This is a Community Announcement: Have you backed up your files?
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 what you do say
- Plan for delays in travel, communication and the forthcoming of information.
- Finding lost objects
- Polishing off creative projects which been lingering
- 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.
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 out your favourites. Play them one at a time. 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.
- Use your time to edit and revise. Set yourself a goal – one, two, three old first or second drafts which have been lingering but screaming to become finals.
- 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. Even better – take time out during Mercury Rx to read them.
During Mercury Retrograde this year I have:
- re-read some of my favourite books (Sahara, Lightning and The Time Travellers Wife)
- Posted an old story to my blog (cringe worthy) Life is Sweet
- I returned to a fictionalised form of letter writing in my Unsent Letters series (due to a trip to New Zealand I didn’t get to finish it – but perhaps I will before Mercury goes direct this time!)
- I’ve refound old stories and other odds and ends of writing while looking through some old folders on my hard drive.
- I discovered Marion, who is one third of my writing group, did the same creative writing course with me in Cairns in 2000 (though neither of us can remember each other – only the teacher!)
- Bought the best compilations of Retro 80s and 90s music and found other old CDs which have always been out of stock at other times.
This period of Mercury Retrograde falls across my pause between years, and I’m using Mercury Retrograde to finish up projects such as my Fourth Fiction novella (one of these days I will get around to actually ‘naming’ it) and some other editing and revising which has been relgated to a position way down on my list of priorities. I will also set aside some quiet time to handmake thank you cards for all the wonderful people who have worked for or with me, or impacted on my life as a writer in some way this year. I’ll wait until Mercury goes direct before I send them though.
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 your 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 your 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.