Monday, January 23, 2023

Seasonal Writing Patterns - by Kathleen Cook

Do you orient toward the various seasonal shifts in your writing patterns? I do! Now that the leaves have all fallen and thoughts turn to Christmas, I take a notepad and pen and curl up near the fire on the comfy couch. While most of my writing is done on a PC or laptop, pen and paper seem to dominate my winter prose. I can lie on the couch with a throw blanket and a cup of cocoa, and look out the window at the chipmunks to find inspiration. The south facing window with its soothingly warm sun is perfect in winter, and chipmunks, with antics that remind me of children playing in snow, trigger my imagination as well as anything on television.

Where do you write best? Do you have a favorite spot? Does it change with the seasons? Try varying your writing spots. Revisit those spots in different months and at different times, to discover when they can serve as your productive hot spots. You may find that a chair with a north-facing window is far more comfortable in summer than in winter. You may also find that the light of a west window is perfect in the morning but too harsh in the afternoon. Mixing up your writing places can add zest to your writing. Being in the same spot day in and day out is like eating the same meal every day. It gets boring, and that boredom shows in your writing.

Come spring, I'll switch to my computer upstairs, where I can witness the new buds just starting to burst forth on the peach trees in the backyard. From that location, I can see groundhogs scurry in the distance. In summer, I'll shift to the other side of the house with the northern exposure and a shade tree, where a cool iced tea and a chair with breathable fabric bring comfort on a hot day.

In early autumn, just as the leaves start to change, I'll move again to the south side with my laptop, but this time, I'll choose the room with a view of the flaming redbud tree. It takes my breath away, and for some reason, all of my favorite books have started their first chapters in that room. (And yes, my books DO write themselves! All I need is the inspiration of my surroundings!) 

If you really can't switch rooms with the seasons, switch up your décor. I know a friend who writes on her computer in her bedroom, but with every season she changes her bedspread and the flowers on her window. It changes her mood and uplifts her spirits. While it's possible to write while in the depths of the doldrums, you usually do a better job when your spirits rise. Try switching out the items on your computer desk, too. If you usually keep a pen handy, try a different color for every month. If you have a desk lamp, switch out the shade every few months. Or put a new stuffed animal out to make you smile. 

I guess what it all boils down to is that monotony can dampen your creativity. When you change the scene in which you write your novels, either by changing rooms or by changing the room you're writing in, you drive a stake into that monotony and shakeup your routine. You gain a different perspective. You may see things in a new light, and that's the best kind of light to write by no matter where you are! Happy Seasons! 

Kathleen Cook is a retired editor and the author of more than twenty books. A former copy writer/editor for Demand Studios, she also served as the Fictional Religion Editor for the ODP (Open Directory Project) in the internet’s early days. She is currently the Arizona Authors Association Editor as well as the website administrator.  

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