Do changes in seasons affect your creative writing output?

It’s autumn in the northern hemisphere.  The days are shortening.  Average daily temperatures are dropping.  Arrays of food and beverage products are offered in “pumpkin-spice” varieties.   And yet, what excites me most as a writer is that it’s the time of year when my daily word-counts start to skyrocket!

Speaking personally, I feel there’s a strong correlation between the season and my desire to set my butt in the chair to start banging out eloquent prose and engaging character dialog.

Autumn is by far my favorite season; perhaps that can be attributed to the abundance of cherished personal memories I associate with the months from September through December that I feel are worth capturing within my works of fiction.  And for those of us browsing writing-related blogs and discussion groups on the Internet, we’re likely fueled, at least on some unconscious level, by the buzz and hype of National Novel Writing Month that begins on November 1.  I know I am, and I personally look forward to Saturday morning write-ins at the local coffee-shop/bakery with fellow co-blogger at this site, Rob Diaz.  (The camaraderie and commiseration is nice, but I mostly look forward to nibbling the orange-flavored scones and sipping hazelnut coffee.)

My writing patterns change once full-on winter arrives.  Although I continue to write steadily, I find I am more inclined to skip a day or two upon feeling worn out from the early winter festivals of the Christmas and New Year holidays.  Weekends in winter are great for writing because it’s usually too cold, wet, or snowy for neighbors to fire-up leaf blowers and lawnmowers at the crack of dawn.  That affords more time to write without ambient outdoor noises, except of course for the occasional shotgun blast from the area as deer-hunting season is in full-swing.

Where I live, the middle of March is the welcome of springtime.  Biologists will tell you spring brings new life and rejuvenation to the plant and animal world, but what they won’t tell you is that it tends to wreak total havoc on my writing cadence.  The early mornings are brighter and a bit warmer, which finds me yearning for a brisk outdoor light jog about three days a week.  Of course, that’s three days a week of prime writing time now interrupted.

And then there’s summer.  Early-morning clanking and banging from neighborhood home improvement projects tends to be disruptive to me.  Need I say more?

In reality, many of the distractions I describe above that keep me from driving up my word counts are admittedly embellished and satirized.  But it’s true that autumn, for me, brings the best word counts.  I just need to understand how to capture the spirit of autumn and leverage it to my advantage twelve months of the year.

7 thoughts on “Do changes in seasons affect your creative writing output?

  1. Hm, I wonder if that’s why November got selected as NaNoWriMo? As the nights lengthen, bears get ready to sleep and writers get ready to type! (And they both find themselves wanting to eat a lot.) I find this seasonal effect in my creative life, too. I started both of my last two books in the fall: one in September and one in November.

  2. I’m more productive with writing during the autumn and winter months as well. It’s cold outside and I look forward to waking up in my warm apartment to begin writing. In the cooler months, I find that I’m productive in the morning and evenings and stay up later to write. The quiet and calm makes for great writing sessions. Of course, it’s easier to stay in and write when it’s too cold to go outside.

    Very interesting post.

  3. I never thought about how the seasons affect my writing habits, this is something to think on, but I can say I’ve been more inclined to write now than ever before.

  4. I tend to be more productive in the winter… December and January… but it’s more because there’s fewer activities for my kids. Marching Band is over but Jazz Band hasn’t started. Fall baseball is over but winter workouts… okay, baseball is like year round now, but it’s much less in December and the first part of January. The garden is closed for business and the lawn doesn’t need mowing. Early in the morning, kids, cats and dogs are more likely to want to stay buried under the blankets instead of out watching the television or digging their claws into me.

    On the other hand… I am a less effective writer after the sun goes down. And with the shorter days, that means less writing time. So, it’s a double-edged sword, I guess.

  5. You know, I’d never given it much thought, but I think I, too, experience this seasonal change. Once I’m less drawn to the outdoors and more drawn to my comfy chair and hot tea, I get my act together. Too easily distracted it seems. I enjoyed this post. Really got me thinking (and pondering how to change these weather-dependent ways of mine).

  6. Interesting question. Mine is pretty steady, but I can see I’m in the minority. Good question.

  7. An absolutely fascinating premise to the post and such interesting discussions from everyone. I’d never considered how seasonal writing might cause a glitch or a smooth passage for some writers. Sort of a sundowner syndrome.

    I am much more affected by changes in my personal life, especially family or employment obligations I have to meet. They’ve had a big impact on my writing output, or should I say, my non-creative writing output, for the past two months. Calm the personal wave (well, some of it, anyway) and bring on the 100-foot storm surge so I can get back to writing.

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