Journey through the Creation of a Tarot Deck – Part V – Meanwhile behind the scenes…how to write a book in your “spare” time.


to read part IV, click here

Sometime during this time of painting the Swords cards, I realized that my deck was going to need a companion book at most, and at least a “little white book” to go with the cards. At the same time I also realized that if I didn’t start writing my insights and ideas about the images down, I might lose them. Sometimes while painting I go into a sort of trance, and never know what is going to come up, and where the in the heavens does it come from?


A few people have already asked me, “How in the world did you not only finish the art and publishing of the deck, but also a book, in such a short time, while working full time?” Well friends, you have no idea how obsessively I pushed myself. Not only was I making myself paint for several hours every night after work, and for 12-24 hours on the weekends, but when I absolutely could not paint another stroke, afterwards every night I would take a hot bath brimming with essential oils. In the bath, I’d bring a pad of paper, and (another) glass of mead, and write down the text for the chapter on the card I was working on. I was a little behind when I started, as I had to do the first six or seven trumps plus all of the swords, but after that, I did the write up for each card as I finished them.  The write-ups were all done in the tub, while drinking copious amounts of high-test mead, so sometimes I’ve forgotten writing them, as they were channeled by the mead-muse. The original note books are badly water spotted and wrinkled, as you might imagine.


When I was not ready or could not write, and was not painting, I would read tarot books for inspiration. You have to prime the pump to get water from the well, so whenever I was too exhausted to do any “actual” work on the deck or the book, I would read, and read, and read on the subject. Even after the bath, before and in bed, I’d read until my eyelids crashed. Tarot books are pretty much all I read the entire time. I was constantly reading the Book of Thoth, of course, and also other writings by and about Crowley too, but also ALL sorts of Tarot non-fiction, Golden Dawn stuff, and even a little fiction (Castle of Crossed Destinies; Andromeda Klein). Needless to say I spent a lot of money on both art supplies and tarot books during this period.


I also started keeping a notebook, which I would highly recommend to anyone attempting to create a tarot deck and/or a book. At first, I just kept it around to jot down ideas for the images when I got them, notes and inspirations for the artwork. I’d keep it by the bed, as often I’d be in that half asleep state and get an idea that I just had to write down so I wouldn’t forget it come daylight. I chose a beautiful book that I made myself for this, with hand sewn Coptic stitch binding and a beautiful mysterious looking cover (if I do say so myself.) Since this book will be with you constantly, make it a nice one.


This notebook also became very valuable during future phases of the project, such as when researching printers, calculating costs, writing down marketing ideas, and storing passwords. (By the way, if you self publish a tarot deck and a book, by the time you are done I guarantee you will have at least a dozen new log-in names and passwords, and probably more. You probably don’t believe me, but when we get there, I will list all of the sites you will need if you are going to do this.)


So, to sum up, to write a book in your spare time, you need seven things:


1)      Discipline


2)      Lots of books on your chosen subject and the will to make yourself read them constantly


3)      A nice blank book for keeping track of things


4)      Several cheap spiral notebooks and a pen


5)      A bathtub


6)      A cellar full of mead (trust me, it helps)


7)      Someone to feed you occasionally, or a love of cheese and toast




Next up: Journey through the Creation of a Tarot Deck – Part VI – Lust and Fire, what’s not to like? click here

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