Up Close With: Chelsey Pippin Mizzi

Meet the wonderful writers and patrons behind LWS.

Lauren McMenemy
London Writers’ Salon

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You don’t know your High Priestess from your Hanged Man and your Hierophant? Not sure how people look at an image of a person with 10 swords in their back and nod sagely, knowing what it means for them? Then let us introduce you to Chelsey Pippin Mizzi, otherwise known as Pip’s Tarot Cards, who answer these conundrums and more. Chelsey is the LWS Queen of the Tarot, and joins writers hours to pen her forthcoming tarot yearbook. But she isn’t just about scanning the cards: Chelsey specialises as a coach using tarot for creatives, and runs superb workshops helping writers to use the tarot to inform their stories, to flesh out characters, to help get unblocked or untangle those plot knots. She’s always written from image prompts, and finds solace in words of all kinds.

Chelsey Pippin Mizzi (she/her), 33

  • Currently based in Brighton, UK
  • Soon to be based in Avignon, France
  • Queen of the Tarot and the majestic mystic of LWS

What do you write, in general?

I am a TOTAL dabbler! Fiction, personal essay, self-help/wellness/creativity, and a bit of poetry.

What are you working on right now?

My first book, The Tarot Spreads Yearbook, will be published next year. It’s due to my publisher in June, so drafting that is my main squeeze. I’m also working on converting a novel idea I’ve had for years into a screenplay.

Where and when do you write?

I write whenever I can wrangle my body into a seat and my brain into attention, which is to say I write sporadically but also kind of any and all of the time I possibly can. In terms of where — most often, I write from my living room sofa or my bed, but at least once a week I try to switch it up and get out to a coffee shop. I also really appreciate any excuse to write on a train.

How do you write?

I have a (mostly) daily journal practice, and that work I do by hand. And sometimes in the earliest stages of an idea — or if I’m just feeling stuck — I’ll jot down notes, ideas, or scenes long hand (or even take voice notes on my phone), but I’m most comfortable writing on my laptop. I wish it wasn’t the case — I don’t love the screen! But I have a bad habit for losing paper or not being able to read my handwriting, and I’m often too lazy to transcribe, so if I want work to get done and be read by anyone, computer it is! I also like having multiple windows up at once — like an outline or research, as well as my writing doc. I definitely like to see both of those on the screen at the same time. I’ll usually also have a notebook open while I type, just to be safe!

My process, in other words, is a bit of a mess, but the older I get the more I try to embrace that and just let things happen as and how they come. Some days are hand writing days, some days are coffee shop days, some days are lunchtime days and some are 4am days. The less I resist my “lack” of process, the more I respect that my process is a fluid thing, and I just have to let it flow its way.

Why do you write?

So I don’t consciously think about this question, because I can’t really conceive of an existence that wouldn’t include writing or creating on some level — “why” almost feels irrelevant. Kind of like asking why do I breathe or open my eyes. It’s an unbidden instinct. That doesn’t mean writing SUCCESSFULLY is an instinct, mind you. Just that the thought-process of writing is. To me, I guess, thinking and writing are kind of the same thing. Even when I’m not putting pen to paper (which is often!), I’m still storytelling in my mind.

What inspires your creativity?

I’ve always written from images — I love paintings and photographs, I love the visual moments that pop up out of nowhere in my head and beg me to figure out the story that explains them. I run a coaching business to help creatives find inspiration through tarot cards — specifically because when I started learning tarot, what was so fascinating was that it felt so in sync with my writing life. Suddenly I had this pocket-sized kit of images that I could carry around and use to inspire and unblock me any time, and I wanted to share that tool with everybody!

The other thing that inspires my creativity (UNFORTUNATELY) is discomfort. All of my best ideas are borne out of ideas that make me uncomfortable. Mortality, mental illness, bodies, relationships, loneliness, grief, embarrassment. All these things that make me cringe and keep me up at night tend to also be the threads I want to pull hardest when I write.

Chelsey has always written from images

What’s your favourite book?

I don’t have a lifetime favourite book — like my writing process, my preference flit around constantly. Some books that have stayed with me the longest, and that I recommend the most are: Sally Rooney’s Normal People (look, I love it and it makes me cry every time I re-read it, I’m not sorry) and Julia Cameron’s The Listening Path (I will die on the hill that this book is better than her seminal Artist’s Way). I recently read American Housewife by Helen Ellis and loved it — which is saying a lot because I don’t usually devour short story collections the way I did this one. My favourite tarot book, if you’re interested, is 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about creativity?

I’ve gotten so much more bad creativity advice than good! But I think the most important thing I’ve learned from watching the creative people I respect most is that being open — to change, to ideas, to discomfort, to moments of pause and flurries of activity — is the only way to ferry yourself through a creative life.

What’s the one thing you would tell other/aspiring writers?

You! Don’t! Have! To Write! Your Morning Pages! In the Morning!!!!!! I’m a HUGE proponent of journaling. It changed my creative life. But part of the reason that it changed my creative life is that at some point, I accepted that I had to do it in a way that works for ME, not the way that works for anyone else. I think there’s a bit of a superstition that journaling is most effective first thing in the morning, and that you have to do a certain number of pages, or write in a certain way for it to have an impact on your creative success. But if really, it’s just about showing up in a way that feels good for you.

Also, if you’re faced with a choice between writing and a nap — take the nap.

How can we discover more about you and your work?

You can follow me on Instagram at @pipcardstarot, on Twitter @chelspipp, and book in creative tarot sessions with me at pipcardstarot.com

Is it really a mystical desk if there’s no cat?

✍️ Write with Chelsey and hundreds of other writers each weekday at Writers’ Hour (it’s free).

Connect with fellow writers and build a successful, creative career with London Writers’ Salon.

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Lauren McMenemy
London Writers’ Salon

Weird girl in the corner | Gothic & Folk Horror Writer | Writing Coach | Trainer & Facilitator | Mental Health Advocate | wherelaurenwrites.com | 👻🧛‍♀️🔮😈