Magical writing is not about word choice or grammar. Not as a focus. It’s not about choosing the perfect topic or having lots of expertise. None of this makes captivating writing – in any field.
For me, writing is a means of discovery. It is a process which allows me to tap into something that surprises even myself. It opens doors. When you find that special sweet spot, your writing can be about any topic and suddenly magic is happening.
Without this, writing is regurgitation. It’s boring.
So my continual question is, what makes my writing very alive?
And so it has been with all of my books. It is my ongoing pursuit. My methods are constantly in development. And no one has instructed me. No class, no teacher. It is my relentless curiosity, my unshakeable inkling that there is something beyond myself, just waiting to be discovered. Writing can be magic.
So here are three tips on how to write magically that I have used in my own books on card reading and divination.
TIP #1: The “Manual” Method
With my first book (The Playing Card Oracles) it was all very manual. This means it was the actual act of writing, and I mean pen on the paper, that freed my inner voice. And this is what we’re talking about here. Freeing the inner voice.
So I would doodle, and write, and play with writing styles – often breaking into capital letters, for example, or allowing my writing to become very big and ornate, ignoring lines on the paper and adding extra spirals to everything. Basically just breaking out of my ingrained, elementary school “write the letters by tracing this dotted line six million times.” I particularly enjoyed misspelling words. It was fun. And something was happening.
New ideas, like glimmering nuggets, “tumbled out” onto the page.
So with my first book, every single word was handwritten first, usually many times, as part of the invocation of a greater knowing. I used the act of writing as a creative exercise to get into new parts of my brain. It worked.
TIP #2: The “Presence” Method
Second technique came with second book, Oracle Alchemy.
This technique was more subtle in practice than the first, and what I would term “presence.”
What I did was tune into the present moment: meaning my breath, the weight of my body on the chair, etc… and allowing the writing itself to become more in the background of my attention.
This worked as well.
I was able to type away on the computer, returning again and again to what was here and now, staying OUT of my head as much as possible, and just letting the fingers fly.
This technique, for me, required a lot of “to and fro”. In other words forgetting the exercise and slipping back into racking my brain for the next word, and then remembering and bringing my attention back to just the breathing or the sounds in my room, etc..
It’s an interesting kind of expansive attention, a kind of multi-tasking that allows the everyday brain take the back seat instead of run the show.
Again, with a little patience the glimmering nuggets came tumbling out.
3) TIP #3: The “Voice of Authority” Method
This tip only emerged with my third book, The Doors of Somlipith. So I actually used the first two of these tips too, sort of loosely, with the addition of something new.
The new approach was simple. I myself wasn’t going to write anything. I assumed a new voice, the voice that already had the knowledge I myself was just searching for. The voice of knowing and authority I was too shy and “humble” to embody previously. It was definitely an experiment in the beginning.
At first what came out seemed super pompous to me. But what the hell? I just let her rip. The great thing about writing is it’s easy to delete stuff later if you really don’t like it, so there’s no harm in trying something. No harm in saying something that sounds potentially totally stupid.
And this new “voice” changed everything. The writing reached a new level. And I was able to write much more quickly, as long as I didn’t forget the technique.
Of course, there is the strong tendency to fall back into ordinary ways – the “to and fro” described in the previous tip. All these methods I find to be very much a weaving between the technique and something more out of habit. Always the clue that I have forgotten or “slipped out of it” is I find myself struggling. Eventually there’s this “aha” and I go back in. It’s an attention thing.
Which brings up another tip for writing in general: Get over needing everything you write to be brilliant. There’s going to be dull rubble along with the gold nuggets. More rubble than nuggets. Way more. And I often have this image of myself when I’m writing as one of those old prospectors, kneeling by the side of the river. One shiny piece in the pan is plenty.
Remember, no great artist in any field is always genius all the time. In actuality, if you look into the larger body of work of any of the famous names in writing, or painting, or even great sports stars, etc… there’s plenty of mediocrity right alongside those moments that made them famous. Be tolerant of yourself.
And KNOW you have something valuable to say. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, and try something different. Experiment with the techniques above and let me know in the comments how it turns out!