Now, the more astute among you might have noticed that I missed phases 6 and 7 — and you would be right! I did. I’m truly sorry. Life got in the way — in a very, very big way.
But we’re onto the Dark Moon phase, and it’s all about tying up the last of the loose ends.
This stage is all about reflection and replenishing.
For the waning part of the moon (everything that came after Full) I was busy re-evaluating my story in the wake of a couple of (MAJOR) revelations. I realised that it’s not a story for a younger audience (as I initially suspected) but it’s part of a larger adult story I am already working on. Working that out was like finding the puzzle piece I hadn’t realised was missing.
Yes, it was frustrating. Yes, it made me doubt myself. Particularly because I had been so sure about the story to begin with. But this process is about ebb and flow. I’ve learned the hard way that trying to force a story to be a shape that it isn’t never ends well.
I’ve had to reassess and rethink my story. I have re-written things from this new perspective.
But let’s stick to this phase: the Dark Moon phase. It applies until the new moon on the night of the 13th March.
I’ve had some people mention to me that they don’t like dark moons. I think that’s some kind of residual superstition. I actually love dark moons. More than that, by the end of the cycle, I seem to crave them.
In a story sense, the Dark Moon phase is where you sign off. Get your story to a point where you are happy to set it aside and let it settle. Even just for a day. Your aim is to have resolved at least enough for you to have new writing to complete during the next moon cycle. There might be a lot more planning needed, as well, and there’ll be time for that, but it’s really important you have new work you can push forward with.
The other thing you can spend some time doing is having a think about how you went. It wasn’t the best writing cycle I’ve ever had. In my case, a lot of the issues that hijacked my attention just couldn’t be avoided. Hopefully, next time will be easier. But I have thought about a couple of things I’ll do differently. For example, I now have a spot on my desk for my current story’s notepad. I am going to clean everything off at the end of the day, so it’s the only thing left, and the first thing I see each morning. A secret hijack of my own planning: story before the real world stuff. No matter what.
The other thing I have to do is become a lot more stringent with social media (as in, being distracted by it). I was very disciplined for the first week and a half, then things gradually slipped. In the same way that I’ve found a spot for my notepad, I’ve made space in the cupboard for my phone. I’ve reminded myself I’ve got Cold Turkey on my laptop for a reason.
Always room for improvement.
If I had to describe the Dark Moon phase in one word, it would be: COCOON.
It’s a time-out where you rest up, get some sleep, eat well, and replenish your creative energy and resolve.
For me, it means reading! Screen stories just scatter my head at this point. I’m looking for stories by great writers that inspire me to want to write. I might even tackle something on the craft of storytelling, as long as it’s nourishing rather than a formulaic secrets-of-success type thing. This time around, I’m going to dip into The Practice by Seth Godin.
Most importantly of all, have faith, don’t beat yourself up, the point of a cycle is that you get to start again.
Until then, rest …