Writing Through the Moon in October

The moon holds some amazing power over people. Horror stories revolve around it, and the cool blue-white glow of its light can be equally haunting as it is magical. So magical, in fact, that it’s worth of being a writing tool.

The Significance of the Moon

The moon is commonly associated with water, which is easy to see once you think about it. The moon influences the pull of the oceans which results in our tides. It’s said that crime rates go up during a full moon, because it has such an effect on people (remember, a large part of us is made up of water). People plan to travel or launch a business based on the moon. People plant and harvest their gardens according to the moon.

Esoterically, the moon corresponds to water because of it’s shadowiness, which relates to the subconscious or psychic abilities/intuition.

In my post, Writing Through the Elements, I talk about how in the Tarot, water represents the emotion, intuition, the subconscious, and creativity. With the moon relating to water, it’s easy to see that the moon relates to creativity as well.

October 2020

Tomorrow is October 1, which is not only my favorite month given that the best holiday of the year happens during this time, but this year contains a blue moon. A blue moon is when a full moon occurs twice within a month. That second full moon this year? Yeah, you guessed it, it’s on Halloween!

In light of the double full moon, I thought I would make this month about writing with the phases of the moon.

Again, water corresponds to the moon, and water represents creativity. Why not create with the ebb and flow of our biggest satellite?

Water

To connect with the moon, I feel as though we should connect with water, and see how it connects to our creativity.

Consider what water is (aside from H20):

  • Essential for life on earth
  • It can be calm and nourishing
  • It can be violent and destructive
  • The ocean is what connects the world
  • The depths of the ocean are a mystery
  • The shallows of the ocean are pleasant and what we’re used to seeing
  • Water cools us
  • Water warms us (at least, when I’m cold, the only thing that will warm me up is warm water)
  • It can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas
  • It is clear yet blue at the same time
  • A repetitive drop of water can be enough to wear away rock

Just to name a few things and get you started on what water is. What water means to us as individuals might be different. Are you afraid of water? Do you love it? Do you have to be bribed to drink a glass of water?

The ocean holds more secrets at this point than space does. Reaching into its depths teaches us new things about our world.

Reaching inward, much like reaching down into the ocean, helps us to bring to light things we didn’t know about ourselves. It’s an attempt at examining ourselves. It is here that the subconscious lives, and I believe, where creativity reaches from.

Unconscious, Intuition, Creativity

In the Tarot, the element of water, represented by the suit of cups, represents the subconscious, creativity, emotion and intuition. Thus, as a result, because the moon rules water, the moon corresponds to these elements as well.

The moon itself is a strange shadowy thing: sometimes we see it, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we see all of it, sometimes we see some of it. Sometimes the light from the moon is so bright, that you don’t need your headlights on to drive (but seriously, keep them on), and sometimes it casts a strange light that seems as though things are appearing twisted and distorted.

That’s often the way we can view the aspects of ourselves that water rules. Likewise, water itself twists and distorts things when you view them from above. For example, you can put your finger in water and it will look as though it has bent when it actually hasn’t.

Creativity, which is what we will mostly be focusing on, is the same way. We catch it from the corner of our eye and try to harness it and twist it to our wills so we can produce something. The moon, with its many phases, can influence our creative process and productivity.

This week is working on how to use it.

The Moon & Writing.

We will all have our natural rhythms. However, it’s likely that these spiralic rhythms fall in line with that of the moon or of the seasons, in some way, the same way that menstruating womxn’s bodies fall into a 28-day cycle. The moon, too, has a 28-days cycle, which is why it’s often associated with womxn.

It is said that it has passive energy. While writing can be a stressful act, it’s also somewhat of a passive act, as creativity often is. So we view the phases of the moon, we have to think of what is growing, and what is fading.

As the moon goes from new to full, the energy of the moon is increasing. This means increasing creativity, energy, pull, etc.. Conversely, when the moon is waning and going from full to moon, that energy is dispersing.

Thus, when we’re writing by the moon, we can think of it in terms of how an idea or project grows.

During the first part of the moon cycle, when going from new to full, something is growing. Thus, this is an excellent time to:

  • Develop a story idea through planning
  • Begin writing a story
  • Begin marketing/gaining a social media following

As the moon fades from full moon to new moon, it’s a great time to:

  • Rest
  • Revisit your outline
  • Go back over what you’ve already written
  • Edit

As the creative energy is drawn out of you by the growing of the moon, you can harness that energy and apply it to your story. As the energy fades, it’s good to switch gears to a more analytical aspect, or into full on rest before you start the cycle over again.

For those of you who are fast writers, this is a great way to write and edit, allowing yourself the first two weeks of the cycle to get out your draft of your book, and the second two weeks to edit, and repeat.

The Rest of October

The 1st and 31st of October are full moons. For the first full moon, I am releasing this post. Each week will be a different moon phase that I’ll write on:

  • October 1st – full moon
  • October 8th – last quarter moon
  • October 17th – new moon
  • October 24th – first quarter moon
  • October 31st – full moon

Waning Gibbous Moon

After the full moon, the moon is known as waning gibbous. This is the section of time leading to the last quarter of the moon cycle. Contrary to popular belief, the full moon is actually the middle of the cycle, and thus we are headed toward a new beginning.

Since we’re starting this toward the end, here are some things  you can do to get yourself ready for your beginning on the 17th:

1.
Make a list of habits that are holding your writing back

These could be procrastination, self-doubts, saying yes to everything but your writing, etc. Spend some time making a plan to get rid of these habits. How can you change your attitude toward your writing? How can you make sure it comes first?

This isn’t just limited to writing habits. It could be how you handle constructive criticism. It could be how you view certain genres or publishing ventures.

Take the time and really look into any ways of thinking, attitudes, or habits, and see what you can do to alter them toward something more productive.

2.
Kill Your Darlings

Between the full moon and the new moon is an excellent time to revise what you’ve written. You can use this time to shed any parts of your book that are unneeded. Be completely ruthless with this.

Remember, if you don’t want to get rid of your characters/purple prose/superb scene that unfortunately doesn’t contribute anything to the story/etc. entirely, you can always make a separate document and copy and paste them there. You never know when they might come in handy for something else.

3.
Play

Spend some time writing some flash fiction or poems around your story. Have fun with it. This will help you get in touch with your story and your characters in a different way, and it can also be a great way to gather marketing fodder. You can send this out to your mailing list, your Patreon supporters, or put it up on your website.

Wither way, this is a time to acknowledge that you’ve done the work, and to enjoy it. What better way of enjoying it than writing your own fan fic for your world?

4.
Express Gratitude

I know, this one sounds a little weird, but hear me out.

When you write, there are plenty of things to be grateful for. And when you’re grateful, it helps you to appreciate your writing even more. For example, if you’re grateful for the time you have to write, then you’ll honor that time and be more likely to stick to it.

Here’s what my gratitude list looks like:

  • I’m grateful I have a mode of creative expression
  • I’m grateful I can support myself through writing
  • I’m grateful for the understanding that looking through my characters’ eyes bring me
  • I’m grateful I have time to write every day
  • I’m grateful my partner supports my creative pursuits
  • ect.

What are you grateful for regarding your creative practice?

These are just a few ways you can use this time of the cycle in your writing practice. I challenge you to spend a month working with the moon phases to see how it affects your work and let me know how it goes at the end of October.

Homework

There are two parts to this week’s homework. The first part is to journal on the following questions. Spend some time, giving yourself at least five minutes for each question. This allows you to really explore yourself and your thoughts on each prompt.

  1. What is your relationship to water?
  2. How do you respond to your own emotions?
  3. How do you respond to other people’s emotions?
  4. What habits are holding your writing back?
  5. What attitudes might be holding you back?

The second part of your homework is to spend some time creating a gratitude list. This is good to do, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with your writing. It can help you see the beauty already existing in your life and inspire you to create more.

Once you have your gratitude list, ask yourself what your ideal writing life would be like, and write it out, looking at a day in the life of Author You, writing it out from the time your successful writer self wakes up until you go to bed.

Before going to bed, your future you writes out their gratitude list. What’s on it? Write the list as if from your future you’s perspective.

Journal on the experience of this exercise, paying attention on what you learned about yourself as a writer, and what it means to be successful as a writer.

I’ll catch up with you next week when we move on to the last and third quarter moon.

Happy writing!

Signature

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

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!

Breaking Habits That Keep Us from Writing

Steps to Breaking a Habit: A Table of Contents

The Reason | Wanting to Quit | The Deal Breaker |
Finding the Compromise | The Result | Recap/Homework |
Contact Me

Habits can make or break a writing career.

One of the best things you can do as a writer is create a writing habit. This could be that every day at the same time you sit down and write for x amount of time, or it can mean you get into a weekly system of writing, editing, marketing, repeat. Everyone has something different that works for them.

However, creating habits is just part of it. What is equally important is breaking habits.

There are so many things we do each day that act as distractions or hinder us entirely from working toward our goals.

I want to share my story of a particular habit that I am trying to break: Facebook.

Note: I recognize that not everyone wants to read my experience. you folks out there, I see you, and I’ve got your back. you can skip to the part just for you here.

This is not an anti-Facebook post by any means, I have many, many reasons for wanting to distance myself from it. I wanted to share this because it is a habit (or addiction, as many might label it) that many people can relate to. What’s more, many people might broaden the term to encompass any social media, or might instead swap it out for another form of social media or digital distraction (like streaming shows).

The Reason

I always thought that I had social media under control. After all, I was holding down a job, and doing well at it, and could always make sure my phone was out of sight while on the job. When I was with friends, I only pulled out my phone if the subject matter of discussion warranted it (like showing pictures or swapping info), or if my friend got sucked into their own phone.

Plus, I’ve always needed it because it’s an excellent source of marketing. It’s how I share my writing, my business (and I’ve had many businesses, as well as general interests for which I made a FB page for, such as eco-living, excellent and important podcasts, etc.), and once I moved to the UK from Washington State, it was how I kept in contact with my family and friends.

Finally, I got a lot of my news from Facebook. I have a lot of friends with a lot of interests who were keeping up to date with scientific advances, interesting practices and recipes, and of course, politics (which I tried to double check whenever I could).

Facebook has always been essential.

Wanting to Quit
(But did I really?)

I have tried to cut back on Facebook many times. I deleted the app, but then found that I would just log on via my browser anyway. I put myself on a timer, but I got annoyed when it would shut me down in the middle of reading something, so that was short lived. I then tried to keep track of my over-all screen time on my phone with weekly reports, but could never really remember how I did the previous week.

And when it came down to it, there were worse things I could be doing with my spare time, like husseling or smoking meth. I happily have never had an inkling to do either of those things, so Facebook has always seemed like a pretty reasonable habit to replace what could be far worse.

The Deal Breaker

Like I said, there were a lot of reasons why I wanted to quit Facebook, but I had a lot of excuses for why I should keep it.

I won’t go into what the actual deal-breaker was. That’s just for me and maybe some of the people I interact with (fun fact: you can book a free 30-minute session with me, and ask me all about it while you tell me about your work in progress!). However, when I did reach that point, I struggled to know where to start. After all, some of those reasons were valid reasons.

However, I knew that I actually wanted to do it. There was no shred of me that wanted to keep it around except for what seemed like the obligations such as keeping contact (a welcomed obligation) and marketing.

Finding the Compromise

I took several steps to make sure this happened, and I’ll tell you, it was hard.

Step 1: Timing

I picked a time when I knew I was going to be busy. I was in my second week of my visit to the states, and had about four days left to cram in everything I wanted to do with my friends and family, as well as showing my partner around my home state. By the way, Washington has tons of cool stuff to do, even in January.

One the four days were up, the following two days were going to be spent traveling and stressing. While I was traveling as well, I intended on catching up on a ghostwriting project I had at the airport and on the plane. Again, with needing to keep focus on the actual travel situation and get some work done, this made for a perfect time to switch off from distractions.

Step 2: Practical Steps

I needed to get rid of anything that would tempt me into checking Facebook. I deleted the app and deleted the history of it on my phone and on my computer. It’s really easy to go to Facebook when all you have to do is press the f + enter.

I didn’t delete Facebook entirely. Again, I still felt that my reasons were valid. So, I kept the Messenger app and downloaded the Facebook Pages Manager app, but put them on the second screen over. This meant that it wasn’t on my front screen, and I had to work to remember where I’d moved them to. This interrupted the automatic habit of clicking on them just for the sake of it. I had to think about what I was doing.

Step 3: Replacement

There were plenty of things to replace my habit. I could just get super hooked on Twitter instead, or Instagram. Or I could think constructively.

There are a lot of apps that I could use that would work toward writing, providing writing prompts, or creating a space to write and email what you’ve written fairly easily. Or I could even just write out blog entries on my phone. But I thought I would go with something entirely different.

I opted to learn a language.

So, now instead of spending hours on Facebook, I am learning Greek on Duolingo. It’s like a game, you get points, you level up and compete a little bit against others, and I’m learning at the same time. It’s expanding my mind.

This isn’t the most optimal, because I’m still distracted by it, but I am doing something constructive and working toward something that’s been on my goals list for quite some time.

The Result

At the time of posting this, I will have gone five weeks without Facebook. Again, I have kept the Messenger app and the Pages app, but that’ sit.

There have been some slip-ups. For example, while looking for a new car, I’ve clicked on a link that’s taken me to the Facebook Market place. I quickly exit out of the tab and start my search again, but usually, I don’t feel the draw to actually check the 61 notifications I saw at the top of the page.

The only time I actually miss Facebook, is when I feel that actual physical pull of mechanical habit wanting to hit f + enter. To be fair, that is most times I’m on the internet. But, through eliminating FB from my history, I no longer have that ease of being able to hit those two keys. I have to type out the whole address if I want to visit there. When I do slip up and hit f + enter, it just searches the letter f. This has helped me to be aware of when I do it, which is slowly making me aware of the want to do it before I get around to it. When I’m conscious of it, it’s easy enough to do something else entirely to deter the want.

The Take-Away
(Your Homework)

So yes, that’s great for me, but what about you? You’re reading this so that you can learn to break your habits, not to know that I was able to do it.

Here’s what you can take away from my experience:

1. Make Sure You Want It

Partially wanting to quite a habit isn’t enough. You need a reason that you can hold on to. Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, trying to quit chewing your nails, trying to quit binging Friends for the hundredth time, or trying to quit toxic relationships. You need to be able to have a solid reason to tie yourself to.

2. List Why You Want Need Your Habit

Go easy on yourself. Examine the reasons you don’t want to break your habit, or why you feel you need to maintain it even if you don’t want to. Go through that list item by item and reason with it. How can you get around it?

3. Pick a Time

When you feel like you’ve negated your reasons or found a way to work around them, and when you’ve found your anchor to tie yourself to, then consider your timing.

When dieting, for example, it is strongly advised that you time the start of your diet right. When are the times you’re likely to stress eat or go for the junk food rather than the good stuff? Time your detox of your habit right.

4. Create a Step-by-Step Plan

Once you know your timing, then think about what steps you can take to break your habit. I once read a review of a self-help book. The book apparently suggested that if you wanted to quit smoking, you just didn’t light the cigarette, it was that easy. The review said, “Really, it’s that easy? Have you done it?”

Habits can be unconscious things. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re participating in it until we’re already doing it. So while you’re considering your plan, think about those times when you numbly fall into your habit and how you can navigate around them.

The art of remaining present in mind is a massive help. A great introduction to how to do this and the benefits of this is Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. By learning to stay present, you don’t fall into the mindlessness of automatic action without thinking.

Take practical steps that you’ve outlined in your plan and take them. Do you have a cold-turkey plan, or a gradual plan?

5. Find a Replacement

Let’s say you’re trying to replace toxic friendships in your life. What can you do instead of spending time with these people? You can put yourself out there to find new people, first of all. This could be by joining a book group, writing group, yoga class, or volunteering. Or you could decide that the time you spent on those toxic people is better spent on you. You could go to a movie by yourself or take yourself out dancing.

Spend time doing something you love, that brings you joy and lifts you up.

6. Bonus

Remember, you’re human. You’re going to have slip-ups. We all do, and that’s okay. But when you do, or when you catch yourself doing it, there are a few things you need to do:

  1. Notice that you’re doing it. If you don’t realize you’re doing it, then you won’t be able to stop yourself.
  2. Forgive yourself. Ragging on yourself for slipping up isn’t going to do you any good. In fact, it’s only going to put more pressure on you and make it more likely that you’ll do it again and again. However, if you can show yourself compassion, then you’re releasing good thoughts toward yourself. When you can think good things, then you can release those wonderful and good brain chemicals, and they’re the ones that are going to see you through this.
  3. When you do notice yourself slipping up, or feeling the urge to give in, drink water.

What? Drink water?

Honestly. Drinking water is your friend.

When you drink water, you think clearer and make better decisions. Plus it hydrates you, which can make you feel better, supports your immune system, supports the function of your body, and is a good habit to be in, anyway. I do this all the time when I catch myself getting distracted instead of writing or working on things for my business. Try it.

You Try

What is your habit that you’re struggling to break? What are you missing out on because of this habit? I’d love to hear about it and have a conversation about it. Feel free to contact me, or to leave a comment below.


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.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.