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  • Writer's pictureEmily Taylor

Today's Writing for TarotWriMo -- 1674 Words

An upright Ace of Cups is an indicator of good things coming to you. Even the picture indicates that your cup may indeed overflow.

This is a fantastic card for day 2 of NaNoWriMo. We are working on shedding old, bad habits and rebuilding good ones for writing. I use the word we, but I really should be using the word “I”. In our household, I am the writer, the one with ink in my veins, the one with a near compulsion to write.

Not too terribly long ago, I brought in money with my writing. I fell out of the habit when I took a full time job in an office. Once the job ended in 2016, I swore I was going to get back into it, but I have been having a difficult time doing so. Life always intervenes.

My ability to focus has been non-existent for the past 4 years. But I am also old enough to know that I can’t wait for inspiration of focus to just appear. I know my weaknesses, and I know that the best way forward is to actually develop those new habits. And, like any other habit, writing requires constant practice and work. You only get better when you actually do it. So, here we are, developing those new habits to have the “cup overflow.”

I love writing, so this should be a relatively easy task, you would think. But, it isn’t always as easy as it seems, even with a labor of love like this. Even as I sit here, I am thinking of the 50 million things I should be doing. Laundry, sorting out the boychild, sorting out the household chores, but I KNOW that I have to make writing as important.

If you want to write something, the biggest step is actually TO WRITE. It’s also the biggest hurdle. It is hard, sometimes, in a society that doesn’t value the work of writing. Writers are constantly asked to do writing while also being told that their work is too expensive, it costs too much for something someone could do themselves. Or we’re told to offer up our work, for free, for “exposure”. Sorry, but “exposure” doesn’t pay the bills, and if you can do it yourself, then DO IT.

The hard part about that too is that there IS a ton of effort that goes into crafting words. I can easily string words together that make sense, but it’s hard to actually evoke emotion to go with them, to create suspense, or heartache, or hope. It’s something that you HAVE to love to do, and you have to employ psychology, sociology, philosophy, and various other cross disciplines to do so.

What makes people tick, what do they value, what do they fear, and how do you communicate that to them? How do you make it sound GOOD and not stilted? How do you craft effective dialogue without sounding like a Dick and Jane book? Writers will often actually hold these conversations outloud, alone, to literally HEAR how they sound. I’ve done it, I know Bart’s done it, and, of course, we’ve passed that on to the Boychild as well. The poor kid is doomed.

You close your eyes and imagine the setting, you imagine the scents and sounds of THAT WORLD around you. How does it feel, taste, smell, sound? If you’re on a dock, what do you hear? Depending on the time setting, how does it smell? A modern setting, you can taste the sharp, metallic tang of fuel in the air, but in a less industrial setting, it is the scent of fish and salt, heavy in the humid air. Do you hear the wooden slats of the dock creaking from the constant pressure of the waves and ships? Are the ropes groaning under the weight of holding ships in place?

What does it sound like? Is it an eerie silence from an abandoned shipyard? Are there crowds of sailors, tossing goods back and forth from ship to dock? Is there heavy machinery grinding and wailing as it transports the heavy crates?

Writers have to LIVE those areas and then be able to describe it.

The best writers are also good readers. They devour books, swallowing them whole. And hopefully, they are reading a wide variety. It’s easy to read what is in line with what you want to write, but even better writing pulls from outside the genre. Just like with descriptions, you should use unexpected connections to make your point clear.

And all of this only comes with practice. The more you write, the better you’ll be. I think someone once said it takes 10000 hours of practice to actually be a master at something, and it has to be focused, well done practice. That’s 417 days in total, and that doesn’t include the hours and hours that go into maintaining that ability. Writing, just like anything else requires continued practice. If you don’t use the ability, you lose it.

Which is why I am doing this. I love writing, and I refuse to continue to let what is going on now steal that from me. But, in order to prevent that, I have to make it important. And so here we are. I am determined to build that habit again, to spark the writing again, and I am not going to wait around for it to happen on its own. Life is distracting, ADHD is constantly pulling me in 500 different directions, so I need a way to hold myself accountable.

And this is it. I am streaming my writing in part because there are people out there who WILL ask what is going on, why am I not pushing forward? And that’s what I need. Writers, even introverted ones like me, need their communities. And, as a streamer and a writer, I feel that the Ace of Cups is fitting here too.

The streaming community I’ve stumbled into is the best. Overall, it is a positive and welcoming place. I feel that the Husband and I really lucked out in many ways. And, I look forward to getting the community to grow. I am hopeful about what the future holds both in streaming and writing, and I am confident that the friends I have made and am making are the kind who will celebrate those successes and not begrudge them.

My cup truly is overflowing with those blessings, a supportive and amazing group of friends, a husband that pushes me to be better and do more, and a chance to build on my knowledge and push forward, even at my advanced streaming age. I do hope that the Ace of Cups is right in this case, that by pushing forward in these creative aspects, we will find our niche. The Husband and I are very non-standard people, me more than him. As my mother told me, not everyone is cut out to be a worker bee. And I definitely feel that.

I was never good at following the leader, preferring to do things my way, even when that made it more difficult, and I feel like that has bitten me in the ass more than once. But, there is always the potential for things to grow. If no one ever made a new path, we would never find new places. And, if anything, I hope my kids remember that we pushed forward to make a path not just for us, but for them as well. We try new things so that others can see our mistakes, learn from them, and not repeat them.

Is it successful? Not always. Are we successful? It depends on your definition of success. We are not rich. That’s for sure, but the definition of success should not lie in wealth. And that’s part of what I think the Cup in the Ace of Cups represents. More than monetary payout, your metaphorical cup should be filled with all things that you hold dear. And I hope to all the powers that be that it’s more than money.

So what is in your cup? We have a home, family, each other, I have books and slippers, and we have enough to feel contentment most of the time. We can’t afford vacations, but we have our weekends with coffee. We have our video games and friends. And life, sometimes, requires a realignment of those priorities. I know part of why we are where we are is because of those priorities. It was important to take care of the needs of our child, so we have consistently worked to have a schedule where we could homeschool him. It was important to have space to garden, so we got a place with enough yard space to do that. There are things we could have placed at a higher priority, but overall, I think we’re content with what we have.

And I think it is important for us to be able to recognize and embrace those “blessings” for lack of a better word.

Will this new push for creativity, this attempt to re-build writing habits and rediscover that talent and love for writing help? I have to believe it will. This goes back to the idea that not all of us are worker bees as well, in a way. I’d rather find a way to make something I love and enjoy help me make money than have to listen to someone else. I know that’s a character flaw I possess, and it is one I have perpetually struggled to work around. But, knowing that, I also know that if I can push in a different direction and help my family, I should.

So, I will work hard at this. I will retake my writing and work at streaming as if they were both full time jobs. And, hopefully, I will be able to make both work for me, for us. And, at the end of the day, that creativity can only increase my contentment, right?


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