Guest blogs and bloggers / writers / writing

Seasonal Creativity

Here’s a wonderful guest post from efriend, Cherie Dawn, author of Girl on Fire, on seasonal creativity. I haven’t written about this… well… ever on WordDreams so I’m thrilled Cherie offered to discuss it. It’s actually a big problem for a lot of writers.

Season Creativity: How I Stay Creative in the Cold of Winter

Years ago my husband pointed something out to me when I felt like giving up on my creative endeavors. I was uninspired and unmotivated.

“You get like this every year,” he said.

Apparently he had picked up on my rhythm: In spring, summer, and early fall I would go 110% on multiple creative projects, from writing a novel draft and poetry to crocheting, to costume design and dance choreographies (I was a part-time fire eater, after all), and more. Late autumn, however, brought with it a dormancy that affected everything around me in nature and also within my own being.

It made sense, and once he helped me recognize the cycle, I was able to embrace it and push through it without falling into a “woe is me, I must not really be a writer” mentality every year. Now, I watch the leaves fall in our Kentucky landscape and with reassurance that spring will come after winter, I just continue to write. If there are days when I don’t feel brilliant (and there are), I take a nap and let it be for a day or so, then sit down and get the work done.

We, as writers, are often given that advice – it’s obvious but we need to be reminded: Writing is work.

Looking back, in some ways 2020 was like a long winter in which we were snowed in, and that’s how I decided to treat it from the first lockdown that March. As soon as my family’s schedules turned to dust, I began channeling my energy and fear alike into a book of poetry that was on the backburner for years. Writing is a gift in that it’s an escape, so take advantage of that; it’s one of the benefits that we sometimes forget.

Who knows what 2021 will be like, but in the meantime, we can treat the winter season as a time to hunker down, go inward, and write as much as possible.

Recently, I was interviewed for the “Art Chat with Linda Riesenberg Fisler” podcast, in which we discussed staying creative throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, writing in general, and more (listen here at LifeSoup.Blog).

While the pandemic and related lockdowns will very likely be over before next year, here are some ways to keep your writing motivation throughout your next “dormant” period, be it winter, or any other regular cycle you may have.

3 Ideas for Writing Inspiration

  1. Pick up a book. I have a shelf full of books on topics such as creativity, brainstorming, collaborating, and writing (of course). If you’re unable to buy a great book that you know will inspire you, then use your library – some even have eBooks available for those in remote locations.
  2. Write in your journal. There are a million prompts that you can find for writing in a journal, including personal reflections and creativity challenges. If you don’t know what to write, just make a list. Something as simple as “5 Things I’m Grateful For Today” might be enough to give you the satisfaction of getting the ink flowing, and who knows, it might spark an idea for your current or future projects. Just today, for example, I was stopped in my tracks while listening to my son’s trombone lesson when I realized the sound of the metronome would be an interesting detail if I wrote about a musician one day. Make the most of these little moments that go unnoticed to many.
  3. Set a mini-goal. As writers, we tend to have deadlines and big goals, but if you’re in a creative funk, consider giving yourself a mini-goal to get you through it. Once a week between now and the end of the season, for example, write one of the following: a poem, a character description, or a specific number of words or pages. I would stay away from something vague like “one hour of writing a week” because it’s easy to let distractions interrupt (or even fill) that sacred time.

Do you tend to have a predictable dormant period when it comes to writing and creativity? I’d love to hear about it, and how you overcome it. Above all, remember to be compassionate with yourself, and to keep writing.

Author Bio:

Cherie Dawn Haas is a writer and maker who loves all things that involve creativity. She is the author of Girl on Fire and Personified: Poetry, Prose, Short Stories, and Words of Advice for Young People, and is a co-author of From Meditation to Creation: 9 Guided Meditations for Creative Writing. In 2020 she was a winner in the Poetry Unites Kentucky essay contest for her reflections on the art of losing and the concept of attachments. Cherie Dawn is the editor of Plein Air Today, Fine Art Today, and Realism Today.

Website: LifeSoup.Blog



More on writing issues

Rituals to Prepare for Writing

Why I Don’t Get Writers Block

Creativity, Life, and Writing

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.

88 thoughts on “Seasonal Creativity

  1. Wi-fi has agreed to work again .. No climatic excuse for writer’s block, even the words snow and ice make me so happy. Right by my house, (we live just below Scotland) the waterfall beats any artwork, part abstract sculpture, part chandelier for a castle’s great hall. Year round though, I hear my headteacher mother’s declaration – You’re not a writer. – and still want to write. Great to read so many other thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I also tend to get a bit low at the end of autumn and through winter, Jacqui. Although our winters are not as cold as yours, our houses are built for hot weather and not cold, so we tend to freeze for 3 months. I also have to give myself a pep talk and try to make the most of things during these months.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post! Mid-January to mid-March is always the hardest season for me. I still push through but without the energy and enthusiasm I have for other months. Still, writing and marketing is my job, and I show up, and something gets done, even if just a tiny bit at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was such a thoughtful post on seasonal creativity, Cherie. Thank you for sharing Cherie’s words, Jacqui 🙂 The idea of setting a mini-goal for writing when you are in a rut sounds like a good idea. That can motivate you to get going.

    This post made me think about my writing ups and down here in Australia where we also have four seasons. I definitely struggle to stay motivated during the colder months. Then again, I love summer and all I want to do during summer is go out and do fun summer things, or if not just laze around. So the fact that I want to have a fun, lazy summer motivates me to write a bit more during winter 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fabulous tips, Cherie. Thanks for having her here, Jacqui. I tend to be productive in the winter days. Like D. Wallace, we have rain most all winter. It does get gloomy. I find summer to be my time that I get outdoors, read more books at parks and beaches. But I’m not as productive in my own writing during those long daylight hours.
    I love your suggestion of mini-goals. This is something that would help me as they are less daunting 🙂
    I tend to have a weird writing rhythm regardless of season though. I awaken at ungodly hours and get up to write for a few hours and go back to bed. It seems to be my most creative time and easy to avoid distractions in the wee hours. Not on a daily basis though as it would wreak havoc on my sleep. Ha.
    Great post. Thank you for inspiration!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great suggestions, Cherie, and nice to meet you on Jacqui’s blog. My lack of writing in my latest book is a bit structural since I don’t have room in our RV (our temporary home) for my big monitor and desktop. My small laptop is fine, but wifi connections aren’t great. Easy to correct, I’m sure, etc, but I also suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) so I am not as motivated as I could be. It will all pass soon once we get moved. Then I really will be distracted, sigh!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks for the inspiring post, Cheri! It’s funny how husbands can see something about us that we don’t. 2020 was challenging in so many ways. It already has a dreamlike quality. I’m focusing on a mini-goal of 50 words a day right now. That’s not much, but I find if I get going, I often keep going. Like when Terry drags me out for a walk, and I agree to go ~ but only as far as the gate 0(.3 miles round trip). I’ve always ended up going the full 2 miles round trip. All the best, Jacqui and Cherie Dawn, with your creative endeavors.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I felt like 2020 was a long winter for writing and creativity. My mind and my body were stiff. Yes, I wrote journals just to let my mind running in some direction. I used colored pens to write and highlighted some ideas I may visit when the ‘winter’ is coming to the end.
    Thank you for the suggestions, Cherie.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s nice to hear that creativity can take a back seat at times. There are days when I just want to curl up with a book and forget about writing and tell myself… this is so easy! Thanks for introducing us to Cherie.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’m a little like you, Jacqui, but with the opposite season. Winter is my most productive time – no guilt about burrowing with my laptop. Summer is the hardest as the sun and garden call. I feel guilty staying inside during the summer (especially since we only have about 5 months of non-rainy weather per year). Like you, I employ a mixture of discipline as well as honoring the impulse to take breaks. 🙂 Thanks for the intro to Cherie and her books!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I like Cherie’s tips for maintaining creativity with seasonal changes. I tend to be most creative in autumn and winter. I think it has to do with cooler weather and spending more time indoors than I do in the spring and summer. So far, this winter, I’ve been writing up a storm! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, indeed! Another interesting thing to note – when I look back at my Facebook “memories,” I can see a noticeable rhythm to my creative endeavors! Every year, around the same days, I tend to be highly creative (publishing, performing, everything), and then some days each year I’m more reflective, for example. It’s interesting, and helps me remember that everything is a cycle. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Good tips for writing. I find walking outdoors and listening to music help me loosen my stuck body energy to think. During winter I ride my stationary bike while listening to an audiobook or music.

    Liked by 3 people

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.