I am not a witch. Nor am I a sorcerer, occultist, or enchanter of any kind. But I am totally obsessed with magic. I have a collection of magical texts that most wizards would be pretty proud of, yet I've never attempted a single spell. Its all used as reference material for stories and inspiration for memorable characters. Some of history's most interesting and influential people have been practitioners, and groups from the Golden Dawn to present-day Wiccan covens have shown us new ways of looking at the world around us.
Magicians fascinate me and I've read up on most of them: Apollonius of Tyana, Ramon Llull, Agrippa, Giordano Bruno, Cellini, John Dee, Eliphas Levi, Arthur Edward Waite, and many more. Their practices varied, but they were all innovative thinkers who pushed the boundaries of conventional beliefs. They were also diligent scholars and extremely dedicated to improving their craft, just like their contemporary counterparts.
Magic is hard work. Sure, we love reading stories about special characters with unique abilities and talents, but even the most inherently gifted wizard has to put in their seven years at Hogwarts and then some. There are no short cuts when it comes to performing powerful works. You must practice, practice, practice and eventually you're able to gradually coax the extraordinary into being.
It got me thinking about a phrase I've heard often since I began writing and learning that particular craft. In various forms, it basically states that determination is more important than talent when it comes to being a successful author. Of course, we all want to be good. No one starts a novel hoping it will turn out to be mediocre. We want to write something that people will love, read over and over with joy and exalt to anyone who will listen. Just as we cherish our favorite stories, study them, emulate the author's voice so that we may find our own, knowing that if we could just figure out how they acquired the divine spark of genius that created such greatness, then we would have the secret to making our own masterpiece.
But it's not that easy. As we figuratively sweat and bleed our way to the boot camp finish line at the end of the month, I hope everyone participating will recognize the importance of the journey itself. While bits of magic will surely emerge here and there along the way, it all comes down to the true grit of being a writer and all the toil and persistence required to be a really good one.