There are a lot of prompt books and lists for creative writing but once I discovered how to use a tarot deck, I have never needed any other tool to get warmed up or to break writer’s block. Using a tarot deck to generate writing prompts works by providing just the right amount of structure to provide a springboard without becoming routine or too confining.

For today’s prompt, I will be using the Everyday Tarot which I bought specifically for creative writing. It is a mini-deck, which is something important when I’m doing larger spreads or when I want to write on the go. It also comes with a meaty, compact “little white book” (purple, in this case) noting basic and common associations with the cards.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

One of my favourite spreads is to lay out an Aristotelian 3-act plot using a simple three-card spread.

What you will need:

  • -A deck of tarot cards
  • -Writing tools (computer, paper and pen etc…)

Exercise

  • Step 1: Spend a moment centering yourself. This will help you clear your mind and focus.
  • Step 2: Shuffle the cards. Everyone has a favourite method.
  • Step 3: Draw three cards face down.
  • Step 4: Turn over the first card on the left. This is the beginning of your story. Take a moment to analyze the card.
  • Step 5: Write. I like to set a timer for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Step 6: Turn over the middle card—this is the middle of your story. Take a moment.
  • Step 7: Write.
  • Step 8: Turn over the last card and discover how the story ends! Take a moment.
  • Step 9: Write.

Variations:

Timers are useful to bypass our urge to edit. Sometimes I like to place all of the cards face up from the start, other times I will draw one at a time. Experiment with it. You can also add cards to align with Freytag’s Pyramid if you want to go deeper.

NB: Remember, you don’t need to be literal with these prompts. The accepted meanings are just to get you started. There’s no right or wrong here.

Sample Spread

I’ve done a spread for you to use today! Give this a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Nine of Swords: Anxiety, worry, fear, depression, nightmares

Ace of Swords: Breakthroughs, new ideas, mental clarity, success

Hierophant: Spiritual wisdom, religious beliefs, conformity, tradition,institutions

7 thoughts on “Make Writing Prompts with Tarot Cards

      1. yes, I have 4 sets of Rory’s story cubes now… they can be fun to pull out when friends visit. I would love to spend more time writing. I love the initial ideas, it’s rare for me to finish a story though.

        Like

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