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…
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.
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:
Back in April, I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.
With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said. And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.
So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.
When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.
I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.
Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.
On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s… but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀
Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.
The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.
And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.
The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list
And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:
And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀
And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.
And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.
Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:
**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 subscribe or 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!**
Hello all. Welcome to NaNoWriMo Preparations… Last year I stumbled upon Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. I wanted to try something different and outlining my novel via Tarot and the Hero’s Journey sounded interesting, creative, and fun. I watched a couple of her videos, read her information about the course, and signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.
Thanks to Arwen, I outlined my novel Witchy Business for NaNoWriMo last year, and I went on to outline yet another novel, both of those are works-in-progress. And now it’s time to prepare for this year’s novel. Out came my notebook with everything from Arwen’s course, along with Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot for Writer’s, two or three of my tarot decks, a notebook, my writer’s bullet journal, and my Writer’s Bible, pens and highlighters, colored index cards. And what do you know… I’m ready. Oh, and the coffee–that’s a must.
And away I go with the start of my outline. I’ve been busy the past two days. I have gotten my supplies together, started my character sketch, started the first part of my outline. Tomorrow I start working on my MC’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). After that it’s the Antagonist and his GMC. First index card with tarot card (a copy of it) is pinned on my tri-fold board–my storyboard no longer looks like a blank canvas.
I feel like I accomplished something today, even though it took me friggin’ forever to get the second part of my NaNoWriMo Prep Pt 2/Beginning of my Outline edited. Grrrr! I really need to figure out the editing software that I purchased so I can quit using Movie Maker. That, or I need to win the lottery so I can afford an iMac. 😀
I’m really excited. My outlining is going well so far. 😀
Slowly but surely I am getting things in my life organized, part of that includes my new writer bullet journal and preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’m using tarot and the hero/heroine’s journey to loosely outline my novel–the same one I started back in November for NaNoWriMo. Since November I’ve changed the first 3-4 chapters completely–I wasn’t starting at the right place. Since November, I’ve been using the 12 week self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” to help me with my creativity and living a creative life. And, since November I’ve become much more organized.
Part of how I’ve become more organized was to stop trying to use pre-made planners, they just don’t work for me, and to instead roll with a system that seems as if it were made for people who are To-Do List’ers–the bullet journal system. I started bullet journaling, and then realized that for me personally, I needed something more along the lines of an omni-journal (so I could throw in my sketch-your-day/illustrate-your-life/Hobonichi style journaling in there), but I needed something separate for my writing. I have a writer’s bible, I use it to put all of my writing stuff in: an insert for the actual novel, which I use when I handwrite my novel, and an insert for what I call my writer journal, where I talk about how my writing went, how much I wrote, what I thought about it, any shiny new ideas…
Planning a novel has been quite a bit of a journey for me–a few years worth of trying to find what works for me. I’ve tried various things (Save the Cat, the Marshall Plan, the Snowflake Method, Janice Hardy’s method for Plotting your Novel, etc) and what has worked the best for me is using Tarot cards and the Hero’s Journey, which I learned from taking Arwen Lynch’s eCourse. I have a playlist on YT where I went through the course:
I had a ton of fun. And am continuing to use it so I can revamp the novel I wrote in November, except now I have a Leuchtturm 1917 Master Notebook to use as my “Writing/Writer” Bullet Journal. I needed more space than the A5 allowed for my planning. And since the journal isn’t leaving my home, except on rare occasion, I knew I’d be fine with the large size of the Master Leuchtturm. (And it is a whopper: over 200 pages of what looks like vanilla colored paper that is perfect for writing (not so much for art journaling though) and it has an Index–a win in my book.)
Now I just need to finish my storyboard, which means making copies of the tarot cards that I pulled for my outline and putting them on the storyboard; cleaning my desk off, and finishing the last bit of my outline. 😀
So here are some pictures of what I’m working on in my bullet journal for writing:
In 2014, I purchased an ebook called “WRITE FASTER With Tarot: Structuring Plots” by Diana Castle. I read it, tried it with the Enchanted Deck of Tarot cards I have by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber (I’ve had that deck since 1990, y’all). The ebook wasn’t expensive, and it was worth the read, but it really didn’t have enough information for me, and as a pantser I really didn’t want to structure my novel, what I really wanted was to use the tarot to inspire me, help feed my creative muse, and for the characters.
Then, in September of 2015 I saw a video by Arwen Lynch on YT about her ecourse for using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to write your novel in 30 days. I debated over it for a bit, and then decided I’d try it. The ecourse is $33, or at least it was when I took it, and well worth that price and more….My only wish was that she’d done a few more videos about it. (HINT< HINT if you happen to be reading this Arwen, lol!).
I began my journey in October, planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, and had a blast. I made videos on YT, I had a journal specifically for my ideas and my journey through the course, and I made a binder to put copies of the emails I printed out. I even kept up with all of it. (Insert pat on the back here because sometimes I lose focus, get distracted, and don’t always follow through with some projects.) Continue reading
The Daily Prompt:The Wanderer: Tell us about the top five places you’ve always wanted to visit.
I thought of the tarot card immediately and decided to write about this instead…I’m always up for visiting new places, and my dream places are a variety of places: Narnia, Scotland, Gilead, Ireland, Derry, the Shire…
The Wanderer, also known as the Fool or the Initiate, and I’m sure there are several other names for him/her. He/she symbolizes you, the soul or person, who embarks upon the journey of life.
In the beginning, we are starting at ground Zero=0.
We are nowhere, nothing…and we have infinite potential. We trust others, we don’t know any better. We are niave and we feel brimming with the possibilities. We are at the begining of our journey of life and anything is possible.
The Wanderer/Fool is naive enough to beleve he/she can fly, follow his/her dreams, trust others and his/herself, and pursue said dreams to the point of wandering off on the journey of life.
I have been the fool, the wanderer. Still am in some ways. I think the journey of life is a constant thing, a work in progress. A bit like Ka’s Wheel (yes, that’s a Stephen King, Dark Tower/Gunslinger/Roland of Gilead reference).
The Wanderer, if smart, allows his/herself to experience new things, embrace the unknown, not care about what others think but reserves judgement of others at the same time.
I often feel like the Wanderer, like my journey in life is a constant work in progress, and though I’m not starting at Ground Zero I often feel a bit like I’m starting anew, or going back around the game board again…
Traditional Meaning: The Fool is full of optimism, hope and the freedom to explore without any preconceived ideas or notions. It’s a fresh start, a clean slate, a new adventure to be approached with excitement and childlike wonder however it is also a reminder that when embarking on a new adventure to look before you leap, take care where you step and watch for the hidden dangers.
Meaning from the book: You have come to a junction or turning point in your life. It may be an unconscious state in which you feel the tide has already turned or sense something is going to happen. In a way it already has. Your spirit must now move on and the desire to leap into the unknown beckons. This may mean leaving behind or giving up some baggage or burden that you have carried with you from the past. Now is the time to be clear and not let fear of falling or sad disillusion with the universe hold you back. Let your imagination carry you into a new set of possibilities. It is a time to travel hopefully and open your arms to new and challenging aspects of the universe.
My Interpretation: I think if you open yourself up to new experiences and new challenges, to the unknown, keeping an open mind, then the truth will reveal itself. There aren’t any certainties in life, but if you move forward with excitement, enthusiasm, and an open heart and mind, yet be cautious of the path you take, of the turns and stops, the journey will at the least be filled with adventure and fun, you’ll learn much along the way, but being open to all that you learn allows you to experience things you wouldn’t have otherwise, and yet being cautious will help you learn from mistakes and maybe help prevent mistakes.