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10 Writing Tips for Using Mercury Retrograde Energy

May 18, 2009

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I know it is an odd way to begin my weekly column, but since it is given over to ideas on how to use the Mercury Retrograde (Rx) energy, I thought I would begin with the most basic of reminders. Mercury Rx is a notorious period for electrical equipment and communication devices go *fizzle pop*. You have been warned!

I won’t go into astrological depth as to what Mercury Rx is other than to say Mercury represents, among other things, communication, information and travel and retrograde is about things going backwards! Every day life can go a little hey wire when Mercury is retrograding.

The tenants of Mercury Rx are:

  • Don’t sign any contracts
  • Don’t buy big items – especially electrical appliances, phone a computers.
  • Don’t make significant moves or huge life altering decisions
  • Don’t begin a marriage, a business or a book
  • Don’t gossip and mind you do say
  • Plan for delays in travel, communication and the forthcoming of information.

Mystic Medusa in her wonderful book Astroscape 2009 says Mercury Rx is great for:

  • Finding lost objects
  • Polishing off creative projects which been lingering
  • Revising
  • Blissful introspection
  • Random synchronicity which reconnects you with important elements/people from you past.
  • Bunking off and relaxing
  • Reading trashy novels or re-reading favourite books from your past.

Sadly Mercury Rx didn’t assist us recently when we up ended our house in search of my son’s Dylan’s birth certificate but it did turn up evidence my writing friend Marion here in Brisbane may have actually been in a writing class with me almost 10 years ago when we both lived in Cairns.  I’m looking forward to taking the Term Four 2000 FNQ Tafe Creative Writing Collection with me to our next writing group and ascertaining if Marion and I were actually in the same class together.

My absolute favourite part of Mercury Rx is the music played in shopping centres/malls and the supermarket.  I have often joked with my friend Danae Sinclair these retails giants send their ambience director into my past to select the music for the three week periods of Mercury Rx. Not surprisingly, it is a great time to buy retro music. I always find the best ‘old’ music during Mercury Rx including purchasing back in January the ultimate collection of 80’s music which is the bane of my partner’s existence!

What does any of this have to do with writing though?

The inspiration for this column came after taking a walk down memory lane while listening to Dido’s Thank You waiting in the toilets at the shops this morning (hooray for five year old bladders!)

Why should there not be a guide for writers on how to use and harness this unique energy? So here are my ten tips for making the most of Mercury Rx as writers.

  • Take time to enjoy an old style of writing or a genre you no longer write in.
  • Use favourite songs from your past as idea prompts. Pick our favourites.Play them one at a tim.  Spend five minutes after each song finishes scribbling/typing a stream of consciousness inspired by the song.
  • Go through your archives and re-read some old stories/writing – this includes the really old, dusty crates and boxes in your garage, basement or cupboard under the stairs. If you’re truly game – go back and re-read old journals, diaries or letters.
  • Post an old short story to your blog to celebrate your journey as a writer. Nothing says “this is how far I’ve come” like old work. Or repost a favourite short story from your blog archive which your newer readers may not have read before.
  • Contact old writing colleagues or friends – even if it is just to say hello and what’s going on in your life now? Or contact an mentor from your past to say thank you and let them know how you are going.
  • Revise or edit at least one first draft, current or old, before Mercury Rx finishes on the 31 May.
  • Search out pieces in your “unfinished folder” or wherever else you keep them and finish at least one of them before Mercury Rx finishes.
  • Review your book/notepad of ideas and see if any ideas now jump out at you. (I still maintain there are no bad ideas, just great ideas at the wrong time!) Is now the time to try test drive a new plot or idea?
  • Befriend a new character who has been hanging around trying to get your attention.
  • Write a list of your favourite books and add at least two of them to your reading list for the rest of the year.

I don’t find it surprising I have returned to (a fictionalised version of) letter writing during this phase.  It has reignited my love of letter writing – the stream of consciousness, the nuances of the one way dialogue, the memories and the weaving in of the every day which somehow makes letter writing, and reading, magical. My Unsent Letters series will eventually have 21 correspondences in all, and I am loving the way Sissy’s life and my own life have merged – a little like the coloured ink blot picture Dylan did at kindy this week.

It is also no coincidence an older writing folder turned up a number of gems.

Before I stared writing this column, I went  through a very old folder looking for a ‘first chapter’ from my Dido period.  I didn’t find what I was looking for. What I did find was a piece I had totally forgotten – which mentions the Dido song and includes a reference to a guy in Tennessee I was prolifically corresponding with at the time (I’d been thinking of him wandering around the shops) and a house sitting experience which went totally pear shaped.  In accordance with #4 from the above list I’ve posted Life is Sweet. I’m openly thankful I’m no longer so transparent in the manner I weave fiction and non fiction together and that I have far more interesting things to write about now !

I also found in the folder work shared with me by two guys, Ben and Travis, who I did some writing with almost ten  years ago. We’ve been out of contact for a long time. Perhaps now is the time to see if I can find them again? The same folder also revealed a number of psychological tests I inflicted on my friends and their love interests as an exercise in “character fishing”. Are these characters who have been patiently waiting for me to find them in the void?

While Mercury Rx can be a pain the butt if you’re stuck on the tube on the way to or home from work, you’ve had the RAQC out to your place twice in a week because you’re car won’t start,  your computer goes AWOL and takes everything on your hard drive with it, your website disappears and your webhost tells you they have no record of you as a customer, you turn up for a meeting no one told you had been rescheduled for an hour earlier, you lose your phone and all your phone numbers, correspondence you’re waiting on doesn’t arrive, your inbox is bogged down in an influx of spam, people continually misunderstand the messages you send on your phone/post on Twitter or Facebook and the fridge you buy tomorrow goes *fizzle pop* in a months time … take heart. And a big deep breathe!

As writers, it can be truly brilliant period for rediscovering aspects of our old writer-self or life. And as I’ve discovered, if you use the energy to your advantage it doesn’t seem to come back and bite you quite so hard in disruptive and aggrevating ways.

The dark moon period is the end of this week, the moon renewing on the 24th. It is a great time to do some creative cleaning. Set your month’s goals or make your wishes on the 24th and watch them manifest!

Jodi Cleghorn is hoping all this creative use of Mercury Rx is gaining her Universal frequent fliers points – she will be sitting with her family at Kingsford Smith airport awaiting a flight and a three day whirlwind visit to New Zealand as this column goes live. You can find more of Jodi’s musings at Writing With Passionate Abandon.

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