On Writing and Retrograding Well

On Writing Well

On Writing Well"Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because writing is hard."
- William Zinsser, On Writing Well

It took me a while to decide whether to present you with the classic “writing is hard work” passage. Either you’re saying “yeah, no kidding” or you’d want refute me with some redefinition what “hard” really is or you see writing as a nurturing, revitalizing creative act that has nothing to do with difficult.

Yep, I agree. With all of it.

A piece of me cries out “the good work - the right work - isn’t supposed to feel hard.” Another part of me thinks about grief and childbirth and laughs at the “agony” of typing. And then, I think about how sitting myself in front of a screen and drafting and drafting in hopes that I will say something true that matters to people so often feels excruciating.

But that’s the truth of it right there, isn’t it? Writing is all those things - the bliss, the pain, and the “oh my gods I must be insane to keep doing this, but I must!”

On Retrograding Well

Are you familiar with Mercury Retrograde? Even if you barely know more than your star sign, you’ve almost definitely heard someone grumble “My computer crashed again! Is it Mercury Retrograde?”

Here’s the briefest possible description of this 3 ½ week period that hits us three times per year: Mercury, the planet that rules communication, commerce, contracts, and transportation, seems to go backwards and that tends to influence the everyday happenings here on this planet.

As a writer and as a Gemini and as a person who hangs out with people who put stock in the return of Saturn and the sign of the moon, I’m particularly susceptible to these forces. If you want to hear me throw the word “hard” around, it’s most likely to happen when I see we’re about to hit another patch of Mercury in retrograde and it seems to be messing with my writing or my next spontaneous plan. But, because I cannot hide under the blankets with a good long book for a few months each year, I try to flow through the hard stuff. I understand it may take a different sort of approach to find the bliss, make my peace with the pain, and smile as I say “it feels extra insane to keep trying to write and run a business right now, but here goes…”

Retrograde is a time of revision and reflection… And there’s a way to do that well

Keri Nola on Practice of Being Seen podcast | Mercury RetrogradeThe week’s Practice of Being Seen podcast features the intuitive psychotherapist and energetic visionary Keri Nola. She guides us through the vibrations of Mercury Retrograde and brings us deeper into the shadows that might beg us to dive deep during this period of reflection. As I said, I try to flow through the “hard” parts of Retrograde… Guides like Keri help me figure out how to actually do that.

Please check out the episode and let us know how these insights into Mercrograde (I accidentally said that several times yesterday… should we make it a thing?) help you flow through the next three weeks.

A special announcement for the Therapist-Healers in the community

Keri’s insights help us debut (Re)Vision: Explore Your Stories, Shape Your Future, the first Practice of Being Seen Retreat for therapist-healers.

My favorite co-conspirator, Rebecca Wong, and I planned the launch during retrograde to mirror the retreat itself. This is a snippet from the invitation page’s FAQ section:

This retreat starts the day after Mercury goes retrograde. Do Rebecca and Marisa realize that? And if I have no idea what the movement of a planet has to do with the date of a retreat is this still the event for me?

First, yes, we did realize that Mercury begins its 3 ½ week retrograde period on August 12. And we planned our event accordingly. We are calling it (Re)Vision to celebrate the fact that this is the perfect time to look back, to take stock, to soak in your visions, and take a deep breath before the next stage of “doing.” Whether you put much stock in the effects of a distant planet’s movement or not, this is the perfect activity as we all prepare for the “back to school/back to business” energy of September.

If you’re one of my therapist friends or you have therapist friends, I invite you to have a look at what we have planned up in the Catskills at the legendary Menla Mountain Retreat.