nanowrimo 2019

in just a few short days, i’ll start my third nanowrimo. if you haven’t heard of this challenge before, it’s a november writing project that encourages participants to write 50,000 new words towards a novel or written work. the emphasis is on fiction, but for many of us, this is an opportunity to start chipping away at a non-fiction work, collection, or idea that’s been simmering for some time. it’s exhausting, exhilarating, and exciting, and i’m looking forward to starting work on a book that’s been in the back of my mind for years.

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last year i created a simple spread for nanowrimo, one that was general enough to give some insights into my essay project but still made plenty of room for advice and support. this year i’ve created an updated version, one that still leaves space for all types of projects but can give me the encouragement and focus i’ve been needing in the days leading up to this new beginning. the spread centers around a theme for the month, providing insights into energy and potential challenges for the weeks ahead. i’ve also provided space for the cards to share things to remember and forget, both from past nanowrimo projects as well as from the more broad experiences from this year. balance is always a struggle when pushing to meet intense deadlines, and having a potential outcome in mind is big for me, as i hope to eventually turn this beginning into my first printed and published work.

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personal theme for this year’s nanowrimo work: the star. it’s been a hell of a year, with deaths in the family, living a bicoastal life for six months, attending new workshops and conferences, launching a tarot column and a patreon, working on a book… and yet the star promises healing, renewal, a firmly established sense of self and positivity for the future. this card doesn’t say that everything will be all right, that all my dreams will come true - but what it does remind me is that i am stronger than i realize, have more creativity and magic and brilliance than i know, and that my personal theme for this year’s work will be one of hope. so much is possible, and in taking on this challenge and connecting it to a project i hope to carry forward into the new year, i’m betting on myself. the star lets me know that this process will bring growth and personal power, helping me to move forward on a new path that reflects the magic i carry.

something to remember: strength. the star speaks of healing after loss or destruction, and although strength comes earlier in the major arcana cycle, it represents an ability to be patient, to wait for the right moment, to trust in the power and wisdom of the self. there’s a resilience in this card, a confidence in timing, the awareness of all the wildness and power that’s within without the pressure to prove anything to anyone. this figure is so calm, so sure, knows exactly what her next steps are. and while i may not know exactly what comes after nanowrimo, i feel very sure about the work that i’ll be doing this month. i need to remember this confidence, especially on days when i’m feeling frustrated or confused or uninspired.

something to forget: the muse of i am. a special card for the muse tarot, this archetype comes after the world and speaks to a full acceptance of the self, to movement without doubt, to the patterns that define lifetimes. and that feels like a lot of weight for one little project, hence the permission to forget it. i don’t need to treat this book like the only valuable thing i’ll ever do, don’t need to put extra pressure on myself for every word and idea and concept to be completely perfect in this moment. i’m embracing a spirit of strength, hope, and creation, rather than obsessing about how this will fit into the broader creative pathways of my life. i can let this be what it is, and can focus on being present and creative.

how to maintain balance: muse of emotions. i love the king of cups, but this card isn’t always one that we think of when the word balance comes into play - this ruler is emotional, intuitive, deeply aware of both their own feelings as well as the powerful emotions of those around them. but as an intense and transformational scorpio, i love seeing this card here - because it doesn’t ask me to work in only intellectual boundaries, to focus on patience or logic or passion. instead this card gives me permission to dive deep, to honor the emotions that may spill out during this month, the powerful feelings that so often give me strength. i’ll maintain balance by honoring the depths within me, and by making space for everything my heart can hold.

potential outcome: seven of emotions. this is a card of opportunities, choices, possibilities. it’s connected to daydreams and potential, and while sometimes it comes across as too unfocused, someone lost in their own mind while the world continues around them, in this position i see it as pure promise. working on this project over the course of november will begin to open new pathways, present options that i may not have envisioned before - and honestly, that’s about the best outcome i can imagine for a book like this. i may find it hard to make a decision on the other side, may not know exactly how to move forward - but it won’t be for lack of possibility.

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i’m so encouraged by this spread today, so grateful to the cards and eager to get started. are you participating in nanowrimo this year? feel free to connect with me if you like - my username is 3am.tarot. happy writing!