It’s snowing as I write this. Not the casual first flakes of fall that melt before they hit ground covered in aspen leaves and pine needles, but real snow. The kind that turns the world white and leads to a frustrating commute behind unprepared drivers going 38 mph on the highway. Two days ago it was fall, and now, while the calendar still says that’s true, I look out the window and see winter. And winter makes me want to write.
Last year at this time I’d just started seriously trying to put words, words about fictional characters I’d created in my own head, on to the page. I had three ideas for novels tugging at the back of my brain, with a few random scenes written for each. And right about this time, a week before the start of November, I decided to try NaNoWriMo. I picked one idea and for the month of November I wrote. I didn’t manage to write every day and I didn’t manage to win, but I proved to myself that I could sit down and write a significant chunk of a novel in a month. And if I could do that? I could sit down and FINISH a novel.
I haven’t yet. I haven’t finished anything. In the last year I’ve grown tremendously as a writer. I’ve taken huge steps requiring me to be a lot braver than I generally am. I’ve joined a writing group, had my work critiqued, joined this blog but … I haven’t finished anything. I stopped even really trying to write over the summer. I had reasons for going on hiatus. I know I did. But now it’s winter again. It’s been a year and I haven’t finished anything.
I want to write. Because it’s winter and I know I can put words on the page during winter. Long dark mornings and evenings are productive for me. I can curl up in a chair by the fire with my laptop, distractions hidden so long as I don’t turn on too many lights. I’m lucky enough to have a job where my bosses don’t mind if I write when it’s slow, and it’s very slow now. I’ve decided to do an unofficial attempt at NaNoWriMo. (Unofficial because I’ll be working on a project I’ve already started.) And sometime this winter maybe I’ll finish something. And next spring and summer won’t be so hard for the writing because I’ll know that not only can I write a good chunk of a novel, I can finish one as well.
Surviving a mountain winter requires optimism–believing that while it seems like the snow will never end, it will. The geese will pass overhead on a return flight, the hummingbird feeder will need to be placed back on its hook, and the daffodils will bloom. Being a writer requires even more–the ideas will keep coming, the words won’t stop, and I will write a novel.
What about you? Do you find writing comes easier during a certain season? I know writers write. I know that professional writers treat writing like a profession. They sit down, and they write, whatever the weather, whatever the distraction. But I’m glad it’s winter again.