Are you a seasonal writer? Do you have more writing mojo when the weather begins to turn cool and maybe rainy, when the days grow shorter and darkness creeps in earlier every evening?
Some writers find it easier to write without all the warm weather distractions, but don’t push this idea too far. You’ll be encroaching on the entire body of southern writers who’ve managed to pound out prize-winning page after page over the years despite summer, autumn and spring heat along with humidity that doesn’t quit.
Writers from other tropical climes do the same and still others point to the frigid temperatures of winter that get them going, if only to stay warm.
There are a lot of reasons/excuses for not writing. So I ask you? If it’s not the weather that affects your motivation to put the words on paper, what is it that keeps you from doing the work you say you love? Or gets you tapping the keys happily for hours at a time?
We know that most of us need to work for a living and work not only claims our time but our energy. Even so, people who work for a living have many hours available for other things. You could be like William Faulkner and write a novel on the paper lunch bags he brought to work. How many lunch bags would it take to complete your latest project?
Some people depend on landscape for inspiration and motivation. I’m one of those writers. I want a window beside me as I write. I’m not so particular about what’s outside that window as long as it’s a chunk of nature and not the side of a 10-story apartment building.
You’ve heard the stories about lucky sweaters or slippers or baseball hats. Maybe a special object or picture or quotation on the wall is your writing charm.
Writing is a personal thing and no two writers do it the same way. That’s true with all the arts because – well, good art, whether it’s words or music or paint on a canvas, is a singular thing. If you do it just like someone else, it’s not art. Originality is the thing, and however you find that originality for your own work is all yours. So I recommend knowing well what works for you and staying with it through thick and thin.
Don’t look at your neighbor to see what works for her. Find your own magic.
If the chill of autumn is your trigger, lock yourself in your writing space right now and get to it. Don’t answer the phone or the door and don’t worry about the consequences.
If you do your best in a certain landscape, go there and stay until you finish something – anything.
If you have a favorite shirt you wear when your writing is at its best, put it on and don’t take it off until your project is complete. Wear it under your clothes to work and over your clothes on the weekend.
My point today is that writing takes more than knowing the words and sentences. It takes more than serious dedication. Writing, like all art, takes a certain amount of quirkiness and flat-out goofiness to get anywhere.
In his wonderful book, The Writer on His Own, David Greenhood says this about that:
“If we suppress our wackiness, we’ll seal off the source of some of our most truing impulses. Our potential will dwindle. We’ll no longer feel the sweet daze and speed of the push of it.”
Words to live by, my friends. Words to live by. And yes, if it helps you produce prose that makes the angels sing, the beanie with the propeller on it is just fine.