Hello and not only a Happy Year to you all, but a happy full wolf moon in Cancer too. This is the first post on my revamped blog. I wanted to shift my online space largely but not exclusively to writing about, well, writing. This is because throughout my journey I’ve realised that the path of magic really does attract a wonderful spectrum of creatives; probably because the craft itself is inherently creative and draws in the curious, the rebellious and those of us who have always felt weird. When I say ‘craft’ I mean the act of working with magic, I have no care to use labels or specifics here.
I will focus often on the art of fiction writing here but many of the posts and rituals that I intend to share can be adapted to artists, songwriters, poets, designers and bloggers. And I intend to write for those of us who just love to explore magic and/or who adore literature too. I want to create a safe community of like-minded magical creatives who can share their stories, advice and give encouragement, because often writing, like witchcraft, can be a solitary endeavour.
So, enough rambling and on to the juicy stuff! I will be posting on here weekly with advice on how to smash your creative goals for this year, so you can finally cross that languishing project off of your to-do list with pride. But let’s start with looking back at 2017. What were your goals, and how did you progress with them? Every New Year I conduct a yearly review. It’s partly a gratitude list, and partly a kick up the bum to highlight the stuff which didn’t do me any favours and prevented my progress. This year doing this review actually kind of sucked. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways, 2017 was a fantastic year for me, particularly for foreign adventures, but for my writing career, not so much. My negative thought patterns and procrastination got the better of me more times than I can count, and although I got the first draft of my book down in time for my self-enforced deadline, I can’t say that the resulting rush-job mess was anything near to the vision that I had for my story. Now I don’t want to focus on the negative and go on a downer here. Did I progress much? In the sense of having something physical to show for it, no. But I have really delved into personal development, writing techniques and magic in order to make this year my most successful yet, and I want to help you too. I don’t see myself as a teacher, and I see writing much like I see my spiritual path – that I will be a student always.
I remember reading an article on procrastination a few years back, which said that every time you procrastinate, you are being mean to future you. Now you could apply this to the actual physical act of sitting down and writing your novel, but you can also apply it to preparing for the worst. And I don’t mean preparing your ideas for your project – that’s another post altogether, and a vital one at that. No, I’m talking about preparing for when your fears, perfectionism and self-doubt raise their ugly heads and stop you from being productive. It’s essential to figure out what your triggers are and how to counter-act them.
I did the Myers Briggs Personality Test several years ago and wasn’t that surprised when I got an INFJ result and read what the common characteristics of that were. But I never thought to apply my personality traits, both the positive and the negative to how I write. It was only when I came across Lauren Sapala’s book The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type that a huge lightbulb went off in my head. Reading through this book was illuminating because it felt like it had been written just about me. It was like the author had been inside my head all this time in a more invasive version of The Truman Show and was showing me in all my writer modes, from my unabashed enthusiasm of research to my sometimes utter despair at the tangle of chapters I’d finished and how I had to fight the urge to undo all the work and press delete. Sapala touches upon the other personality types in her book, dedicating a chapter to each, but I’m sure there is a wealth of information out there to help. Take the test here and then have a look at how these traits affect the way you write, and the struggles that you encounter on the way. In upcoming posts I will look at some of the common creative blocks writers encounter, and how we can push past them. In Part Two of this post, rather than looking back at the year just gone, we will be looking ahead at how to achieve our dreams, using personal-development techniques and marrying that with magic.
Your homework this New Year’s Day and the full moon is to write two lists. One being all the traits that prevent you from writing or having confidence in that field. This is the list of things you want to release this year. You will burn this list (safely). The other list is the traits you want to embody, the opposites of those listed in your burn list. Keep this list somewhere visible in your daily life, and choose one of those words as your theme of 2018. I have chosen consistency as I can apply it to other interests and pursuits in my life as well as in my writing. Let me know what your word is! Join the group Author Alchemy over on Facebook here.