Posted On June 8, 2011 by Print This Post

Writing the Witchy Way by Deborah Blake

Please help me welcome author Deborah Blake to RU. Deborah’s bringing an entirely new topic to the classroom, one I’ve always found intriguing and quite mystical.

Good morning, Deborah!

My name is Deborah Blake and my blog is called “Writing the Witchy Way.”

There are a couple of reasons for that. The most obvious reasons have to do with the fact that I am a practicing witch (don’t worry—I haven’t turned an editor into a toad in years) and have published five nonfiction books on the topic of modern witchcraft. And witches show up in my fiction more often than not. For instance, my urban fantasy series features a protagonist who is a witch-cop who talks to dead crime victims.

I also teach a few popular online writing classes, including one called “Witchcraft for the Paranormal Author,” in which I help writers learn how to write witch characters without putting in a lot of misinformation.

But that’s not really why I gave the blog that name. In truth, it has to do with magic.

You see, I believe in magic. Not just fairy tale magic—although I like fairy tales, and their modern retellings. Real life magic that comes from within and doesn’t require an enchanted wand or an eccentric godmother. This belief affects my writing, and I’m guessing that my writing also affects this belief. So let’s talk about magic, shall we?

Modern witches—including Wiccans, who are a specific subset of a wider group—practice a nature-based religion, based in part on ancient practices and added on to through the last sixty or so years by many modern interpretations. There is a huge variety of practices and beliefs, but one of the things that we all have in common is the acceptance of magic as a genuine force in the universe. How this force is tapped into and used is a source for much debate (oh, who am I kidding—within the modern witchcraft community, EVERYTHING is a source for much debate), but we all acknowledge its existence.

So what is magic, and how can you, as an author, tap into it and use it to add joy to your writing, fulfillment to your life, and maybe even use it to give your writing career a boost?

First of all, don’t worry—you don’t have to be a witch to work with magic. In fact, you probably already do so, in little ways you might not think of using that term.

There is the little everyday magic, for instance, that most writers use as fuel for their writing. Birdsong in an otherwise silent morning, the laughter of a child at play, the way your cat seems to know just when you need to be comforted—to me, these are tiny fragments of magic, free-floating like motes in the summer sunshine. Good writers use this everyday magic in two ways: they tuck away little snippets to be used later in just the right scene, and they allow the gift of these precious moments to feed their souls, so that they can keep going, and keep writing.

Writing can come from many places, including frustration, anger, and grief. But it should also come from joy, and these small bits of magic can keep that joy flowing through your heart and mind and out onto the page.

And then there is the other kind of magic—the purposeful kind, where you set out to accomplish something by tapping into the force of the universe that, for lack of a better word, we call magick (with a k, so you know it from the regular kind). Witches tend to see this energy as something that is out there, available to anyone who wants it and can figure out how to utilize it. Think of it like a scientific principle that no one has been able to prove. People used to think of gravity as nonsense, until Newton changed the way we looked at the world. Magic is like that.

Witches believe that magic is real, and can be used to create positive change in the world. Part of this belief has to do with the Law of Returns: what you put out is what you get back. [No, THE SECRET didn’t invent this concept, and it isn’t actually a secret. Sigh.] In order to do this, we use three things: intent, focus, and will.

Intent is what you want to accomplish. For instance, say you want more time for writing. You will want to make sure you have your intent clear. After all, you don’t want to get more time for writing because you’re laid up with a broken leg, or because you lost a job you loved. (Losing a job you didn’t love, now, that’s another issue…) So you may end up deciding that your actual intent is to create more time in your life for writing, in a positive way, without reducing your income or having a negative effect on your relationships. Or something like that. It will vary from person to person.

Then comes focus. Focus is what directs that intent out into the universe in a meaningful way. Witches create focus through ritual, which can be as simple as a walk through a sacred wood or as complicated as casting a circle, calling in the elements, invoking a goddess, lighting candles and incense, beating a drum or chanting, and then saying a spell. But you don’t have to do any of that, if it doesn’t work for you. You can take a bath and light a white candle you have etched with the thing you desire. You can meditate. You can even just pray or ask for help.

Your will is what sends your intent out, once you have focused it. The reason we use focus is to get the most power out of our will. Let’s face it—most of us spend much of our time running around like crazy, doing things for others, and feeling pretty scattered and pulled in different directions. It can be hard to focus your will under those circumstances. That’s why witches use ritual; it puts them in a different mental state, removing them from the worries and distractions of normal life, so they can truly focus on what they want.

Once you have your intent in mind, have built your focus as much as possible, and have every ounce of your will behind it, then you send it out into the universe. Ta da! You’ve done magick.

Will it work every time? Of course not. Will it work right away, in exactly the form you expected? Maybe, maybe not. But sometimes magick works in ways you least expect and brings you even more than you’d asked for. And if nothing else, it might give you something new to write about. And that’s the best magic of all.


How about it RU Crew? Have any of you used intent, focus, and will to help with your writing? Readers, how many of you love reading stories with witches? Tell us what you love about them.

On Friday, Hope Tarr visits the campus to tell us about the extravaganza taking place at  Lady Jane’s Salon in New York City during RWA Nationals. Don’t miss this special event!


Deborah’s Bio:

Deborah Blake is the author of Circle, Coven and Grove: A Year of Magickal Practice (Llewellyn 2007), Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft (Llewellyn 2008), The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch (Llewellyn 2009), Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (July 2010) and Witchcraft on a Shoestring (September 2010). She has published numerous articles in Pagan publications.

Her award-winning short story, “Dead and (Mostly) Gone” is included in the Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn, 2008). Deborah’s first novel, Witch Ever Way You Can, was the winner or finalist in many RWA (Romance Writers of America) contests and received the EMILY “Best of the Best” Award.Her fiction is primarily Paranormal Romance, although she also writes Fantasy, Mystery and Young Adult. She is represented by agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency.

Deborah had been interviewed on television, radio and podcast, and can be found online at Facebook, Twitter and

When not writing, Deborah runs The Artisans’ Guild, a cooperative shop she founded with a friend in 1999, and also works as a jewelry maker. She lives in a 100 year old farmhouse in rural upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.

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27 Responses to “Writing the Witchy Way by Deborah Blake”

  1. Hi Deborah!

    Thanks for joining us at RU!

    I’ve always believed in the concept of “what you put out is what you get back.” I like how you broke it down into 3 actions–intent, focus and will.


    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | June 8, 2011, 4:36 am
  2. Hi Deborah. Welcome to RU! Fascinating post! I never realized it before, but I already practice intent, focus and will. Whenever I get stuck in my writing, I grab my iPod and go for a walk. Usually the fresh air helps to get me “unstuck.” The walk is usually the only thing that does it, which is a little rough in the winter! LOL.

    Thanks for a great post.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | June 8, 2011, 7:17 am
    • Adrienne,
      I do some of my best thinking when I am walking. I also sometimes use the time to focus on my goals. But not in the winter around here, either…

      Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 11:00 am
  3. Deborah –

    Thanks for a wonderful post and a gentle reminder about “do unto the world as you would have the world do unto you.” Fighting with SoCal traffic often has me wanting to “do unto you as you just cut me off” – LOL.

    I’ve been thinking about this idea of ritual lately and how to better utilize that, especially since I seem to have not only an erratic schedule, but am out of my normal physical space quite a but. For example, we’ll be living in another house for a couple of months this summer. Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on really portable rituals? 🙂

    Also – I’m currently writing a paranormal series that includes magic(k), but the character has one primary elemental magic–earth, air, etc. Do you have any recommendations on great resources?

    Thanks for being with RU today!

    Posted by KelseyBrowning | June 8, 2011, 7:50 am
    • Kelsey,

      You can make yourself a little portable altar fairly easily and put it up on the top of a dresser or even a TV table covered with a pretty cloth. After all, the intent, will, and focus are the important things, and you carry those wherever you go!

      Most spells and rituals can be done without a lot of tools, if you don’t happen to have them with you. You might want to check out my book, “Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook” (oout last year from Llewellyn). There are spells for almost everything you’ll need (nothing for the SoCal traffic, I’m afraid…but there is one for patience!), using only a few optional supplies.

      It is too bad you just missed my course on “Witchcraft for the Paranormal Author” it sounds like exactly what you need. But there are plenty of resources out there. Are you looking for books on the elements? I know that Scott Cunningham wrote a nice one called EARTH, AIR, FIRE, AND WATER.

      Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 11:06 am
      • Darn, wish I hadn’t missed that class. Do you make your lecture packets available for a charge?

        And yes, I’m absolutely looking for resources on the elements. I’ve found a few that look interesting, but don’t want to lay out a ton of cash for the wrong books :).

        Thanks a ton, Deborah!

        Posted by Kelsey Browning | June 8, 2011, 11:26 am
        • Kels,

          I might give it again next year (I’ve given it about 6 times in the last 2 years, I think, so I might not) but you clearly need it now. No one has ever asked about the class notes separately, but I don’t see why not. Email me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo and we’ll talk about it. And if you have a list of books you’re thinking about, I’m happy to help you weed through them, although I won’t be familiar with them all.

          Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 11:47 am
  4. Hi Deborah,

    Very cool post. Focus is my problem. I’m pulled in many directions. I need to find a quiet place. Sometimes, I go to bed thinking about a story and wake up with ideas. My own form of magick. Must be the Irish in me.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | June 8, 2011, 8:33 am
    • Mary Jo,

      I think we all struggle with focus. Most of us just have too much going on in our lives, and are pulled in too many different directions. I don’t know how my friends with husbands and kids get any writing done at all!

      I try to set aside sections of my day for specific things. For instance, 2-3 hours in the evening is my prime writing time, and I try not to go online, get sucked into phone calls, or do anything else that distracts from that.

      And yes, a quiet place definitely helps.

      Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 11:09 am
  5. I love this! I definitely think magic is involved in writing. I’m a pantser, and it happens every time I work on my story. (Whether it’s good magic or bad magic remains to be seen…)

    Thanks for a great post!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | June 8, 2011, 9:01 am
  6. Deborah – I think that I need to practice more intent, focus and will. I get so wrapped up in the crazy life I lead that I forget this aspect of my faith and prayer. And I frequently light candles and get a little quiet time withe Big Guy – it refreshes and energizes my life and my actions.

    Great post! Thanks so much for coming by!


    Posted by Robin Covington | June 8, 2011, 10:48 am
  7. Hi Deborah & RU,

    I arrived here via Facebook. *waves*
    I’m a writer and second-degree Alexandrian and have given a lot of thought to witches who practice the Craft writing fictional witches, but I haven’t reached any conclusions for myself. On the one hand it feels like pimping out the sacred and on the other it feels like the right thing to do, to add the voice & experience of actual practice to the mix of what’s out there. I know that you, and Tate Hallaway and other witchy writers have made it work. How did you find the balance between fictional witchcraft and magickal practice?

    Posted by Jane George | June 8, 2011, 12:40 pm
    • Jane–
      Um…very, very carefully.

      Seriously, though, that is one of the reasons I teach my online workshop, “Witchcraft for the Paranormal Author.” I teach authors how to write an accurate Witch character, or at least give them enough info so they know when they are purposely chosing to be not-accurate.

      As a writer myself, I try to be respectful, and I like my Witch characters to be a good example of what the best magick can offer. This isn’t pimping–it’s just good advertising 🙂

      Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 3:09 pm
    • Welcome, Jane! We’re so glad you found Deborah’s post with us today!


      Posted by Kelsey Browning | June 8, 2011, 5:54 pm
  8. Afternoon Deborah…

    While I’m not Irish like Mary Jo, I do like to sleep and dream about my characters! Lots of times I’ll work through problems that way….whether magick works while I’m sleeping or my overactive imagination takes over (or both!) I’m thrilled on the mornings I wake up and go aha!!!

    Thanks for the post today!!


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | June 8, 2011, 1:14 pm
  9. Hi Deborah!

    Thanks for being with us today. Great post. I love the idea of having a ritual. There’s something very zen about it, if that makes any sense. 🙂


    Posted by jennifer tanner | June 8, 2011, 3:54 pm
    • Jennifer,
      It makes plenty of sense 🙂
      I actually studied Buddhism for years before coming to Wicca. They have a surprising amount in common..


      Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 4:28 pm
      • It just occurred to me…I had some soldiers I was sending care packages to and they told me that a few of them were Wiccans. After reading your post, I have to wonder if they had rituals in order to make their deployment easier. 🙂

        Posted by jennifer tanner | June 8, 2011, 4:30 pm
        • Wiccans actually have had a notoriously difficult time in the military, unfortunately. They are often put in the position of not being allowed to worship the way they want to, and there is rarely clergy who understands their religion. It is a serious ongoing problem.

          So sweet of you to send packages to soldiers!

          Posted by Deborah Blake | June 8, 2011, 5:55 pm
  10. Deborah (and everyone)–

    Thank you for such a wonderful conversation! I’ve learned so much today.


    Posted by TraceyDevlyn | June 8, 2011, 10:47 pm
  11. Great post Deborah! Lots of good info here.

    Posted by V.R. Leavitt | June 22, 2011, 6:26 pm


  1. […] There are a couple of reasons for that. The most obvious reasons have to do with the fact that I am a practicing witch (don’t worry—I haven’t turned an editor into a toad in years) and have published five nonfiction books on the topic of modern witchcraft. And witches show up in my fiction more often than not. For instance, my urban fantasy series features a protagonist who is a witch-cop who talks to dead crime victims.  […]

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