Winter blues

Winter is my least favourite time.

Some people love it. They wrap up warm, enjoy hot chocolates by the fireside and remain resolutely cheerful throughout the darkest, coldest months. I am not these people. I spend most of winter feeling perpetually cold, almost always miserable, I pile on weight from eating stuff I would usually NEVER put in my body (certainly not in the quantities I’m talking about, anyway) and I can’t get motivated to do a. single. thing.

Existing like this for a quarter (possibly a third) of the year, every year, is not helpful. I feel completely incapable of doing anything except breathing; the grey of the sky makes me want to crawl into a hole and get lost on the internet all day instead of doing anything constructive at all. ‘Go for a walk!’ friends say. ‘Get a SAD lamp!’ ‘You just went on holiday!’ ‘Cheer up, it’s February!’ Ugh. I could scream, if I could be bothered.

Of course all this sulking doesn’t help the creative juices flow. I have tried to maintain a daily writing regime since new year, to get my second novel finished and start the sequel to The PTA Assassin. If this agent thing doesn’t work out, I want to make sure I have the beginnings of a stable of books in order to maximise my chances of self publishing success. At the best of times, though, it’s hard to keep going when you’re writing, especially when you’re a new author. There’s no deadline, no one is saying ‘great job!’ and it’s a pretty lonely existence day to day. My story has got darker and darker and I’m struggling to even like it, never mind let anyone else read it. I think maybe I should wait to finish it until Spring, when I can get outside in the garden and tap away in the little sheltered spot I reserve for such moments, and bring a bit of light back to the book. But writing shouldn’t be a seasonal sport.

A voice whispers to stop worrying about word count, or if that agent will ever call; that I should clear my head and get away from my desk, find something to be excited about, do or see something joyful that sparks the imagination, and stop counting the days down until the clocks change. And of course, the voice is right. So I resolve to brave the winter weather and step away from my laptop, in order that I can embrace it on my return. The grey outside doesn’t have to mean grey on the page, too. Books don’t write themselves, but they kind of do, actually, if you’re inspired to write them.