Poor writers. Doomed by a compulsion to write, knowing their works may never see the light of day, but egged on constantly by the little voice in their heads that whispers dialogue and plots, or hears a song and instantly paints a whole scene that doesn’t belong anywhere in any story they’ve written. But the scene is lovely. Maybe a new story is in order? Time to start plotting! Characters and worlds explode from their minds like Athena, fully formed and ready for action.
But then, 100 pages in, the writer slams headlong into the Wall of Nowhere To Go From Here. The burst of inspiration has burned out like a wet firecracker and the story that kept you up late at night writing, that seemed unstoppable, suddenly… stops.
The only writing advice I’ve gotten that truly made any sense to me was “read a lot.” This works great as a motivational tool; reading definitely makes you want to write. But it is NO match for the Wall of Nowhere To Go From Here. Then you’re back at chapter one, starting something new, putting down your stories for months at a time while waiting for lightning to strike again.
Witch writers, however, have a few tricks up their sleeves.
The Call For Inspiration: Weekly Calliope Ritual
Muses are fascinating creatures. While they each have interesting histories of their own, their primary function in mythology is supporting artists and writers. The idea of the muse — the embodiment of artistic inspiration — has survived into modern times, particularly with fashion designers and photographers. Writers have long called on and credited the muses for their works.
That’s why it’s a no-brainer to call on Calliope, the head honcho muse herself, when seeking inspiration for your own writing. When you need help, do what the masters do: Ask a muse!
This ritual can be performed weekly, and as the inspiration begins to flow, it should perhaps transform into a ceremony of gratitude. This is easily done by changing the wording a bit.
You will need:
- Moonstone — the more the better, but only one is necessary
- Honey and an offering bowl
- A bell
- An orchid plant (in the pot, don’t cut the flower!)
- Three white candles
I suggest performing this ritual at your altar.
To begin, cleanse your area in your preferred way. Your altar should also be “tidied up” if necessary as a show of respect.
Place the orchid in the center of the altar. On either side of the orchid place a white candle, and then place the last candle behind the flower so you’ve created a triangle of sorts with the orchid at the center. Between the candles, place your moonstones so you form a ring around the flower. If you only have one stone, place it in front of the orchid.
Fill your offering bowl with honey and place it in front of the orchid. Light your white candles. Ring the bell 9 times, spacing each ring about a second apart (do it slowly, in other words).
Now that you’ve got her attention, ask for guidance. Instead of writing something here for you to say, I think it’s important for you to phrase this request in your own way. If you need inspiration for a science fiction story or romance, specify that. Maybe you don’t know what you want to write, and you’re open to suggestions. Be as clear as possible and remember to be respectful! After you’ve received the gift of inspiration, continue the ritual weekly for as long as you are writing your story to keep it flowing, but change your wording so that you give thanks instead.
Breaking The Block
While this is similar to calling for inspiration, this spell is designed for those writers a little further along. You’ve got the idea, but you’ve lost your momentum — a terrible feeling.
This spell works in two ways: Removing of obstacles (banishing) and charging your writing skill. Two-pronged approach, witches!
You will need:
- A black candle
- A tool to carve the candle
- Sugar cubes
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Your favorite book
- A hammer
- Sea salt
- A mirror
- A new pen or pencil, color doesn’t matter
- A strand of hair
While this spell is not overly complicated, nor does it have to be performed at a certain time, it will require several days to complete. Don’t try to force anything or be surprised when you haven’t solved your writing problems after the first day. Like writing, this spell is a process and patience is essential. While I usually suggest a lot of meditation and concentration in my spells, for this one it is much better to NOT overthink things.
Write the word “inability” on your black candle, then mix together your cayenne pepper and black pepper. Make sure the word reaches vertically from one end of the candle to the other. You’ll need a candle thick enough to stand on its own while burning, but small enough so that you can burn the whole thing within a matter of days. This should be the only thing this candle is used for.
Tear a page out of your favorite book. Most books have a few blank pages in them, or pages with info about the publisher, the dedication, the title page, etc. Any of these pages will work fine. If you are opposed to damaging your favorite book, which is understandable, pick another book you really like. We think of books as giving us a lot, and they do, but we also give a lot back as readers. We spend vast amounts of time within those pages, with those characters, and even become part of the story as a helpless but deeply involved bystander. You pour your soul into your favorite book and it becomes a part of you. That’s why it’s important in this spell — it’s your support system and a reminder that without a doubt, the author of your favorite story went through what you’re going through. They got through it and so will you.
Place the page from the book in front of you, and place the candle in the center. Around your candle, build a wall of sugar cubes, spaced slightly away from the candle so the wax has room to pool. The wall doesn’t have to be as tall as the candle by any means; two or three rows of sugar cubes will be fine.
Now light the candle, and as the wax begins to pool between candles and the sugar cubes, sprinkle your pepper mixture into it little by little. The sugar cubes should act as a barrier to keep the wax nicely contained and the wax will work to hold the sugar cubes in place, effectively sealing the wall. For the first burn, I recommend letting enough wax pool to secure the wall of sugar cubes, but depending on the size of your candle and how quickly it burns, this might take a while.
After your wall is pretty secure, extinguish the candle. It’s now time to begin part two.
Take a strand of your hair and tightly wrap it around your pen or pencil, then go outside. Place your mirror somewhere it won’t be disturbed, set your pen on it, then sprinkle a ring of salt around the mirror. This cleanses and charges the pen while simultaneously protecting it.
Once the pen has spent one day and one night outside, you can resume part one of this spell. Re-light your black candle and with your charged pen, write one sentence on the book page. It doesn’t matter what the sentence says. It can be a sentence describing the room, or a short description of the day’s weather, a message to your dog — it can be total nonsense! Just write one full sentence. Once you’ve done this, remove a cube of sugar from your sugar wall and smash it with the hammer. Add more pepper mixture to the newly melted wax, then blow out your candle. Return your pen to its mirror and let it charge another day.
Repeat this process until the black candle has completely burned down, then take everything — paper, any remaining sugar, and pepper wax — and toss it into a paper bag. Enjoy smashing that sucker to dust with your hammer, then throw the whole mess away.
Phew! Like I said, this spell is a process. So often in writing, we overthink things instead of letting it come naturally. We fight characters instead of letting them speak. We force plots. We add too much conflict, or not enough and… ARGH! This spell is meant to remove obstacles and reveal new pathways for your writing, to remind you to enjoy yourself. Remember this: If it’s tedious to write, it will be tedious to read so if you start getting bogged down in a plot that’s not fun to write anymore, you’re on the wrong path — smash it with a hammer!
Publish Or Perish
For most writers, the ultimate goal is getting published. Traditionally, you first look for an agent to pitch your story to, then wait patiently for your rejection letter. These days, though, so many other options exist for the writer! Self-publishing gets a bad rap from those in the biz, but it’s absolutely a valid option… just ask E. L. James. My point is, explore your options and get creative. Always protect yourself and your story first, but don’t think that because things have always been done a certain way, they can’t change — especially if your story is good, you don’t mind hustling, and you’ve got magic working for you.
So with that in mind, I’ve written a spell for those writers ready to publish. This spell will ensure your story gets published, though it will work to find a way to publish that’s best for you.
You will need:
- 5 sigils
- Cinnamon, ground
- Gold or yellow candle
- A compass
Usually, when I use sigils they’re for very specific intents. However, for this sigil I want you to keep it a little vague and keep your line of intent simple: “I am published.”
Make 4 copies of this sigil, scanning or photographing the original (to later post online). Now take a little ground cinnamon and dust it onto each sigil, then fold them in half. Light your gold candle, and activate your original sigil, repeating your line of intent and meditating on why you want to be published. What would you like to gain from it? Money? Readership? Fame? Think of that aspect of publishing and not the actual act of getting published. We’re trying to open pathways to what you want, but the pathway isn’t clear yet. That’s okay! You can’t always see your way out of a maze, but knowing the goal helps tremendously. Save the ashes of the sigil for later use.
Once activated, post the image of your original sigil online somewhere. It doesn’t matter where; any social media platform will do. If you don’t feel like it, the image doesn’t even have to be posted publicly — just as long as the image exists somewhere on the internet.
Now it’s time for a trip to the library!
Using your compass, travel first north, then east, south, and west through the library and grab the first book that catches your attention at each cardinal point. Place one of your folded sigils within each book and place it back on the shelf.
As you exit the library, discreetly sprinkle the ashes of the burned original sigil outside. If you are looking to go the traditional route with agents, now is the time to send your pitches out — don’t delay. Otherwise, stay alert in the days and weeks following for other options to be revealed. Be patient, work on your writing in the meantime, and keep visualizing your goal.
Thank you so much for reading, and I wish my writing witches the best of luck. I can’t wait to buy your books!