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The Wizard’s Apprentice – Desktop Nexus

Hi everyone,

Welcome to a new series of posts in the Writerly Sector of the 11th House Blog.

Over the next few months, I’m going to share steps which lead to publishing success. The focus is manly on genre fiction, but much can apply to non fiction and “literary” fiction as well.

The steps to publishing success will be numbered, starting with Step 1, but this in not a linear process. See it more as a mobius loop. You may not be taking these steps in the order I deliver them. Find your own starting point and jump in where you are drawn.

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith

Mobius loops found in Rider-Waite-Smith tarot

Whatever stage you are focused on –

. . . finishing a manuscript, finding an agent, pitching your project, landing a contract, launching your website, amping your social metrics, handling interviews, talks and presentations, touring, and/or writing your next book . . .

– this series offers support, guidance, tips and feedback for your highest success.

Are you ready?

Step one. Make it your own.

Huh? What’s that mean?

It means, begin by writing the story you want to tell in the genre or blend that lights you up, with the POV (point of view) and voice and pace that feeds your muse. The operant words are you, you, yours. Later, when you are ready for revision (there is always revision) you’ll research your genre and nail it, hone the word count range, consider audience, publishers’ guidelines, tempo, pace etc. But first, make it your own.

Stephen King puts it like this:

When you write a story . . . your stuff starts out being just for you . . .

How do you make it your own?

I like what my yoga teacher, Adriene Mishler, says on this topic.

Find what feels good

In the case of the writer, that means find what feels good for the story. At the start, it’s incredibly personal. You may want to tune out the suggestions of others, family, friends, readers, editors, agents, publishers, until that first draft is down. They will be incredibly helpful for revision, but not yet. For now, it’s a “12th house journey” quiet, solo, immersed in the world of the your own imagination.

To accomplish this, you must feed your muse. This will be different for everyone, so tune in to your own inner guidance and find out what she or he prefers.

Quick guide to feeding your muse

images* Show up. You have a muse. Meet with her daily.
* Create a sacred space, a room, corner or desk to write UNDISTURBED.
* Ritual Routine – when is your writing time? Honor it like a god!
* Non-judgment. Anything goes at this stage. Let the story lead.
* Fuel the body – meditation, exercise, nature, food, water, sunlight, starlight
* Fuel your sensuality – connect to touch, taste, smell, sight, sound.
* Dream and synchronicity awareness. Messages come from here!
* Read more! Immerse in stories inside and outside your genre.

Do the work, one scene at a time.

Don’t set out to write a novel. That’s daunting. Set out to write a scene, and then another and another. In a matter of months, you have a first draft.

At this stage, it is completely your own.

Next we’ll look at the manuscript itself and the all crucial formatting. Many a good story has been rejected simply because the writer didn’t know how to present it. Before we talk about structure and editing, we’ll make sure the ms (manuscript) won’t be knocked back on presentation alone.

Question and comments welcome!