Winter: My Favorite Writing Season

IMG_0110January: Refocus. Move within.

Holidays are as chaotic as they are blissful. December is almost a writing washout for me as days are filled with making lists, checking them twice, fulfilling the merry expectations I’ve set for myself and responding to the ones asked of me by others.

When the last party invitation is met, final batch of treats baked and eaten, when the decorations return to storage, I go to my desk and sigh.

Winter is my favorite season.

The more snowy the weather, the angrier the skies, the better I write and the longer I write.

Why not Good Weather?

In good weather, the days in my neighborhood are filled with walkers, dogs with walkers, bikers, lawn mowers, etc. Cars are off to the grocery, church, wherever. I feel that scurrying.

My best writing accomplishments come when I look up and realize hours have passed when it felt like moments.

Bright sun, dry skies, active creatures can be intrusive. I become a clock watcher, forcing the words to come, anxious for a break. Making up excuses for a break.

Siren Songs.

I’ve come to believe that what is distracting me during good weather seasons is the energy people and critters give off.

Even if I see no one. Windows closed. Blinds shut. The energy waves come through the house and over my desk. Subconsciously, maybe, these energy waves are as distracting as if two people were playing ball in my room.

Siren songs calling me away.

Why Nighttime Works for Many Artists.

During the night, most people quiet down, head for sleep. It’s a time when many writers and other artists do their best work. Undistracted. Using my theory, outside energy waves are tamped, silenced.

Solitude is easier to achieve. Focus is easier to maintain at night.

The same happens to me, but I am not a night owl. Not most of the time. But the idea is the same.

Winter is My Nighttime.

Winter sunlight is cooler, darker.

Even without snow or ice, people are more apt are to be inside, settled into quieter activities from January through early March.

In winter, from morning to noon to evening, my ideas hatch faster. My stories grow quicker. My writing time increases.

My most productive writing season is winter.

 

 

“There is an instinctive withdrawal for the sake of preservation, a closure that assumes the order of completion. Winter is a season unto itself.”                     ~Haruki Murakami

 

 

 

Cursive is Queen: Power of Pen, Pencil and Paper

I notice I write with a pencil and paper when I really need to connect to my words and my story.

It’s old school. Maybe. William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen and thousands of authors penned their stories, literally.

How many would have chosen the computer if it were available? Plenty. I am using a keyboard over 90% of the time. But when I am stuck. When the image of a fictional scene is in my head but the words to carry my vision to the page are jumbled, stuck or blurry, I leave the screen, pull out paper (usually a yellow legal pad) and pencil and write by hand, in cursive.

I feel tightly connected to my writing when I do it manually.

The writing isn’t perfect. Lines are crossed out. Words are squeezed between spaces. Arrows go this way and that. And sometimes there are doodles in the margins; if I leave any margins.

When the page or pages goes beyond see-able because of the editorial rewriting, I get anxious. I flip on the computer screen and clack away at my keyboard once more, happy I have the technology to polish a work with ease and speed.

But I wonder about the writers who did it all by hand. I wonder how they got it right in a draft or two. How powerful was their connection to their words, their visions, their souls and to the pen in their hands and the paper under their palms.

One of my favorite movie scenes is the beginning of Shakespeare In Love. William Shakespeare is in a garret trying to write. He’s lost his muse, which is the conflict of the story. But his fingers draw my attention. The ones holding his quills are black, stained by the ink. His nails are gray. They look like those of a car mechanic’s. What toil. What labor. What concentration.

What a symbol for the writing process.