Keep writing… you are creating something magical.

Story Mystic is a new column for writers. Each month I will draw five cards focused on the art of writing. What do the cards have in store for us? What writing challenges will the next month bring? Let’s find out!

A general card for writers right nowFive of Cups (reversed)

The Five of Cups is a hard card. And the world is hard right now, especially for us, women writers. Things may seem hopeless and grim. There has been great loss in the world, and the news has been grim. It is natural that we mourn for all that we dreamed up, and the things that have been taken from us. 

But the writing goes on, and this card is reversed. In this case, that is a very good thing! That means that while things have been hard, you are moving forward. We have lost much, and been very sad, but now it is time to build upon the foundation that has been laid. Our writing is a way to do that. Reversed, the Five of Cups is a card of slow and steady healing. As writers, we can use our stories to change the world. We must write what is important to us. Write to conjure power. And share your writing. Go ahead and burn all the bridges. Tell the story you need to tell. That is how you will empower yourself and all who stand with you. 

A card for your plotFive of Wands

The Five of Wands is another challenging card. The card itself shows five wands all tangled together, getting in each other’s way and generally causing a mess. While the suit of wands aligns itself with inspiration and creativity, sometimes your creative impulses get in the way of each other. It may feel like nothing is going right for you right now, especially with regard to plotting. 

The only good part of the Five of Wands is that the difficulties and “stuck” feeling you may have right now is not serious. These problems are all small things, and though the aggravation they may be causing is very real, they are not causing problems that will destroy your plot or your story. If you can stay the course through this moment, everything will sort itself out.

Right now, the solution for your plot is to play around. Take all those little ideas that seem to be getting in each other’s way and play around. Try one plotline, then another. Skip ahead and write a scene that brings you joy. Or go backward and rewrite that crucial scene that started it all. Play around with your ideas. They will work themselves out eventually, and all the problems will vanish. 

A card for your charactersTwo of Pentacles (reversed)

The Two of Pentacles is back! And this time, in the reversed position. As perviously discussed, this is a card of balance. When the Two of Pentacles comes, there is a lot going on in a particular aspect of your story and you need to work hard to get everything to balance itself out. You may feel that things are on the edge of spinning out of control, but this is just where the hard work comes in.

This month, the card shows up for your characters, and in the reversed position. This likely means that something is feeling out of balance for your characters. Maybe they are too much of one thing—your hero is too strong and without flaws, or your villain is too negative without any justification. You might also have the problem your character does not have a balancing element in the story. This could be another character that acts of a foil to your main, or a setting or plot problem that challenges them appropriately. You might not even realize it at first, but an imbalance in character can lead to problems with your story down the line. So take a moment to step back and examine your character. What are their strengths and flaws? Are they being challenged as they need to be? Take actions now, and early, to restore balance. 

A card for unforeseen circumstancesEight of Pentacles (reversed)

The Eight of Pentacles is a card for minutiae, and a whole lot of it. This is the card for opening your inbox and finding three hundred new emails, for realizing that your short story has grown legs and turned into a novel, for the moment when you realize that you committed to teaching a writing seminar that you are completely unexcited about. This card symbolizes hard work, grueling work, and the kind of work that you are not enthusiastic about. 

The goods news is that this is the kind of word that leads to mastery of a skill. It is not wasted work! But the bad news is that this card is reversed, meaning that your effort might feel like it is misdirected and leading to no good end. 

Be wary of misdirections these days, writers. Do not let the world and its problems lead you astray. You are working are—so hard—and you are doing the kind of work that we need in the world. But you may find yourself getting off track. Maybe other work piles on and takes you away from your writing. Maybe you write a plotline that is thirty-thousand words long and suddenly realize that it led you nowhere. Keep checking in with your goals. Where do you want yourself, and your story to be in the end? Keep your eye on that goal so that you do not stray from the path. 

A card for the wider worldThe Magician

This card is amazing. The Magician is the card of inspiration, of making the mystical and dreamy part of your like real. This means that you are in the right place at the right time. You are creating, and doing what the world needs. The world needs your story. You are making it happen. 

When this card shows up for you, be comforted. Know that you are doing the good work. You are creating something beautiful, which will enlighten the world and change it for the better. You are creating magic with your story, creating worlds for the readers to explore, and characters for them to fall in love with. 

You are also creating a story for yourself. Do not forget that you are the first and most important reader of your story, and you must love it more than anything else in the world in order to write it to the end. 

The Magician says: go forth and create. It’s going to be something magical. 

Ann Langley writes speculative fiction and wild poetry, and can be found on twitter @alangleyyy for general chatting and hanging out purposes. She used the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot Deck for this reading, which can be found here.