March 22

How I use Tarot for my Writing

In October 2015, I was introduced to using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey for writing by the wonderful and amazing Arwen Lynch. I watched her video Character Interview Spread. And it was synchronicity. I knew I had to take her course. I knew I needed to find out more. I’m a visual person so using a visual aid like tarot made sense to my brain (especially since I’m one of those folks who uses their right and left brain in various ways to learn, write, create art, etc.).

I purchased Arwen’s course: 33 Days to Finish Your Book.  And it was worth every dime I spent–though to be honest it isn’t expensive at all. Using tarot and the hero’s journey meant I needed to know more about the actual hero’s journey. So when I signed up the for the course, I also purchased Vogler’s The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, as well as Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and the Tarot Kit for Beginners. If you’re going to use tarot for your writing then you need a basic deck, and the only tarot deck I had wasn’t a Rider-Waite deck, which is  what most people would consider to be a core/basic deck. Since then I’ve accrued several various types of tarot and oracle decks and books.

Why? Well, using tarot cards (along with oracle cards) for my writing has proven to be a powerful brainstorming tool, a wonderful and exciting way to open and increase my imagination, as well as my intuition in regard to my writing. I soon realized I wanted to know as much as I could about using tarot for writing so I also purchased Corrine Kenner’s Tarot for Writers, and I’ve just purchased Kenner’s Astrology for Writers (I’ll let you know how that one is next Wednesday). Along that same line, I have Linda Perfect’s The Storyteller’s Tarot  and Diana Castle’s Writer Faster With Tarot . So…

What do I think about using tarot for my writing? Has it really helped? How do you use tarot for writing?

Writers have used various prompts and other tools to help with their writing for ages. Famous authors like Stephen King, Piers Anthony, and John Steinbeck are just a few writers who have used tarot cards for inspiration, so why not me? Well, it’s definitely helped me with my writing. Back in October of 2015, I created a video series when I was preparing for November’s NaNoWriMo that showed my journey with tarot and the hero’s journey, using Arwen’s course and many of the books I’ve mentioned above (but mostly, in the beginning it was Arwen’s course that laid the foundation).


Since then I’ve Arwen’s course, tarot, and the hero’s journey, as well as a few other things (like some of the books I’ve mentioned above) for my writing and it has helped me grow as a writer. Not only have I gone from being a pantser to a planner in regard to outlining, but I now love outlining, though I am still a bit of a loose outliner (meaning, I don’t actually outline scenes, just Acts and Chapters). I love creating Character Profiles/Sketches using Tarot. And now that I’ve found  Caroline Myss’ Archetype Cards it is becoming much easier to create my Character Profiles/Sketches.

Within the tart cards there are 22 Major Arcana cards that represent major events, life’s journey, archetypes, etc., and 56 Minor Arcana that represent everyday events, everyday people, etc.

The Minor Arcana is broken down into suits (like a regular deck of playing cards) and you’ll definitely want cards with pictures on them (there are PIP decks out there that don’t have cards with images in the background–they look more like regular playing cards).

  • Wands correspond to Clubs, and represent the element of Fire (as a wand, which is usually made of wood, burns), and symbolize spiritual experience. Or it might be someone with a fiery personality; or tempers flaring; or maybe something is about to go up in flames; literally, something catches on fire or figuratively, something explosive happens.
  • Cups or Chalices correspond to Hearts, and represent the element of Water (a cup or chalice holds water/liquid), and symbolize emotional stuff. Or it might be someone who is very emotional; intuition; or someone has a specific desire or want; or it could be the beginning of a love affair (this could be your B story, or if you’re writing a romance a definite lead into your story).
  • Swords correspond to Spades, and represent the element of Air (swords cut through the air, think of Excalibur), and symbolize thought and communication (swords and spades both “have a point to make”). Or it could be someone who is very intellectual; or someone who uses words as weapons; or maybe ideas between others come into conflict; or it could be that people in your story have interests in common.
  • Coins or Pentacles correspond to Diamonds, and represent the element of Earth (or money, or a few other things), and symbolize physical, material, and financial things. Or  it could be someone who is wealthy; or someone having money trouble;  or someone is buying or selling real estate; or maybe there is an opportunity to make lots of money.

Like a regular deck of playing cards you will find court cards within each of the suits:  King, Queen, Knight (Prince), and Page or Knave (Princess).  You will come across some differences between various decks so I find it helpful to read the booklet that comes with your cards. But it’s important that you choose a deck that speaks to you in some way.  Because with tarot you can apply the imagery and symbolism of the 78 cards of the tarot to help you with things like developing plot, conflict, character profiles or sketches, setting and scenery, as well as to introduce conflict, twists, etc..

There are a number of books and spreads out there to help learn tarot.  I looked up a few worksheets online (check out pinterest), but I basically use the spreads that Arwen uses for the course, and sometimes I add in a spread or two from Kenner’s book. You can do whatever feels comfortable to you, what works best. As a matter of fact, you could use 3 act structure, Save the Cat, or whatever other outlining method you prefer and add tarot to the mix.

When it comes to creative aids for my writing I have an open mind, which means I usually embrace anything and everything that might help me with my writing process. 😀 Which is why I’ve preordered: Vivien Caethe and Amber Peter’s book The Writer’s Block Tarot, and now have the Tarot Coloring Book by Theresa Reed.

March 20

If we were having coffee

I’d tell you about how I’m going to work on getting back to the basics in April, #backtobasicsapril. A few years ago, I participated, along with a lot of other journalers and planners,  in #onebookjuly with Rhomany’s Realm, Carie Harling, and MissVickybee. Since then I’ve participated every year since. This year I can’t wait for July, and there are so many other things in my life that I need to get back to the basics with I knew I needed to do something. Here is the link to the playlist for #onebookjuly.

I mentioned my dilemma in a previous coffee chat, as well as a different video on my YT channel. Many others said they were feeling the same way. Many asked if we could do #onebookjuly early. I don’t see why we couldn’t, but I need to do more than get back to the basics with my journaling and planning, I need to purge, clean, and organize my supplies, my house, my life…especially with Camp NaNoWriMo starting April 1st.

In the spirit of Rhomany, Carie, and Vicky’s #onebookjuly theme, which is getting back to the basics of planning, we thought we’d call our mission for April #backtobasicsapril. Some of us will be getting back to the basics with their budgets, or with their meal planning, their craft/journal/planner supplies, their homes, their planners, journals, or some of those or maybe all of those, as well as a few other things most likely. I am going to start the purging, cleaning, and organizing of my desk this week because I will (hopefully) be getting my new computer built this coming weekend, but everything else starts on April 1st. 😀

What that means for me is pretty simple. During the month of April, and this might last thru the whole summer, I am going to purge, clean, and organize at least big are of our home each week. The first week might be what’s in our kitchen cabinets, or I might work on my creative room. The second week I might work on the closets, or the bathrooms. Along with that, I’m going to get back to basics with meals and meal planning since I’m going to be really busy because of Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m thinking that I’ll most likely make quite a few crockpot meals, one pot meals, and meals that provide ample left overs so things are easy during April. Let’s face, throwing your meal in a crockpot or one pot to cook while you write, journal, clean, etc. is so much easier than standing over a stove cooking a meal. 😀

Along those lines, I’m also pairing down my journaling and planning. The premise of #onebookjuly is one book, one pen, one month. I know I won’t be doing that in April, but  I can pair it down to my supply travel bag, one traveler’s notebook, my Writer’s Bible TN, my Hobonichi A6 for journal prompts, for all of April. That means putting aside my Hobonichi A5, my Hobonichi Weeks, my work bullet journal, and my spiritual/tarot bullet journal. (I don’t think I left anything out but if I did I’ll let you know in an upcoming post.)

I’ve put the link to Rhomany’s intro to #onebookjuly, which I will be participating in this year, as well, in the accompanying video about this. If I could have, I would have just waited for July but with so much going on in April, and having been sick for the past 6 weeks and getting behind in things like my journals, planners (bullet journals), the housework, etc., I knew I needed to do something now.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that this stomach flu is hell. Mr. Rockstar has had it for 7 weeks now, and I’ve had it for 6 weeks, and though we seem to get a break from it for a day or two here and there–it is a pain in the ass (no pun, oh alright pun intended). At least I am not throwing up anymore. Along with the stomach flu, last week I got a cold (we had snow, yes snow, in South Carolina the beginning of March. WTH? No snow in the months that are actually winter around here, like December, January, or February, but in March. My azalea’s had blooms, my roses had buds, and the snow killed them. Not a happy Burgess).

Here is the video about #backtobasicsapril:

I hope y’all have a great week. Hopefully, I’ll have more content soon… Perhaps a Camp NaNoWriMo post or three. 😀


March 9

New Journal Temptation

Nanamipaper’s Sevenseas Crossfield

As a lover of all things stationery, and a journal/book/DIY/art/book/writer nerd, I am, I admit, often tempted to start a new journal. Sometimes the temptation arises because I see a shiny new journal on a shelf in a store, or a new journal via someone’s YT video, FB post, IG picture, etc., or simply because I have gotten bored, anxious, or tired of the current journal I am using–or perhaps because I’m frustrated with what I’ve been doing. Maybe it started out great but somewhere along the way what I wanted the pages, and eventually the journal, to look like is not what it looks like.

I’m not alone in this. About once every few months someone asks me if I am ever tempted to start a new journal before I’ve finished my current, or how to do stick with a journal until I’ve used up the whole journal, or am I ever tempted to start a new journal–shiny new journal syndrome (much like the shiny new idea syndrome in regard to writing, which I know way too much about for my own good). Every time I start a new journal before finishing the current journal I regret it for all of about 5 minutes–the shiny new pages are just so pretty, the crisp clean feel of the new journal is overwhelming in its beauty, the newness… and yet–

I can’t help but wonder if all of this angst over my journals and planning system are about the journals/planning or if it’s really about the depression and anxiety that have increased from being sick for over a month. Being sick has definitely taken a toll on me. Now that I’m finally feeling better and more like myself I realize that it’s probably a combination of all of the above. I’m working on things so that I feel more better.

If you would like to see what I’ve been up to you can watch my coffee chat video from Monday where I talk about how I’m not feeling the journal/planner peace.

Or you can watch my Writer Wednesday video about  my tips for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is only 3 weeks away.

February 19

Two years art or visual journaling anniversary

This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.

I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:

Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.

I just started a new outlining series using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey on YT for my Witchy Business book, which is now called “The Cursed.”

I’ve also committed to a 3 (or 4 part) art/visual journal supplies video series, the first video (though I do have an older video about journal supplies) is about budget journal supplies and how to use them. I plan on doing one video about what I use on a regular basis (my favorites), along with a medium range supply video, and then another about my wishlist and high quality journal supplies. I will most likely demonstrate the products (most of which have been purchased by me or given to me via happy mail or were presents) in my videos.

So what does all of this have to do with my two year art/visual journalversary? I’m so glad you asked.

Two years ago if you’d asked me if I’d have almost 1700 subscribers (a good portion of those are more interested in my journal videos than in my writerly videos, which is funny because I started YT making writerly videos, specifically NaNoWriMo related videos), I’d have just shook my head and thought, “No way…” but as I look at my subscriber count now compared to my blog now I have way more subscribers on YT than I do on my blog/website, and back then I had a great many more blog followers. I was a blogger at heart back then. But as my horizons broadened on my journey into art/visual journaling so did my vlogging journey.

I’ve found that many creatives have more than one creative interest. For example, I am a writer who loves creating art. I am also a big DIYer. I can crochet, but I’m limited to scarves or blankets, maybe a pot holder or two. My husband is a musician–he plays guitar and sings. One of my friends is a writer; she also quilts and art journals. Or maybe she is a quilter who also writes and art journals. 😀 Being creative isn’t limited to art, writing, or music. Creativity is used when planning a garden, or building a treehouse, or decorating your home, or organizing your kitchen, or arranging pictures on the wall of your living room.

I would not have imagined two years ago that I would be on Patreon, that my YT channel would have almost 2K subscribers, or that I’d be thought of by some of my creative tribe as a sort of creativity coach. But I am glad that I am. Art and Words sooth my soul. Brightens my mood. And so much more.

February 8

New Outline Series for Witchy Business Novel

Last week I created the first video for my new outlining process of my “Witchy Business” novel. Since I am changing POV, and a few other things, and quite a few people asked questions about how I use Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline, I thought I’d work on my novel and make it a video series at the same time.

Today I posted the third video in the outlining series.

This week I’ll concentrate more on an actual blog post for this, but for now I have:

Hope you enjoy the videos.

January 30

Bullet Journal for Writers, Writer’s Bible, and Novel Notebook

Quite a few of my YT subscribers requested that I go back through my outlining process since I’m revamping my “Witchy Business” book, now titled “The Seventh: The Carolina Witches Chronicles.” The second book in the series is called, “The Curse of Seven: The Carolina Witches Chronicles.” In order to do the book(s) justice, I really need to revamp the outline, not just the POV. Originally I used 1st person POV. I soon realized, while working on a completely different novel, that the “Witchy Business/The Seventh” book needed 3rd person POV. Funny how that works… it’s not always shiny new ideas that tempt us while writing, it can be old ideas that won’t leave us alone that also tempt us.

My Writer’s Bible. An A5 bifold Jonelifish.

I took a look at the original outline, including the videos from the outline process, and I realized I had the right idea… at least for the most part, but my antagonist was not thought out enough, nor did I have a clear ending. I need to come up with my last sentence… that sentence just before I have my husband type “The End,” (like in Stephen King’s Bag of Bones”).

When I first started writing again all I could think about was writing. I soon realized, after NaNoWriMo 2013, that pantsing wasn’t going to work. Not anymore. I hadn’t written fiction in almost two decades, so I needed to find my writing voice, figure out my groove again. That took a bit of time, but after a year (or more) I found my voice, and slowly found my groove, in part because of Arwen Lynch’s eCourse 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. (The original video playlist where I followed the course to outline my novel is on YT here.) After using Arwen’s eCourse to outline the Witchy Business novel for NaNoWriMo 2015, I found that I also liked the book Tarot for Writer’s by Corrine Kenner. Since then I’ve been finding my own groove using that combination.

I’ve also found that keeping my “writing stuff” in my Jonelifish (aka my “writer’s bible) has been helpful. When I initially set it up I had quite a few inserts in there, but as time passed, I’ve slowly but surely found my groove with that as well–and I now have what I am calling a writer’s bullet journal (based on Ryder Carroll’s Bullet Journal method), a writing journal, and a novel notebook. I write the bulk of my novel by hand, putting each chapter into the computer as I finish it (editing as I transfer my handwritten novel into the computer). 

The first time I set a bullet journal for writing it worked but not as well as I had hoped, and I soon realized it was because I had too many other things in there as well. Sometimes less is more. This time, I decided to do things a bit differently. The video above explains things in much more detail, but suffice to say, my writer’s bullet journal will be put to great use over the next few months–I am starting a new outlining series for my “witchy business” novel this Wednesday, February 1st. Since I need to revamp the novel, switch POV, change the first chapter, etc. I’m starting from (almost) scratch. The pen I’m using in the above picture is a TWSBI Eco Clear, M nib.

For additional information regarding Arwen’s method of outlining using Tarot check out this video.  Arwen’s YT video using Tarot for writing:

Some of the Tarot Decks I use:

Wizards’ Tarot Deck by Corrine Kenner:

Rider Waite Tarot Deck:

Radiant Rider Waite Tarot Deck in Tin:

Lord of the Rings Tarot:

The Hobbit Tarot:

The Witches Tarot:

And if you would like your own Jonelifish Traveler’s Notebook check out the website for Jonelifish here: If you use my code: “Burgess10” You can get 10% off your Jonelifish purchase—good  for all items except for custom orders, which are not listed in the shop but are made through contacting them.


**** This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!




January 22

Journals, Planners, and More for 2017, part 2

Here is what I’ve setup in regard to journals, planners, and writing for 2017 (so far).

January 22

Coffee Chat, Journals, Planners, and more for 2017

2016 taught me a lot about what worked and didn’t work for me in regard to planning, journaling, drawing, painting, goal setting, editing videos, etc… I learned so much last year. Part of what I learned is the living a creative life is my passion, but it’s also part of my purpose.

Because there were a few things that did and didn’t work I changed things up this year.

Here is my coffee chat about some of this:

January 17

The Artist’s Way Week 1 2017

Have you ever thought “Why on earth did I ever think I could be an artist, writer, poet, singer, ____ fill in the blank?” Or “Why am I trying to do this? I’m never going to make it as a(n) ____, I should just find something else to do with my time.”  Last year when I first started working on Cameron’s 12 week self-guided course The Artist’s Way I couldn’t help but feel like I was an imposter… in the back of my mind I felt like a pretend writer/artist…This past week was week one of my 2017 journey with The Artist’s Way and I don’t feel so much like an imposter anymore, but I have realized that I do still have some self doubt, as well as the overwhelming need to pile too much stuff on myself, which equals stress, a lack of individual focus, and can lead to not following through with at least one or two things.

I’m going to add a video to the bottom of the post where I talk about a few other things from week 1, my actual check in, and here on the blog post I’m going to delve into a few other things like how differently I feel this go round. How much trouble I’ve had delving into the Morning pages…

Last year when I was working on The Artist’s Way I knew I needed to work on the root of my writer’s block, on my lack of belief in myself as an artist, and my self-doubt in general. I am a creative person. I owned that shit! I learned to say “I’m a writer!” loudly and proudly. And by the end of 2016, I’d learned to say ‘I’m an artist,” proudly. After a thirty years plus some hiatus from creating art, and then to jump into the “Fauxbonichi/Hobonichi/etc” style journaling, adding doodles and watercolor to my journal pages, and then to actually creating art on watercolor paper, and even on canvas, and signing up for Patreon this past year–well, let’s just say I climbed more than quite a few hurdles.

However, for every two or three hurdles I manged to climb over, it felt like there was yet another (or three) obstacles…I learned a great deal about myself last year, and I’m learning even more this year. I learned quite a few things just last week. One of the things I need to remember is that I need to have patience with myself. I could make a list, but instead I’m going to say that Self-Care has become an even more important part of my life. This week as I work on week two,  I’ll be working on Morning Pages first thing. I’m going to make it my top priority first thing in the morning. Another thing I am going to work on is taking Wednesday, and maybe even Friday, off from YT. I need a bit of a break, some time to get a few things together–I’m going to make a few changes, and I need a few days to figure things out.

There is this part of me that feels guilty because I need a break… I shouldn’t feel guilty for needed a break. For taking a bit of “me time.” In the video I have linked below, I say “I’m sorry, but not sorry,” and that is the truth. Rationally, I know I need this break, but it does bother me that people might be disappointed, and yet if I am to continue to make at least decent content than I have to take a break. I’m still healing, I need a bit more rest than I’ve been getting, and my body is screaming at me to get that rest. My mind is screaming at me to figure this shit out because I’ve piled too much on myself for the beginning of this year, and I need to spread out the projects a little better.

January 9

Journal/Planner Overlap

As I was getting everything together for 2017, my planner/journal systems, I realized I had a bit of overlap. Last year I started out the year with a Leonie Dawson planner, a bullet journal in a Leuchtturm 1917,  my Omni Journal, and my writer bullet journal, along with a few other things. Within a month or so I knew that I wouldn’t really use the ring bound planner–I’m not a fan of ring bound or spiral bound notebooks, journals, planners. I have a large ring binder that I store my writing stuff in: research, printouts, etc, but it is for reference only, I don’t work out of it.

And as the year progressed, I soon realized that bullet journaling was being merged with my art journal/chronicle your life journal/Hobonichi-Fauxbonichi style journaling, so I (once again) combined bullet journaling with everything else that was in my Omni Journal. My hybrid/everything/catchall journal. 🙂


For #onebookjuly2016 I used my Omni Journal for everything, except for the writing stuff. I learned how to use the “one journal for all” and as the month progressed I learned that I could even include my writing stuff in the Omni Journal, at least the basics, like shiny new ideas that pop into my head, or a line that kept bugging me, or a character that didn’t want to act right… Working things out on paper is so much easier for me… ADHD and all that. Thanks to #onebookjuly I learned how my brain works in regard to planning, journaling, and what system works best for me.

After #onebookjuly, and on into the end of the year,  I worked on putting my systems in place, systems that work for me.

My Omni Journal: the Hub, sort of the Grand Central Station of everything, which is usually in my trifold Jonelifish Mermaid TN, along with a few inserts for specific things.

My Writer’s Bible, a Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook) that houses my writer bullet journal, my novel insert, and my writer journal.

My Projects Jonelifish TN, which housed my project bullet journal, an insert for the Dark Tower reading project, and a few other inserts for certain projects.

And my Hobonichi Techo Cousin (A5) that was sort of an art journal.

For 2017 I knew I wanted to change a few things. Make changes that would help me stay organized, still be creative, and would utilize my strengths and yet help me improve my weak areas (getting distracted easily, forgetting things even though I wrote them down, etc). So I took a look at the systems I had in place, what was working, what was only working so-so, and what I knew I wanted to change. Then I did a bit of research into what was out there. I love the Hobonichi. Love Tomoe River Paper. My Omni Journal has 68 gsm Tomoe River paper, it’s an Enigma from Taroko Design. 😀 And my prefered journal size is an A5, so I knew I wanted another Hobonichi Techo Cousin, but did I really have a need for it? And I wanted to try the Hobonichi A6 English planner, but (again) did I have a need for it? And then there was the Hobonichi Weeks. Need or Want?

If I’m being honest, the Hobonichis’ were wants, not needs. The Enigma–my Omni Journal is more than sufficient for all of my actual needs, but if I used it for every single thing I’d go through it in 3 months, which means I’d need 4 for the year instead of 2. I write a lot. Draw a lot. Write big…

Here is the video of my Coffee Chat about Journal/Planner overlap if you’d like more detail. Soon I’ll be doing a show and tell of exactly what I am using and how. 😀