The Writer’s Desk: ‘Tis the season to be writing

The weather outside is frightful, but as a writer, the weather can always be balmy on the page.

This time of year, I just want to stay curled under my duvet where it’s warm, where dreams can take me to the Bahamas or the Mediterranean, but life forces us to face the cold, cloudy world. The book I’m currently writing is set in summer, so for a few hours each day, the world is sunny and nobody needs to wear a coat.

Research shows how imagination can influence our moods, and enhance our overall productivity. It’s a continuous cycle similar to how a busy person seems to be able to juggle many tasks yet be open to taking on more. Productivity breeds more productivity.

There’s a reason you may have the blues right now: SAD, otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, affects a majority of people this time of year. It likely explains why strong coffee is a staple in the often-gloomy Pacific Northwest. Use a Happy Light . It mimics sunlight, so the prime time to use one is in the morning. I keep one on my desk and it not only provides extra light for writing, but I feel energized after a half hour to an hour of exposure. The average happy light costs about $30.

Other things that may enhance your writing this time of year:

Take Vitamin D. Research shows a clear link between energy and vitamin D levels. Salads and fish are high in D, but this time of year when there is little sunlight, you may want to supplement.

Take a walk. Even if it’s rainy, windy or cold, exposure to natural light and air will improve your mood. Exercise is a known mood lifter, and as writers, you can use the walk time to observe details such as the sound of the water as it laps against the shore, or the feel of the wind on your skin.

Read. As freezing rain pelts against the widows and wind rattles the panes, stories set in warm places take you away to a warmer season. This is a perfect time of year to read beachy books such a Beach Read by Emily Henry or any of Erin Hillenbrand’s oceanside books.

Take a workshop. Many of us are Zoomed out (I know I am!), but online workshops are weatherproof and offer instruction and help build a sense of community. I don’t drive well at night, but linking up online is no barrier to attending. Locally, you can join Write Night—a writer’s support and critique group—was founded in 2011 by Christine Dubois and Leslie Hall, local writers and writing instructors. They meet on Thursday evenings, and participants bring up to 1,000 words of whatever they’re writing: sci fi, memoir, articles, poetry. The author reads his/her work, then the others discuss it. The atmosphere is supportive and constructive. For more information, inquire at writenightwa@gmail.com.

Write. One sentence, one paragraph, one page at a time. If you set a goal to write on page a say, in one year you’ll have amassed 365 pages.

Stay sunny and keep writing. Pablo and I wish you Happy Holidays!

— By Laura Moe

 Laura Moe is board president of EPIC Group Writers and the author of three novels. Her current WIP, to which she contributes 600-1000 words a day, takes places during summer.

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