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.