Fortune Cookie Prophecy for Writers
Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, the official beginning of the Year of the Dog. Woof.
Now I'm Italian and Irish, so the whole 12-animal rotation thing is mostly lost on me, but I'll "celebrate" with some Chinese takeout. Love my chicken with broccoli, extra spicy, but I particularly look forward to the fortune cookie. I could care less about eating is--my son usually snaps it up before it could reach my mouth anyway--but the fortune. Ah, now that I'll fight over. Lately, my fortunes all seem to slant writerly in nature; at least that's how I read them. My latest fortune predicted, "Begin...the rest is easy." I so needed that fortune. I've been slagging lately--well, perfecting the outline for the next part of my WIP, probably to an extreme level. Definitely to an extreme level. I need to continue writing the beast.
I still remember the first time I opened a fortune relating to writing. I was working as a staffer for a health magazine, craving the day I'd have the time and energy to be able to write what I wanted to write. My cookie heard my silent plea...
"You are a lover of words," it said. "Someday you will write a book."
I still have that fortune, though the ink has faded to near-invisibility. I remember what it said, though; who needs ink? That fortune cemented it for me; the Chinese God(s?) had decided I was capable of writing a book, and damn, I would have to do it.
So what is it about the power of fortune cookies? I guess I ingest them the way others do horoscopes, reading in them what I want. But I think we can make prophecy--whether on a little slip of paper, an online link or some other way--powerful if we decide to.
I poked around a little to learn more about Chinese astrology and read that people often clean their homes on Chinese New Year, physically and spiritually ridding themselves of any fusty past-year karma. So how do we writers apply that to us?
* Clean up your desk. Remember what the surface looks like.
* Sort through your leaning-tower-of notes. Type up the unique ideas; chuck the boring ones.
* Rededicate yourself to your WIP. If you did this on January 1st, consider this your second chance, or your reinforcer.
* Write something. Write it better.
Remember, all you have to do is Begin. The rest, as the Chinese cookie makers say, is easy.