Words from the otherworld: Why the moon is so important to me as a writer.
The moon is a natural satellite of the earth. While the moon is in synchronous rotation with the earth it only ever shows one side of itself therefore one side of it is always in the dark.
Even the bright side of the moon moves through phases – from waxing, full, waning, dark, to new. The regular cycles of the moon have a significant impact on earth including the tides, length of day, calendars, and many say the human psyche. It is of course also in harmony with the menstrual cycle of women (although it is well know that women’s menstrual cycle varies widely).
Did I just lose anyone with the mention of the word menstrual? Just a note to my readers I strive for authenticity – to be as real as I can with you. Menstruation happens. It may not feature in my books but I don’t think it is fair to think it is okay to talk about sex and all the associated in an outs (no pun intended… okay a little bit of pun intended) and not other bodily functions that affect people’s daily lives including men. Yes, men have a monthly hormonal cycle similar to women that affect their moods etc. An example of how my bodily cycle can affect my writing is as follows. If I need to write a really intricate and hot sex scene I will wait for certain times of the month to arrive so that I can be at the peak point of my bodily cycle to draw on my own naturally heightened feelings of passion and desire.
Anyway, back to my point, the reason the cycle of the moon and the cycle of my body is so important to me as a writer is because my creative energy ebbs and flows according to these two forces. There are other factors that impact my creative urges but I would say the two above forces are the most influential on the ebb and flow of my creative output as such, I map them and plan for them so that I know when to clear my calendar to make use of the creative energy when it will be at its peak.
One other factor that can impact my writing, sometimes in a good way (escapism) and sometimes a bad way (writers block) is stress. I have had a very stressful week. And coupled with the cycles of my body and the moon it felt like all the creative mojo had fallen away. I was empty. I would sit at my computer and nothing would happen (okay, Facebook and Tumblr might happen a bit and whatever the hell tsū is – if anyone knows what tsū is, let me know. I have been floating around in there like a lost rubber duck.)
But the one thing I didn’t do when I sat and nothing came was force myself. Why? Because I know not to fight the natural ebb and flow of creativity. I think, like all things, creativity and the Muse have an ebb and flow. In this period of feeling empty I trusted that things were happening creatively but accepted that they were happening in shadow, on the dark side of the moon, in my subconscious, in the places I could not see and was not ready to look yet. The cogs of creation were still turning over in the basement so to speak.
Many great writers and marketers will tell you that you HAVE to write every day. You have to produce content every day otherwise you will lose readers. In some ways, I agree with them. Even in my creative dearth I was plotting and planning and making notes but I wasn’t forcing the tide of creativity to flow where it didn’t want to go. I knew that my creativity hadn’t gone rather, just like the seasons I sensed it was winter for my creative energy… the dark moon, the bleeding time, the time for quiet and reflection and recuperation before starting again. In short, I didn’t get scared and I just let myself rest.
So, although I know all the marketers say that you have to constantly pump out blog content and that so many writers tell you to write every damn day, I think sometimes it is okay to respect and go with the natural ebb and flow of your creative tide and to trust in the cycles. The cycles taught to us by the moon, our body and the seasons.
I do feel bad leaving it so long between blog posts but I would rather write authentically than try and push through when I have nothing ‘real’ to give you. So when I feel this guilt or doubt I wander out and say hello to the moon and moon-bathe for a bit. This helps me come back to myself and trust in my natural processes and trust that those who are interested in my words will be there when I return.
Tracking the cycle of the moon and your own bodily cycle may be an interesting exercise regarding your creative output because when I have had this conversation with other writers many have covered their mouth, as if this all was a shameful secret, and said “Me too.” I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. It is certainly easy to see why so many cultures have myths and ceremonies dedicated to the ever present, ever beautiful, moon.