Coffee Break: Recharging & Troubleshooting Your Creative Process

05-coffee break.png

Time for a coffee break! If you are still slaving–I mean, working hard to express yourself creatively through passionate storybinging–I mean storytelling–

Congratulations! You are more than halfway done, and that’s honestly awesome. While your word count isn’t stopping, let’s take a breather and reflect on your progress thus far. What’s working? What isn’t working? How can you move forward in a positive way and make the best out of Nano Wrimo or any writing projects?

In this post, you will find a handy tarot spread for reflecting on your progress and doing some meaningful problem solving. You will also find a general reading for all you Nano Wrimoians! Unlike the previous posts (in which sample readings are based on my personal story worlds or characters, this post will essentially offer you a “reading”. Let’s see what the cards have to say about where you are and where you are headed down this journey of hardcore writing!

Sample Reading

How do you feel about your so progress so far? Use this question to unwind and untangle your feelings regarding your novel/project. Are you still supercharged, or just getting your second wind? Are you slowly deteriorating, your writing hand slowing down with weight and solemn dread? Are you becoming distracted, distant, nonchalant? Heck, do you still want to do this? Check in with yourself and see what’s up!

  • Queen of Pentacles

  • Key Words: nurture, down to earth, practicality, motherly

  • Queen of Pentacles is the practical mother! When it comes to your project, you are fully aware that the result of your current product is exactly what you expect: it is the result of the effort you have put in or have failed to put in. Nano Wrimo is very word-count conscious and how you feel is directly tied to what you have physically achieved. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. On the bright side, it gives you a measurable goal and breaks down your project into manageable, actionable chunks and allows you to track your progress easily. On the dark side, the numbers can really take a toll on your self-esteem and sense of productivity. Let’s find out how you fare in the next few cards!

What isn’t working for you? Is it an unhealthy lifestyle? Inevitable distractions? What’s hindering your progress and constipating your creative flow? What’s stopping you from being your best and working your best? Time to troubleshoot and problem-solve.

  • 8 of Swords

  • Key Words: imprisonment, perceived limitations, blindness

  • 8 of Swords is about a sense of helplessness and immobility. Guess the stress is really catching up, eh? This tends to happen when you attempt to compress a generally complicated and extensive creative project into one month. What also tends to happen is that your emotional journey is also compressed into one month: imagine, you are getting the entire first draft’s load of self-criticism and perfectionism all in a short span of 30 days–not to mention that you have other priorities in life that you have to balance on top of your writing! It’s a lot to take in, for sure, so pat yourself on the back for embarking on an incredibly daunting quest. But remember, it’s a vigorous pursuit of quantity, not quality. It may seem like you have fallen behind, or you still have so much to get done, etc–remember that time doesn’t stop at the end of November. Unless you have a serious deadline or something: you have all the time you need to embellish, improve and perfect your creative endeavor. Time doesn’t stop on the last day of November. What isn’t working for you is that your brain decides to register everything at once in compressed mode. It’s just doing its job, but you have to switch gears when you are doing a sprint-project like Nano Wrimo. You have to decide what’s worth your time and energy to focus on so you don’t end up beating yourself up over everything.

What is helping you?

  • 7 of Pentacles

  • Key Words: patience, evaluation, perseverance, reward

  • What is helping you stay grounded is, of course, your love and passion of storytelling! Writers go on a journey when they write (or they “trip”, as I like to say, hehe.) They explore and discover and co-create with their co-creations. It’s an adventure in and of itself. Allow your sense of wonder drive you forward! Be excited about your story, about what you might discover in the next line you write. Allow your creation to surprise you in ways you have never imagined! Be curious–and be patient! You never know what’s around the corner. That’s the magic of being an artist and a creator. You create consciously and diligently, but you also allow your creations to unfold, revealing to you their true selves, shaping themselves into being.

How can you continue to make the best out of Nano Wrimo?

  • 5 of Cups

  • Key Words: loss, disappointment, emotional absorption

  • Keep moving forward. There wereprobably disappointments and frustrations along the way–you couldn’t help that. That’s part of being a writer–that’s part of being human. And it’s okay to be disappointed or frustrated or disheartened or angry from time to time. It is not a reflection of your failings, your incompetence, or your laziness. You may have failed to show up one day, and you may have been overly critical over your own creations that you are paralyzed to move forward. Either way, just keeping going! Even if you don’t end up hitting your word count. Remember, time doesn’t stop after November. You can still keep going. If you have a problem, then problem solve! If it takes time, then dedicate some time! The truth is many things can take us by surprise and go against our plan. The truth is we may not be able to complete our novels in one month. But hey, you started, so just keeping swimming! Like the message from 7 of Pentacles, you have to allow the process to unfold. You aren’t in control of everything cosmically possible. You are not God! (Well, you are a writer, so I guess close enough…) But hey, just sit back, relax, and cherish the experience. Choose what you want to and can focus on, then keep moving forward!