Writing Through the Dark Days

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No matter how many springs you see, it feels like the dark will last forever once November rolls around. It’s already too dark for too much of the day, and you know it will get worse before it gets better. While we all want to be a Tolkien character, waxing poetic about how dawn will push back the night, it isn’t nice to actually live it. So, how can you keep your spirits up and get something down on paper this winter season?

Bring in New Sources of Light

The first trick is to celebrate your new options. The sun isn’t out, but that just makes your writing space fertile ground for alternative light sources. Break out those candles you keep buying but never burning. Light a collection of various sizes near your writing space (SAFELY), and let them bring some romance, suspense, or flickering introspection to your story. Fairy lights do wonders to brighten the mood, too. Old fashioned lamps, projectors, and even large nightlights liven up the scene.

Move to Communal Spaces

The dark makes many people feel isolated. The best way to push back against this sensation is to drag your community closer. If you live with anyone else – including pets – try to come together in the evenings. Even while you write. Find a lap desk so you can write on the couch with your significant other. Bring your notebook and pens to the living room floor and settle in with the dog. Physical proximity boosts mood and grounds you.

Remember, it’s okay if you get distracted. If you struggle to write during the dark days, getting a little done in a space that makes you feel well is better than getting a tiny amount done in a space that leaves you drained. Writing during the holidays is already an uphill struggle. No one expects you to write thousands of words every day, especially if you’ve just fought through NaNoWriMo

Embrace the Cozy

Fall is sweater season. Winter is hot drinks’ time to shine. Embrace all the things that make you feel warm and happy. When you’re drenched in pumpkin spice, sipping apple cider, or indulging in a fireplace blaze, you’ll probably care a lot less about what’s happening outside.

Do you have a favorite blanket or afghan? Wrap up while you type. Pull them up over your head and wear fingerless gloves so you can pretend to be a bohemian artist fighting the cold in 1890’s Paris. Conversely, turn on the coffee pot, prep some tea, and pour some cider. At the same time. Line them up on your desk and embrace your life as a triple-fisted drinker. Do you like hot chocolate? Break out the whipped cream. It’s writing time, so get yourself warm and happy!

Find Nighttime Things You Love

Sometimes, ignoring the dark just doesn’t work. It pushes against the windows and lingers in corners, no matter how many lights you turn on. In these cases, it’s best to stop fighting the current and go with the flow.

So. It’s dark.

What are your favorite things about nighttime?

That may be recreating pillow forts from childhood sleepovers, putting glow-in-the-dark stars up, or playing summer nighttime sounds so you can pretend this is just the perfect summer evening that bends time.

The long nights may be overwhelming, but shifting gears can help make the dark days less depressing. You may even find some original inspiration as you experiment with these self-care ideas. What do you use to stay sane during the winter? Do you have any tips for other writers?

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