The New Moon & The Art of Not Writing
Today’s guest post comes from Licia Morelli, award winning and best selling author of The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation and I Am Darn Tough.
Licia’s writing has been featured in Vanity Fair, The Boston Globe, Publisher’s Weekly, The Rumpus, elephant journal, read.poetry, ARTS Magazine, Maine Media Workshops + College, John’s Hopkins University Press and more. She is also a poet and prose writer working on her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has worked as an editorial director in the online marketing industry for over 10 years.
Licia believes more people should trust their intuition and eat chocolate chip cookies (both things she credits to good writing).
I’ll be the first to admit: I spend a lot of time not writing.
There are days when I stare out the window or wander forest trails in search of ideas. I also read a lot when I feel stuck on words that can’t be wrangled. It’s a tricky thing this writing life and when we can accept that sometimes the “writing” isn’t actually the act of writing but more contemplation before writing, then we have a freedom that may not have existed before in our craft.
Something I’ve begun to discover in my own writing rhythm is how at different times of the month, my writing is much more fluid than others, and at other times it’s much more stuck. This week the new moon is on the rise – it’s a new moon in Virgo and is a moon that creates a potent energy of going inward, being contemplative and considering purpose.
New moons are the most intuitive and creative part of the month and for writers this means that we have an opportunity to tap in and really feel out our imaginative qualities. It also means we don’t necessarily put pen to page.
In thinking about this phase of the moon and how, as writers, we’re always looking to understand our own processes, I thought I’d offer a FAQ of the New Moon & The Art of Non-Writing time of the month. May it give you courage to be bold in your contemplative, non-action (at least until next week).
Question: I’ve been staring out the window this week (A LOT) I feel like I’m not writing anything – why is this happening?
Right now we’re in the new moon in Virgo. The new moon is all about going inward and being contemplative about process, ideas, visions, and creative dreaming. It’s not about action, pen to paper, or getting a ton done. The rhythm of writing in the new moon is the preparation for what is to come – you may find this week you’re looking out the window for long hours or doing more reading. This is a good sign, you’re filling up the creative tank. Next week, as the new moon energy begins to wane, you’ll find that all that information you’ve gathered will spill out and you will be writing a ton now that you’ve gathered all of your ideas.
Question: What if I feel guilty about not writing?
Let’s all be “guilt free” about our writing process, shall we? Here’s a quick prompt to help you move past that feeling of guilt and into that feeling of preparation. Set a timer for 5 minutes and number your paper 1-25. At the top of the page title the list “Things I’ve Done This Week That Have Inspired Me” Hit the timer and then brainstorm everything that you’ve done or encountered this week in your “non-writing” that you know will inform your writing in the future. Once complete, review it and remind yourself that even if you’re not typing sentences you are still gathering ideas and inspiration for future paragraphs.
Question: How can I trust that I won’t be stuck in “gathering” mode forever?
I love this question and here’s why – every writer I’ve ever met that LOVES to write, that truly can’t live without writing, always proclaims at some point during the month, “that’s it. I’m a has-been. A hack. A wash up.” And then the very next day, right when they think they’re going to throw in the towel and give it all up to be an accountant, they sit down and begin again. Words flying out of them bit by bit, they find their rhythm. (Generally, right after the new moon and aligning with the quarter waxing moon on its way to the full moon but that’s a blog post for another day.)