A couple of weeks into the new year, after the glimmer of resolutions has started to fade, it’s easy to get sucked into the gloom that can come with “winter blues.” Especially in places that have colder temperatures, the weather and grey days can seem bleak. And if you add going to and coming from work in the dark–it can be downright depressing. Depressing moods tend to be a sedative to creativity, making the winter months hard to deal with for many writers.
If you deal with the seasonal blues, it’s important to remember that there are many strategies you can use to get through these tough months. Here are some ideas to help:
1. Be gentle on yourself.
At the top of the list, remember to go easy on yourself. It’s okay to want to curl up with a movie and a blanket and a brownie sundae instead of sitting and writing 2,000 words a day. Creativity can travel in peaks and valleys regardless of the weather. The fastest way to burn out with any creative venture? Not giving yourself the breaks you need. Here are some more thoughts on honoring your natural writing rhythm: Work With Your Writing Rhythm.
Part of filling your creative well is to nourish yourself when you’re less than inspired. Sometimes that means stepping back or participating in other hobbies that help make you creative. For example, when I’m painting or playing music, my brain is able to unwind and daydream. Those activities help make me a better writer. Often, my hobbies can cause me to think of new story ideas.
Being gentle on yourself is vital to helping you get through the winter months. And let yourself eat that brownie–it gives you something to look forward to.
2. Make your winter writing goals manageable.
Being gentle on yourself doesn’t mean you should quit writing, though! When you’re having trouble with writing, regardless of the season, it’s time to reassess your writing goals. Maybe lower your word count goals. Consider writing detailed outlines to plots rather than drafting. Dive into research. There are many ways you can continue writing that don’t include driving yourself to exhaustion. Embrace the things in your writing and author life process that might require less energy.
3. Participate in community.
Writing is a lonely sport. One of the ways to best ways to help with the tough times is community. Fortunately, there is a huge community of writers. Whether in local critique groups, writing conferences, or social media–there are many ways to participate in the community of writers.
By participating in the community of writers, you can find help and encouragement. Some may help with things such as writing craft or prompts. Others may be able to lead you in writing sprints to get to your writing goals.
More importantly, participating in community helps you to network. Networking with other writers can be invaluable for marketing and publication. It can also be fun!
Whatever you do to help deal with the blues in the winter season, make sure that you don’t let yourself be defeated. Keep your chin up, pour yourself a hot cup of cocoa, and keep writing!