I use tarot in conjunction with writing a lot, as in all the time. One practice that I really enjoy is this simple stream of consciousness exercise. I came up with it last year in preparation for NaNoWriMo. You can use it for personal journaling or creative writing, fiction, non-fiction, whatever you like. It’s also great with morning pages if you follow that practice.
Begin by setting a goal for yourself, 20 minutes, 3 pages, 1000 words, however you would like to measure it. I usually go for 3 pages, but I encourage you to pick the parameters which sound best to you.
Now as I said, this is a stream of consciousness exercise, so the plan is to write and not stop until you hit your goal, whether it’s in minutes, pages or words. To start the exercise you draw a card from a freshly shuffled deck. Use the image in that card as inspiration to get your writing started.
Here are a couple ways you can use your card to inspire you:
- Describe the scene and don’t scrimp on the details
- Write about what might happen next
- Give one of the figures in the card something to say
- Write some commentary about what appears to be going on.
- Zoom in on a small detail in the card and write about that
- Take on the persona of a character in the image and write from their perspective.
For personal journaling you can equate the image to something that is currently on your mind or something that you are struggling with. You might consider what about the card image you find inspiring or bothersome.
Obviously these are just a few of endless possibilities. The important thing is to get that pen moving or to make those computer keys dance. 🙂
Write until you feel yourself beginning to slow down or get stuck, then you draw the next card from the deck and use that as fresh inspirational fuel so that you can keep writing. Continue doing this, whenever you start to loose steam, pull another card, until you reach your goal.
It’s interesting because sometimes when I write my 3 pages I end up only drawing 1 card. I feel inspired and I never run out of things to jot down. Other times I’ve needed 3 or 4 cards just to get through 3 pages. It’s actually more fun when I need 3 or 4 cards, which brings me to an alternative possibility for how you could do this exercise…
Instead of pulling a new card when you start to loose your momentum, you can plan when to pull the next card. For example, you could draw one at the beginning of every new page, or at 5 minute intervals, or every 500 words. You’re still writing continuously, that’s the whole point, but you’re regularly adding a new bit of inspiration. It’s like building up a fire. You add a new log regularly to get it burning nice and steady.
That’s it, pretty simple, but very effective.
I hope you enjoy the exercise and if you try it out I would love to hear how it goes. Write on!
Interested in other ways to use tarot with writing? Check out all my creative writing posts here.