Every winter, the story is the same. After the first snowstorm, everything I once loved comes to a quick halt. I drag through the workday. I dread running and exercising. I oversleep on weekends—and sometimes through the workday alarm.
All I want to do is eat my feelings.
My writing also takes a backseat. Even though NaNoWriMo ended a few weeks ago, all my inspiration from November evaporates in the autumn breeze. I suffer from serious writer’s block—or sometimes from serious writer’s crisis—and I beat myself up for not writing anything all week.
If this also sounds like you, then it could be a sign that you’re suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It affects your mood, overall health and even your writing. That’s because SAD impacts how you feel about activities you once loved.
Why Winter is So Hard on Writers
As writers, we are already hypersensitive about what happens around us. We’re drawn to noticing details in nature, from our surroundings to the people that surround us.
We also are very reflective on what we experience. It’s this dwelling that leads us to feeling sad and unmotivated on grey, snowy days. It’s hard to be creative when the world around us looks so dreary. After we notice green trees and bright sunlight missing from our surroundings, we then start to notice what else is missing from our lives.
And that leads to noticing what’s missing from our writing. The words stop flowing, the ideas aren’t as keen, the drafts look sloppier. It’s like our minds are always elsewhere and our inner critic is working overtime.
How to Fight the Winter Blues
There is a way out of this. It will take some effort on your part to unglue yourself from your TV shows or to stop staring longingly out the window. But finding a new way to channel your writing can jumpstart your creativity and inspire you to write again.
- Journal about it. Grab a notebook and pen in your writing exercise. Explore your feelings through words. What do you feel? When do you feel it? How do you feel it? Why do you feel it? Get your feelings down on the page so that you can heal through your words. Having a safe place to voice how you feel can renew your excitement to write again.
- Write something else. Step away from your writing project and focus on challenging your creativity instead. Take a stab at writing prompts for 500 words or so. Journal about what happened today. Take a short story and try to write it from another character’s point of view.
How do I cope? I am a professional writer by day, so my 9-to-5 setup pushes me to write each day. My writing job gets me excited to write and I like how I have the opportunity to write something outside of my writing project. I try to take on more challenging writing assignments during this time to challenge my creativity and research skills.