When I was a little girl, my best friend and I regularly pretended we were witches. We imagined her Winnie the Pooh collection were actually spell books. We whipped twigs around at household pets and fruit trees pretending they were wands with transformative powers. We would run around the yard, both in agreement that we were actually flying on broomsticks. We loved Hocus Pocus. We adored Halloween and dress up. We fell in love with magic.
As a child, you crave the idea that you can make something happen with your mind. That you can flick your wrist and an enchantment will animate lifeless objects. It’s a splendid and simple wish, wanting to be magical.
When you grow up, long before you leave childhood, you stop believing. You’re taught about hard work and education and the idea of magic fades. You learn that people don’t fly and sticks don’t create splendor and you begin to settle in to “reality.”
As of recently though, I must confess, I’m beginning to believe in magic again. The birth of my son is enough to make me certain something charmed exists in the world. As it pertains to my writing though, I realize the more I embrace who I am as a writer, the more filled I am with the power to write and the power to take in things that make me stronger as a writer. This isn’t just magic. This is the craft.
One of my favorite, offbeat Halloween movies is the 90’s cult classic, The Craft. If you haven’t seen it here’s a short version:
Four teen witches form a friendship. They start diving into magic and the deeper they go the more powerful they get. Whatever magic they put out into the world comes back to them tenfold. Bad witches get their comeuppance… good witch is rewarded with boundless power.
As I watched my annual showing of the movie, I realized that The Craft, and the craft – as in writing – are very similar.
The more you embrace your power, the more you surround yourself with other powerful people, the more you entrench yourself in the art, the more it seems to grow within you.
I find this to be real magic.
Say “Yes” to Your Inner Witch/Writer
In the last year or so, I’ve decided I’m a writer. I’ve decided that I don’t need a book published yet or a blog with thousands of followers to call myself that. It is who I am and only I can grant myself that title. That decision has filled me with so much writerly goodness, I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner.
Like in the movie, as soon as the witches decide that is what they are, their powers seemed to abound. I feel a similar way. It wasn’t some outside source keeping me from feeling magical, it was me. Once I dropped that cloak of doubt, I felt an overwhelming peace and centeredness in knowing who I am. I no longer wonder whether I will ever publish a book. I know I will. And though I have a ways to go, I feel filled with a mystic ability that wasn’t there before.
Find Your Coven
I am sort of an isolated individual. I have great friends and family, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never been a networker. I hate group projects. I always do my work in solitude. Shit, I rarely ever even seek professional input, assuming that my talent will only come from within.
Recently, I’ve decided that’s not working/not going to work. I need to belong to a coven of writing witches. The power of one witch does not even compare to the power of a group of them, that’s like Witchcraft 101. Lately I have been diving into books on writing, trying to get bold and connect with writers more on social media, and in perhaps one of the most magical experiences yet, listened to the podcast “Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert” (I think she’s currently the head of my coven).
I also have a number of people in my life who are friends first, but also writers. Why are we not casting spells together? I most certainly need to hop on my broomstick and start conjuring with these beautiful witches (Sara, Jeanette, Robert, Kelli, I’m looking at you).
Light as a feather, stiff as a board.
In the movie, the first decent bit of magic the girls perform is “light as a feather, stiff as a board.” For those of you who never attended a slumber party in the 90’s, in short, this involves one girl laying down and other girls around them placing two fingers underneath the girl’s body and trying to hoist her into the air while chanting the above phrase.
It’s easy magic. Beginner’s magic.
In writing, you need small magic to ignite the big stuff. You need to feel the satisfaction of watching your words appear where none existed before. You need to have that initial confidence booster.
Whether it’s writing page one of a manuscript or starting a blog, the tiniest bit of magic can multiply once it has been released into the world. I’ve found that the more tiny bursts of magic I unleash, the more my power swells. It’s intoxicating.
Let’s face it, what is writing if not magic? It has the power to create worlds, transform thought, and inspire passion. Prose is your potion. The keyboard is your wand. By God we are Salem’s sisters and the 21st century’s sorceresses. Happy Halloween and happy writing you magnificent word witches!