IF TAROT’S QUEEN OF WANDS WERE YOUR WRITING COACH, she would be your enthusiastic champion, your star-spangled cheerleader! She’d laud your literary talent and encourage you to hold to your creative vision, even when others question it. You see, she believes your pen is your magic wand—that it brings to life the imaginative worlds that live inside you.
An independent sort herself, the Queen of Wands would advocate for your independence. She’s not a joiner, so she wouldn’t necessarily suggest you find yourself a critique group. But she’s a hard worker and would expect you to be one, too. In her no-nonsense style, she’d tell you dig in—and maybe hand you a bullet-point list like this one to show you exactly what she means:
- Read widely in your genre—especially books that have been published in the last three years.
- Subscribe to writing magazines like THE WRITER and WRITER’S DIGEST that have their finger on the pulse of publishing.
- Check out blogs and YouTube videos that feature literary agents weighing in on what makes a book attractive to them and what doesn’t.
- Read books on the writer’s craft: STORY by Robert McKee and THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler, for instance.
- Take classes—online (Gotham Writers has a good reputation) or at your local community college, no matter. Just open your heart to how others approach the craft. Then, take what you like and leave the rest.
- Create a writing schedule—and stick to it.
- Finish a draft, then get a good reader to review it (you might hire a pro, ask the smartiest smarty pants in your book group to take a look, or trade for pet-sitting with a neighbor who talks regularly and intelligently about the books she reads).
And after you’ve done all that, the Queen would give you a high five, pat you on the back, and tell you, in her heartiest voice, to go back now and revise, revise, revise.
For some fired-up examples of literary Queens of Wands who dig in, check out Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and Amy Tan’s “Angst and the Second Book,” from her essay collection THE OPPOSITE OF FATE (which I quoted in a post on surviving the writer’s winter).
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