It is true that I am driven to write my novel. I am making space for it in my daily routine. I have a plan. I allow myself time to enjoy myself the page and I don’t just power my way through it. My desire to finish this project drives me on. But the novel is not the only horse driving my chariot.
Heeding the warning of The Hierophant card, this morning I tried to prevent my coffee shop writing routine from turning into dogma, and decided to write my pages from home. Staying in, I ended up circling the page for a couple hours, dipping in and out of other tasks. There was something brewing within me that was an equal force as my desire to write, and I was in stasis. I knew the only way to uncover what that was, was to to sit down and, painful as it seemed, start writing.
I was writing to the point where my protagonist is excited that she is going to a selective secondary school, because she imagines it will somehow be like Enid Blyton’s St Clare’s books, and that this is where she will learn how to become what she wants to be, a writer. Through sheer determination and pushing forward word by word I got to that point and then I stopped. I put down my pen. And I cried.
To get to that place, I had needed to draw from my own experience of high expectations, those moments where I had set myself up for a perfect fall. And there have been many, for I am a dreamer and an idealist.
I hadn’t known before I started writing today, but this was a feeling I was trying to protect myself from. The Chariot is driven by one black and one white horse, much like the High Priestess sits between her two columns. I am discovering that these polarities are wordless places, that need to be drawn into the middle ground before they can be verbalised. I hadn’t been able to move forward because I was being pulled by two drives ~ one to move on with my novel, and the other to protect me from the painful feelings of dashed expectations.
Today, I relied on determination to get me through the pages. But without drive, that place where willpower is fastened to devotion, as writers how far will determination alone get us? It won’t take us very far before we are depleted and exhausted. We will be working against ourselves. The energy of The Chariot is to work to understand, and then harmonise, our drives so that they are not working against each other and bringing us to a standstill.
The Chariot is the card of moving forward with a long term project or towards a goal. Our horses need to be handled well, but not broken in to the point that they lose their power and movement. Let’s be honest with ourselves and be mindful of the things in our lives that compete with writing for our attention, whether it is keeping ourselves small and emotionally safe, or whether it is our need to work at a demanding job to finance our writing. Once we can verbalise the conflicts that keep us from writing, and understand they are necessary and common place, then we can contain and direct that conflict and use the energy of the struggle to keep our writing moving. In this way our horses will never become fully tame. The Chariot shows us that an awareness of the contradictions in our lives can be fuel to ensure that our desire to turn up to the page stays energised and vital for the long haul.