Writer’s block, that dreaded situation many a writer encounters when the words just won’t flow. The ideas are bad. The scenes you’re forcing out dead end into nothingness or tedium. You’re totally uninspired. And the longer it lasts, the worse you feel. And the worse you feel the harder it gets to bust through the brick wall of writer’s block. The harder you try the more tired you might get, until one day perhaps your writer’s block has turned into apathy.
A bit grim, yes. But for anybody who has experienced a prolonged case of blank page syndrome, the word “grim” pretty much sums it up!
Writer’s block might sound like an intellectual problem. And for some, perhaps it is. Perhaps doing some research or re-reading their work or talking to a mentor will help unstick them.
But for many, writer’s block is an emotional hurdle. There is a taproot of self-doubt, perfectionism, or fear that is holding them back from moving forward.
Getting in touch with your spirituality, if that’s something you’re into or open to exploring, is a great way to better understand the root of your block and how you might begin to overcome it.
I have eight quick tips that will help you journey within to diagnose what’s happening on the page. Through these methods, you’ll learn about yourself, look at your story and writing through a different lens, and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
Idea 1: Do a tarot reading.
If you’re already the owner of a tarot or oracle card deck, this is always my first go-to solution for getting an “outside” opinion or shaking new ideas loose. Tarot cards are a great hands-on, visual, tactile tool that can help you get out of your head.
When it comes to writer’s block and tarot cards, you can try a few different things.
- Trying to solve a “simple” writing problem? Draw just one card. Ask the deck for help with a specific scene or challenge and see what it has to say.
- Stuck in the re-writing loop and not making much forward progress? Do a three card spread. Card 1 can represent where the book starts. Card 2 where it is now. And Card 3 where it needs to go. See how you feel about the responses you get.
- If you’re really struggling, you may want to ask less questions about your book and more about yourself. This is where the Celtic Cross tarot spread might come in handy. Ask the deck for guidance on your writing goals or creative pursuits. Journal about what comes up and what you may need to do some deeper healing around so you can move forward with more ease and confidence.
You can read more about writing and tarot cards here if you’d like to dive deeper.
Idea 2: See what astrology has to say about your creative potential.
Astrology is a great way to explore different aspects of yourself and how you show up in the world. From love to career, money to faith, there is so much to explore within the depths of your birth chart.
Including your relationship to writing, creativity, and self-expression.
For the astrologically inclined, taking a look at your birth chart and the current sky can give you new insights into the root of your block and how you might go about transcending.
Keep an eye out for:
- Your Mercury placement. Mercury is the planet of writing, communication, and ideas. Knowing where Mercury lies and what planets make contact with it will help you diagnose if your writing process might be partly to blame for your current lack of inspo. You can think of this as your writing personality. For example, my Mercury is in Virgo. I require structure and order and steps and plans. Pantsing is a path to nowhere for me (you can see my first, unfinished, novel attempt for proof).
- What’s going on in your third house. Your third house is the space in your chart that rules writing, communication, and ideas. You can think of this as your metaphorical writing desk or office. Some people write best or get inspired when surrounded by others. Others write best when their desk is clean and clutterless. Others need an office filled with magnificent works of art. I have a Capricorn third house. I need structure and stability, a kind of well that I can pour all my ideas into. Otherwise, they just spill out, uncaptured. See what sign your third house is for clues on what might help you.
Learn more about astrology and writing here.
Idea 3: Look into your Gene Keys.
While tarot and astrology are more well-known esoteric modalities, Gene Keys might be something you haven’t heard of yet. As long as you have your birth information, they are super easy to pull and you don’t have to know anything to get insights from your report right away!
The Gene Keys combine elements of human design, the I Ching, astrology, and spiritual teachings. So it’s a kind of multi-faceted framework for personal growth, self-discovery, and understanding one’s life path.
This is one of those explorations that can be fun and get your mind off the blank page. It’s pretty “woo”, so perhaps more for the spiritually adventurous and open-minded. You can pull your free profile here.
What might you come to understand? Your free profile will detail what you’re here to learn, what you’re here to do, what keeps you healthy, and what fulfills you. For me, my “genius” lies not in achievement but in flow. When I get over-fixated on the outcome (aka getting published) I lose my way in the actual joy and flow of writing. Writing becomes a chore. And just ask my husband…I do not put a lot of effort into chores.
Idea 4: Do a fire ritual during a full moon.
If you love to track the lunar cycle, use it to your advantage when you have writer’s block! Full moons are a time of completion, the moment when one cycle is fulfilled and ready to be let go of.
Thus, it is a great time releasing old patterns and ways of being. For you, that might be letting go of writer’s block itself. Or it might be the fear of failure from which your writer’s block has sprung. Regardless, a full moon fire ritual might be just what you need to metaphorically and spiritually release the block that is holding you back.
All you need to do is journal (on real paper) about what you’d like to let go of. This can be in the form of a normal journal entry, a list of words or feelings, or even a poem. Tear up your piece of paper. Put the torn pieces into a fireproof bowl or pot, and drop a match into the bowl. Let it burn. Once the fire goes out, see if there is anything left over. The words or phrases that didn’t burn may have something to teach you about what you’re struggling to let go of. (I once had just the word “anger” remaining).
Don’t beat yourself up about writer’s block. There are so many reasons it can strike. Opening yourself up to new tools, from the mystical to the mundane, can give you more resources in which to beat it. And understand yourself better in the process.
Ashley Christiano is a fantasy writer, experienced tarot reader, and professional astrologer based in Los Angeles. As The Novel Mystic, she combines the power of astrology, tarot, and creative writing to empower women, educate the astro-curious, and inspire her own storytelling. You can find her on her website to learn more or get your own reading.