It all began with believing I am magical, which is often (but not always) a healthy belief.

I knew that November would be a busy month. There’s Happy Fish Tarot, of course – blog posts to write, videos to make, Skype sessions and email readings with clients. There’s no question that my business is my top priority. It feeds my soul, and it is simply non-negotiable!

Then there were other things to keep me busy. Paperwork as I buy my first home. A trip to Los Angeles. Hosting a photo challenge on Instagram. Yes, November was already shaping up to be a full month. Full of amazingness and wonder, but full nonetheless. And even knowing all of this, I still tried to prod “write a novel” into this pile of to-dos.

At the beginning of November, I told myself “you are an infinitely creative being. You are magical! You’ve got untapped volumes of creative life force surging through your depths! Your well shall never run dry! You can create, create, CREATE!”

Now, I still believe these sentiments wholeheartedly. But I left out one crucial element from that thought train:

Our creative wells need to be replenished regularly.

We can’t just give, give, give, give and give. We have to fill the well. We have to recuperate and recharge.

For a few days now, I’ve been falling gravely behind on my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) word count. When I have sat down to write, I stare blankly at the screen. It is not that I feel blocked or afraid, it is that I have nothing left to give. I’ve poured all my creative energy into other avenues, and there is no fuel left for this novel.

At first, I felt ashamed. I mean, I did write a pretty epic three part series to help people prepare for NaNoWriMo… and now I can’t even finish my OWN novel? I told myself that I HAD to finish, because if I don’t, I will be a hypocrite. And so I forced myself to keep writing, but the story refused to progress. The flow was gone, dry, fished barren.

I mean, I COULD keep writing. But what I would be writing would be hollow, meaningless junk. Words for the sake of words. Words brought forth with an energy of exhaustion and force. But I could do it. I could write 50,000 words and “win” NaNoWriMo. Would that really be a victory, though?

It would be a hollow victory. A victory that doesn’t come with any feelings of triumph.

This morning I gave myself a two card reading, and the messages that came through illuminated my novel-writing woes. I drew the Tower and the World, both reversed, from the Wild Unknown tarot.

As these are both major arcana cards, they both affirm that I am being presented with important life lessons. As they are both reversed, they affirm that I am still resisting these life lessons.

The Tower shows the state of my novel: disintegrating, going down in flames. But the reversal shows my ego’s desire to cling to the project, to deny the crumbling, to ignore the deeper lessons that are available in this situation. My soul, though, knows that something within me can be cracked open through this experience. I can either deny the chaos of the Tower, or I can take an active hand in the dismantling. I can choose to destroy my novel writing attempts with dignity, or I can fruitlessly resist the inevitable blow to my ego.

The World reminds me that winning isn’t really about “winning.” It is only my ego that insists that in order to win, I must write 50,000 words in November, come hell or high water. It is my ego that thinks I will not be complete unless I insist on stubbornly riding this burning project even as it continues to crash. It is my ego that feels shame that my creative energy cannot perform upon command, infinitely, without ever being tended to.

This all still feels a little raw. I still feel some shame. I still feel a smidgen of temptation to keep going, to force myself to crank out 15,000 more words. But… deep breath… I need to remind myself that it is not a hollow victory I am seeking.

There are times to push through. There are times to revive self-discipline, to stick things through, to doggedly keep the commitments you’ve made. And then there are times like this. Times when you must realize that you can’t do it all. You’re not a machine. Your creative energy must be respected and replenished.

There are times to humble your ego, to let the crash happen.

Resistantly so, I am facing one of those times. I have nothing left to give to this novel, and that does not need to induce shame. The kindest thing to do for my novel and for myself is to let it disintegrate.

This will leave me reeling for a while, and that’s okay. I will listen to the signs and become replenished. I will be respectful of myself and of the Universe’s lessons. I’ll ask my ego to please play nice. I am still magical. I am still accomplished, I am still whole.

That feels like a genuine victory.

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