Now that we’re in Capricornus season, finishing at the end of January, it’s time to start bearing down on the project you’ve been dreaming about or pushing off. The changing of the seasons might find you seeking acceptance on creative avenues in your life. What’s holding you back? Expect frustration, but persevere nonetheless.
Everyone struggles with writing in their own way. Some have strengths where others have weaknesses, but you can’t compare your struggles to others’ successes. There’s a remedy to every writing conflict. Maybe this will help:
- Aries: Don’t abandon a piece because it’s not turning out the way you want it to. Start from scratch, take time to think out details and a plan you agree with, or go with the flow, letting what happens happen. Freewriting and rewriting are your friends right now. If your piece is really not working, break it up. Take your favorite bits and apply them elsewhere, and use the work as an inspiration for something else. Don’t let your labor go to waste.
- Prompt: Describe a flame in the instant before it is extinguished. What does it look like? How does it feel? Where does the heat go?
- Taurus: You’re stuck on a piece, a scene, on wanting to write but not being able to. You can’t fix it today, so try something else. Avoid the boulder and make your way down the river. You can always come back later. When you do, think about what in this situation is sticky. Can it be removed altogether and replaced with something new? Otherwise, flesh it out or write about what’s wrong, and at least let out some of your pent up frustration.
- Activity: Go back to your second most recent work. Find something you liked and something you were unsatisfied with. Start a new, mini-piece using each fragment.
- Gemini: You’re not sure what you want. Which word goes where? Where is this plot going? You’re afraid of making a wrong turn– don’t be. There’s always room and time to rewrite. Mistakes are okay to make in any stage of your writing. Learn from them, don’t learn to fear them.
- Activity: Take an unfinished work or an idea you have yet to write. Start the piece from another perspective or a different point in your storyline.
- Cancer: You’re having a hard time focusing on your work. Outside stressors are cutting into your writing time. Reclaim it, make time and space to get back into your proper writing headspace, even if it’s for 15-20 minutes. Think about what you need to get back into your groove: is it a quiet place, proper music, a good night’s sleep? Make adjustments and come back when you’re ready.
- Prompt: Imagine one human function– sleeping, eating, drinking water– is replaced with something more efficient, like photosynthesizing, one month of hibernation per year, etc. How does the human race change, for better or worse?
- Leo: You need to accept and apply criticism without losing hope. Your writing will never be perfect, but no one’s attacking you for that, and neither should you. It can be hard to understand that people are trying to help when they point out your errors, but it’s also hard to sense what needs improvement on your own. Trust your peers, don’t take criticism personally, and put effort into editing. Seeing improvements will be worth temporary discomfort.
- Activity: Make three copies of a recent project you got feedback for. Leave one version alone, then make the edits you feel necessary to another, then apply every suggestion you received to the last one. Which are you more satisfied with?
- Virgo: You’re beating yourself up over small details. They matter a lot to you, but learn to embrace the ambiguous and unknown. Your focus on these things may take away from other parts of your work, like plot, dialogue, or voice. Which part of your writing do you want to be the focal point? What do you want to be remembered? Record details that are important, not ones that distract you and the reader.
- Prompt: Take a hard copy of a short piece (it doesn’t have to be yours) and cut it up. Create something new from the cutouts, ransom note style.
- Libra: You’re caught in the insecurity that not everyone likes your writing. They don’t have to, but that shouldn’t be the audience you’re focusing on. Align yourself with people who care about your writing as much as you do, that provide positive feedback and helpful criticism when you need it. At the same time, understand that there will be many different opinions on your writing, and while you cannot change them, you also don’t have to give them your attention. Embrace what you do and others will do the same.
- Prompt: Have you ever read or watched something that had an ending you weren’t satisfied with? Change it. Twist the plot and characters’ decisions to match what you had in mind.
- Scorpio: Your confidence is getting the best of you. It’s important to be bold and passionate about your writing, but listen to the ones around you who tell you to slow down or take a break. You risk overlooking mistakes or burning yourself out. Pace yourself, restrict yourself to only one or two projects, and make sure you review your work carefully.
- Activity: Take a break from your next drafting session and read instead. Go through your previous works, review a friend’s writing, or break into a book you got months ago but haven’t had the time to read. Reading is one of the best ways to improve your writing and you deserve a break.
- Sagittarius: You may be dedicated to your current project, but you may have also bitten off more than you can chew. Break up what you’re working on into smaller, easier to manage tasks, or put something nonessential to the side. Quality is better than quantity, and whether you believe it or not, the stress of overextending yourself will get to you. Burning out is not fun, but it is preventable.
- Activity: Slow down and read through some of your newer, incomplete works. Are you following the bigger picture? Where are some points that you’ve gone astray? Identify them, but choose only one to work on for now.
- Capricorn: Not everything will go your way, no matter how much you plan. Don’t get too frustrated and don’t quit. Identify where and how things went wrong. Where can you see this often happening in your writing? Reach out to see what advice others can give you, and allow yourself the freedom to go astray from your original plan. Some good may come from impromptu writing.
- Prompt: It’s time to sit down and do some actual drafting. Find a place to put all your ideas, like sticky notes or a journal, and choose one to work on. Set the mood, find a place and time that works for you, and put pen to paper. Outline, freewrite, or make a character sketch. Give your idea substance.
- Aquarius: You’re an energetic writer with many ideas, but it’s easy for you to lose stimulation and, therefore, motivation. If something isn’t easy or doesn’t go the way you want right away, you give up. Bright ideas lose their luster, a dream becomes clouded, and the pen gets put down. Persevere through these struggles. Your muse will not always be present, but you will have to work past this to get anywhere with your writing.
- Activity: Write something terrible, just to get back into the rhythm of writing. It can always be reworked or even discarded, but you need to learn to persist even if you’re not feeling like writing. You may be surprised by what you come up with.
- Pisces: You tend to get caught in the fantasy of your own writing, so much so that you forget the writing part altogether. What’s causing this block? Are you too afraid to put your words on paper? Not sure how to articulate? Take some time to freewrite or plot out the idea you have, then give yourself a deadline. Dreams are great in your head, but they’re also meant to be explored and shared.
- Activity: Take some time to create a plot or outline for your newest idea. Where will your story begin and where will it end? Choose a point in between and free write for a bit. Does it follow the arc you want it to? Are you ready to keep writing or do you need to outline a bit more?
Looking for a personalized read to curl up with this month? This post from Literary Hub is old but the books are still worth checking out: https://lithub.com/the-astrology-book-club-what-to-read-this-month-based-on-your-sign-23/
Wondering how studying can improve your writing? This post is over, but here’s some further reading: https://writingcooperative.com/how-astrology-can-improve-your-writing-4b7004b33373
Meet the blogger:
EMILY POUPART is a Hamline senior from Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin. She hopes to go into publishing after she graduates, and enjoys plants, reading, and being indoors.