Storytelling tarot spread 

I’ve seen writing inspiration tarot spreads on pinterest and thought they were interesting. Then a while back a friend asked if I’d do one for her.

I had a look and couldn’t settle on a particular spread, they all had strengths and weaknesses and in the end I pulled together the strengths and my knowledge of writing to make my own.

Half focuses on characters, their motivations and their relationship. The other half is based on the story arc idea with a card for each key point in the plot.

The reading I did for my friend was really interesting with some great stuff for writing I think. I hope so anyway!  I was inspired to do my own reading which turned out to be very different even though there were a couple of the same cards.

hj 220716 edited

Normally when I read for myself, I just note ideas down but when I did this reading for my friend, I used full sentences and wrote all my thoughts which turned out to be quite helpful. So I repeated this for myself (PDF).

Following this, an essential step is to actually sit down and write… I did a writers block spread for my friend as well. For me, I’m going to try and create a writing plan or routine which sees me do a little each week. I’d love to say each day but I know that my unpredictable pain and energy levels will mean I don’t achieve that. And once I’ve missed one day, it becomes very easy to miss another and so on… I’m thinking it might be worth adding to my Friday check in /week ahead planning.

If i don’t get far with a plan, then I’ll do the writers block spread for myself but I think I probably know my own blocks; lack of self discipline, lack of energy at times, wanting to get something spot on first time but mostly just not sitting down to write. I have all the excuses… Pain, brain fog, using the computer can worsen my pain, using voice recognition software is frustrating… But I have the time, I have vague ideas and the inspiration from the above spread, I just need to actually turn on my laptop and start drafting and jotting down ideas…

Wish me luck!!

Historic Objects of Conflict and Desire

Today I went on a one day course with the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the Yorkshire Museum.  It was a writing course but the title was Historic Objects of Conflict and Desire.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect at all but it was a really good day.

We were given a short tour of the museum which focused on particular objects and a bit about the history of them as well as the people associated with them.  For example, we looked at a tombstone which was commissioned by an ex soldier in memory of his wife and two children, a betrothal pendent made from Whitby jet, the York Helmet etc.

One of the exhibits we looked at was made up from things found in the Roman baths that were used by the legions (townspeople used a different set of baths).  There was pieces of jewellery, a jet ring, grooming instruments, buttons and beads.  There were also gemstones which fell out of rings because the steam, and contrasting high and low temperatures, caused the glue to fail.

Once we’d looked at the artifacts and handled some of them we started to write.  After a quick warm up we were asked to choose one of the objects that we’d seen that morning.  I went for the gem that had come loose from a ring in the baths.  The tutor then guided us through some questions to develop a piece of writing from the perspective of the object.  I found the questions really helpful and will try and use them again as a prompt:

  1. What are you?
  2. What are you feeling?
  3. Where would you rather be?
  4. What relationships do you have?
  5. What do you dream of doing?
  6. What worries you?
  7. What would you like others to think of you?
  8. What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
  9. What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
  10. What makes you feel guilty?
  11. What is your favourite time of night or day?
  12. What is the point of your life?
  13. How would you like to be remembered?

A gemstone in the sewer

I am a beautiful gemstone.  I am feeling lost, cool, dirty.  I would rather be surrounded by silver, not filthy sewage.  I am surrounded by others, also parted from their owner.  We are all discarded.  I dream of sparkling in daylight, shining in the sun.  I worry that I shall be stuck here forever, never be found, never reunited with my soldier.  I hope he misses me. I want others to see me, admire my smooth edges, the hues within me.  The best thing I ever did was bring luck to my master in the fight of his life.  I saw him glance at me, fiddle with me and his face grew braver.  The worst thing I ever did was relax.  I didn’t hold on tight enough and now I’m being punished.  I feel guilty, without me, how will he survive the next battle.  Without me, he has no luck.  My favourite time of day was the golden hour before dusk.  I would shimmer and glow and I know that makes my master proud.  He flashed me around, showing off his status.  The point of my life is beauty and luck.  I hope he remembers he.  I hope he remembers me with regret, with grief.

We then carried on to other exercises which started to bring in conflict.  It turns out I avoid conflict in my writing as much as I avoid it in my life…!


Imagination Road

A leafy green lane bends and twists along the coastline. Sun weaves through branches to dapple the ground. Then gently the woodland fades and you can see into the fields and out to the evermoving sea. Round a corner a cottage appears, small and crooked, flowers intertwined with windows.  The building is older than time and has stories to tell if you stop and ask. Take a seat on the bench, half in the shadow of the drooping willow, half in the heat of the day. Take your pick, curl your feet under you and listen to the tales.  Once your mind is sated, unfurl from your resting spot and revisit the road. Let it guide you past the wonderous, past the awe inspiring and let it linger over the everyday.

What does Imagination Road look like to you?


I’m pleased with how well I’m engaging with my online writing course at the moment.  I’m hoping that I’ll get through quite a bit this week as I’m off work.

There’s a focus on character at the moment – we started by watching a video clip and noting down a few details about the people in it.  This formed the start of our character sketch.  After looking at some examples of character development we were asked to expand a little on it.

Character Sketch (first draft)

She sits, leaning forward on the metal bench.  Her fingers are anxiously rubbing at the purple silky sleeping bag cover on her knee.  She is clearly waiting for something, or someone.  She looks nervously left and right down the street, peering past the people who are cluttering up her view.  She sits alone on the bench but she is squashed into the corner, as if she feels she shouldn’t be sitting there.  As if she isn’t really allowed.

She sighs deeply, as if resigned to the disappointment that clouds over her blue eyes.  She reaches into the large shapeless canvas bag which has been sitting at her feet and pulls out a notebook.  Adjusting herself, she rests against the back of the bench, shakes off her shoes and tucks her feet underneath her.  Fingers flick through pages until they reach on which is pure, unspoiled and ripe for words…

Friday 19th June, at the park entrance

I really thought he’d show.  I know that’s foolish.  He’s disappointed so many times before but I believed him yet again.  If I head back now I’ll have to face the music, hear them say they told me so, laugh at my stupidity.  I don’t think I can bare it.  I don’t think I can return.

Her eyes drift away from the paper.  She casts a final wistful glance around then she slips her feet back into the ruby slippers, flings the bag on her back and the sleeping bag under her arm.  The path guides her towards the river, slowly winding aimlessly through oak trees.

She puts down her belongings and swings her legs over the riverbank.  Taking off the ruby slippers, a tear slowly rolls down her pale cheek.

Suddenly she comes to life.  Her ruby slippers are violently flung into the water and she is screaming, “Screw your over-the-rainbow shit.  I’ve fucking had it.”


Continuing with the online writing course, we are looking at where we write:

Worst place to write

It’s really busy and cramped, noise clatters around me.  The hostile metal of the station bench pushes against my bones, acting as a wick for the cold that surrounds.  Feet rush past; high heels click clacking as they rush for the train.  There is too much going on.  The thoughts in my mind are fighting against the pain in my joints.  Voices invade my space along with the bodies they belong to.  Pushing and jostling.  I move away from the torturous seat and go in search of coffee.

Best place to write

There’s some gentle background music.  Acoustic probably.  I’m cocooned in a blanket, cosy and warm as I sidle up to the radiator.  The chair hugs me, supportively.  I reach out for the pot of tea as I run words over my tongue.  Testing them.  Choosing them.  Rejecting them.  My laptop sits on the table next to paper and pen.  I flick between the two mediums although everything will end up electronic in the end.

Writing prompts

I came across some writing prompts today aimed at children.  Here’s a couple of things I wrote as a response:

The first time I rode a bike, I…

I have no recollection of the first time I rode a bike.  I suspect it wasn’t a particularly significant day in my life.  I do remember a day, probably around my birthday as it was gray outside, I was on the farmyard and my dad was behind me.  I was on a red bike.  I don’t really remember much else about it.

I do know that having a bike was my escape.  In the evening, at the weekends, during school holidays I would cycle across the fields, up and down the yard.  When I was older I would go out on the lane, cycling up and down.  It didn’t really seem to matter where I was going, the destination wasn’t important.  What was important was that I was away from the house.  When I was old enough to cross the main road I would spend hours at my friends house.  We were geographically convenient to each other.  That’s not to say we weren’t good friends, we were, but I suspect we wouldn’t have been as close or spent as much time together if we weren’t the only people our age within cycling distance of each other.

I had forgotten how important a bike was to me when I was growing up.  I’d forgotten the carefree feeling of doing wheelies and staying out as long as I could.  I’d forgotten that having a bike was a reason to go out.  “I’m off to ride my bike” was better than “I’m going to hang around somewhere else”.  Essentially it provided a means of purposeful escape.

 10 things I want to buy

  1. A trip to Asia, I’m thinking Cambodia for my next big holiday.  I would go ahead and book it but I’m not really sure I’m actual fit for it.
  2. Trip to New Zealand and a ticket for a friend, ideally hire a campervan and just go from place to place.
  3. Health.  If you could buy health I would do it and would buy some for friends who are struggling.
  4. Warmth.  I guess this is really heating and I always feel guilty about the amount of energy I use on heating.
  5. Books. Because I always always want to buy books.  Books make me happy.  They are filled with possibilities and that excites me.
  6. Music.  There’s a few CDs on my wish list and I’m finding silence difficult at the moment
  7. New camera kit – a macro lens, film to play with, a creative photography course (as opposed to learning the technical side)
  8. A tattoo by Rebecca Louise Vincent
  9. Wool.  Knitting is helping my mental health.  It’s also helping me learn the importance of pacing so that’s a win too!
  10. Dairy free ice cream. I was never really fussed about dairy free ice cream but the last six months or so have seen me constantly wanting more.

Interestingly I didn’t think I wanted to buy anything when I started the list. That’s consumerism for you.


One of our assignments this week was to find a small ad and write about the seller.


The pain in her legs was excruciating.  She didn’t know how to describe it to people.  A sharp, dull ache which penetrated every moment of her day and more of her night than she’d like.  Jemma had been living, living, that was a joke, like this for years.  Slowly the pain had got worse until she struggled to make it out of bed.  It was a long time since she’d walked further than the few metres within her studio flat.  Her painkillers wearing off were like an alarm clock to her.  Every day at 8.30 she woke up.  By 9.30, she’d managed to have breakfast and shuffled over to the recliner chair.  She resented the chair.  She loved the comfort it provided and how much easier it made her live but she was 22.

Once in the chair, she began her mundane routine.  Every day was the same.  She would intersperse awful day time tv with her latest book.  She used to love reading but now she couldn’t afford to buy books so all she had on offer was the tattered selection the home library service dumped with her every fortnight.  Today’s unappealing novel was a diatribe about World War One.  Although it was better than the time she’d been given a travel guide to read.  That was torment.  She couldn’t get out of her flat, why would they want to torture her with the idea of a holiday?

Once a week, Jemma’s friend would drop round a stash of newspapers and magazines which she rescued from the recycling at the surgery where she worked.  Jemma was careful to pace herself; she had to make them last seven days.  Normally a collection of free local papers and gossip magazines, occasionally there would be something out of the ordinary.  Jemma now knew more about trout fishing that she’d ever wanted to and could tell you all about cat care!  Today’s magazine was quaintly covered in flowers and embroidery.  Not Jemma’s thing at all.  But she couldn’t afford to be picky.

She flicked through the pages, her mind spaced out on medication, until an article caught her eye.  She would read the entire magazine, letters pages and everything, but she preferred to at least try and start with something good.  This time it was a photo that caught her eye.  It was of a small bird made out of the most beautiful paper.  Somewhere deep inside Jemma there was a spark of interest and excitement.  The article was about the history of paper folding and instructions on how to make the bird yourself.  Reaching around the chair, Jemma found a piece of newspaper and began folding.  Moments later, she sat smiling at her creation.  It was the first positive thing she had done in months and she felt a fizz of pleasure.  Inspecting her work more closely, she found she’d used the small ads pages and there, on the wing, was an advert:

Origami over 40 Origami books plus Origami papers, £25