do, but mark what you’ve written that stands out as important to you.
Pull these points aside and journal on them further if you need to. Really dig into these tid-bits of information you’ve gleaned from your journaling. Why do they stick out to you?
Getting Back to Tarot
A tool that Tarot utilizes is the categorizing of different aspects of life via the four suits: Coins/Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups. Each suit is represented by an element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, respectively.
I promise this will relate to writing and where you are as a writer, just bear with me.
Here’s how the elements represent different aspects of life:
Earth represents the physical realm, all that is tangible. You can think of the things that we need to physically survive and move around in this world, such as food, shelter, physical health, the earth itself, money, etc.
Earth energy is passive energy. It is slow moving, and it digs deep and holds on. Think of terms like “grounding” or “rooting.” These directly relate to Earth aspects.
Air represents our thoughts and how we communicate. It also represents education, the law, justice, and anything to do with logic. It is part of our inspiration, something I’ll delve more into when we move on to Fire.
Air also represents cycles. When we consider the breath, how it moves in and out of us, like a cycle, or the swirling of wind, we can understand how it can represent the phases we move through.
Air is active energy. Our thoughts are quick, how we speak is usually quite quick as well. Thoughts and tongues can be sharp, which is part of the reason why they are represented by the Swords in the Tarot.
This is my favorite element, though it could be because I’m a fire sign, and have a lot of fire in my astrological chart.
Fire represents passion and creation. It is our inspiration, our drive, our Will. It’s what motivates us to get up and go and to take action.
I mentioned that Air is also inspiration. The spark is the instant of Need to Do, of Compulsion to express that key part of the Self. It’s that flicker of excitement. Air is what fans that spark and brings it to a flame. It’s what plans and forms the spark into an action.
Fire, too, is active energy. It is far more instantaneous than Air, and far more demanding than air.
Water is a passive energy, like Earth. Though the concept behind Water is the idea of sinking down. As a result, this means that it corresponds to our emotions, to our subconscious, our intuition, and our spirituality. It’s how we connect in our relationships, whether they be friendly, romantic, familial, or otherwise.
It is creativity.
Considering these elements and areas of your life while going over your journaling can help you divide specific areas you might find are supporting you or restricting you. You might find that there are areas that are smothering your spark, or devouring your Air, for example. These things bleed into your creative practice. Getting to know the different areas of life can help you pinpoint where you are right now.
The Second Step: Some Guiding Questions
The second step is more of a helpful way to get you to consider the elements in your life. Here are some guiding questions you can further use as journal prompts.
Air: What is your practice?
How are you keeping yourself accountable?
How are you planning for your writing goals?
How are you implementing the steps of your plan?
I want to take a moment to say that it’s okay if you don’t have a plan. You don’t have to have a plan. However, Air is the element of logic, and is great when you start looking at your editing.
However, there are some elements of planning that you’ll need in your writing life. For example, the goals you set for your current WIP, or your writing career. The education you plan to explore when it comes to marketing, to story structure, to publishing also doubly fall under Air, since it’s both education and planning. Knowing copywrite laws are essential when it comes to creating your works (laws fall under Air, as does Justice).
There is a lot here, and the risk of too much Air is over-planning, and smothering your inspiration as a result. Ask yourself where the line is for you regarding too much planning, or needing to plan more.
Fire: How Do You Feel About Writing in General?
Does writing, as a whole inspire you? Intimidate you? Make you feel free? Constricted?
Consider this and note what you feel in your body. Do you relax? Is there a tightness?
How do you feel about your writing?
Same questions – Does it inspire you? Excite you? Free? Constricted?
Fire can often be that act of creation, but creation must come from something. For example, consider the creation of another being. There are things that must happen:
There must be passion, or desire (both Fire)
Two elements come together to make that creation happen
So ask yourself what is that passion for you about writing? What is compelling you to write? Or consider writing? Or tell your story?
Examining what smothers that spark is also important, and should be considered.
What kills stomps out that potential for you?
What stops a piece from coming to fruition?
Water: Where Does Your Creativity Come From?
Does it hit you from nowhere?
Do you cultivate it?
What relaxes you and puts you in the flow with your art?
What emotions do you tap into when you write?
What do you avoid?
There is no doubt that writing is a creative process, and writing is fluid and flowing, just like Water. Hence, the creativity. Water forms itself to what it must be in order to fit in with what is required.
You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned both creativity and creation separately, and I want to take a moment to distinguish between the two.
Creation is the result of action being taken upon a passion
Creative, or creativity is the personal flair in which something is created.
Creation is fire
Creativity is water
In the tarot, there is a card named Temperance, which is often represented by Fire and Water. Marriam-Webster defines Temperance as “Moderation in action, thought, or feeling.”
In Thoth-Based tarot decks, the Temperance card is called Art instead. I love this. The idea that Fire and Water are coming together to create Art. This is creation and creativity coming together in harmony, the internal flow of Water, balanced with the drive of Fire, to create Art.
Earth: How is Your Writing Showing up in Your Physical World?
By what physical method do you write?
Are you making money from your writing?
How are you nourishing your brain?
I want to take a second to explain the last question.
The things that we put in our body affects our minds. Everyone is different, therefore different minds need different things. I also want to take a second to honor that this can be a privileged thing to consider as well.
I am not going on a kick about what you should or shouldn’t consume. What I am asking is for you to pay attention to how certain things affect how you think and act.
For example: during lockdown last year, I, like so many, began baking. I started to find that when I was eating the delicious things I baked, I was getting cranky. Same with when I had sugar in my coffee. So I stopped with the sugar-rich treats and drastically cut back on the sugar in my coffee.
Recently, since I get up at 5 in the morning, I have noticed that I have some pretty gnarly caffeine crashes around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I realized it was because I was drinking bucket loads of coffee and then hitting my wall. So I stopped and replaced coffee with chicory root for a while, and then with plain old water.
I noticed how what I was consuming was affecting my mind and productivity, and I made the changes I felt I had the capacity and capability to make.
Where Are You As A Writer?
Consider everything you’ve journaled about here. What have you discovered? Are you pleased with it? Do you see areas you want to change?
If you’re open to sharing, post in the comments below! I’ll be you’ll find you’re not alone.
Natural Writer Podcast
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Happy Listening and Happy Writing!
Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook
In this podcast, I mention the Celtic Cross Workbook.
At the time of recording, I didn’t know when it would be released. However! I do now!
It is a completely free, 75+ pages of tarot and journal prompts using the Celtic Cross to help you delve into where you are as a writer, what is supporting you, and what is holding you back from becoming what you want to be.
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