• Your Winter Writing Approach & Goals

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 60 comments
    Dec
    7

     

    Discussion questions: What are your writing goals this winter, and/or for the rest of 2019? How does your writing approach change when the snow flies and the wind blows and the sun starts going down at &^(*&^# lunchtime? If you’re susceptible to the winters blues, how do you avoid the winter writing blues?

     

    Snow fell here in NYC this week — preceded by freezing rain and hail, then succeeded by freezing rain and hail — and when I saw the big fluffy flakes through the window, I felt the urge to sit down and write.

    I didn’t do it, but I felt the urge.

    I’ve probably shared this in previous winters, but I have this fantasy of being locked away in a snowbound cabin from December to March with nothing but a typewriter (and ribbons, or whatever a typewriter needs in order to function), reams of paper, some books to read, and enough food and water to see me through. No TV or phone, or similar distractions.

    In the romanticized version, I emerge in the spring with a complete manuscript, even two, and more peace of mind than I’ve ever before experienced.

    In reality, I’d probably go bonkers well before the new year and write very little, if at all.

     

    Here in the homestretch of the year, I’m facing the fact that I won’t hit my 2019 writing goals. And that’s OK. I’ve made a lot of progress on my novel; I’ve written more than I did in 2018. I’m satisfied with that.

    Before year’s end, I want to write at least one more chapter, ideally two, and finish a short story I’ve been working on. These are manageable, realistic goals.

    Especially at a time of year when I begin spending more and more time inside, cooped up in my apartment.

    I don’t think my writing approach changes during the winter; I just think I have more opportunity. Fewer things to do = more time to fill with writing.

    What about you? Do you write more in the winter, and is it in part due to being cooped up? Do you change your writing approach at all when the snow starts to fall? 

    And what are your writing goals from here until the end of the winter? And/or from here until the end of 2019?

    Let us know in the comments below.

    And while you’re writing out your thoughts, here’s a pretty song about snow from David Berman: “Snow Is Falling in Manhattan.”

     

     

    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2019 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    Raymundo

    I’ve always lived where winters are mostly mild and snow is a rare thing. So my writing approach really doesn’t change. Still, days darker and colder than usual can be depressing. But more than depression, I’m often struck, at this time, by nostalgia prompting an end-of-year review with new-year anticipations and goal-setting. I’ll put some thought into this and even make a post, but right now I know I want to finish my novel in 2020, pursue my Lost Horizon project, make a few dollars on reviews/articles, and consider some other writing projects. I’m sure all the struggling writers out… Read more »

    Raymundo

    Like I’ve made some progress, writing-wise. I think I’m writing better in quality. Well enough to be invited into the Amazon Vine program and be approached to write reviews. (BTW, Amazon just posted my review on Stan Lee’s “A Trick of Light.” I could only give it a 3). Though I made solid progress on my novel, I didn’t finish it. That has to happen next year. So I’m looking ahead more than behind. Still, there are synergies at work here that will lead, spirits only know where…

    John Liebling

    Truthfully I’ll be very glad to say good-bye to 2019. A lot of interruptions, many unexpected distractions to my writing process. I am also in a different place philosophically. Goal is not to be prolific…How many pages, or how many thousands of words can I punch out between 5:30-7:00 am? Now that I am retired, I have the entire day to write and think. And go very slowly line by line to improve the clarity. Not to be satisfied that what I have created is good enough. I want my first Novel to be my best work. If that means… Read more »

    John Liebling

    I was looking forward to retirement for about a eyar. Now that it has arrived, I seem to have lost something. But I am slowly getting back to my old self. I retired Nov 6 so it has been a full month. More time doesn’t necessarily mean more productivity. Time to keep my own butsky, and be more motivated. I know some people write a sentence or paragraph and pick it apart, trying to get everything perfect before they move on. That was never my process. So now after many drafts, that has become my new process. And I like… Read more »

    Elizabeth

    I suffer from SAD and winter brings on depression. I hate seeing the light go out of my evenings. I find it hard to rise in the mornings. I do have a lightbox that goes on the minute I rise and sit at the computer. That seems to help some. My brain seems more sluggish in winter too. It also helps me to get outside even if just for a brief time. Whenever we do get sun here in the cloudy climes(which isn’t often in winter) I try to get out and enjoy it. No matter what I do I… Read more »

    KevinW

    This was a ruff year for personal reasons. I didn’t do much writing. I have a short story I’d like to finish by NYE…mostly written in my head, about 1/2 of it is actually first drafted. The 2020 projects are two articles of historical research that I want to write and sell. One will be a PROJECT and the other is an interesting footnote of NJ history that will probably only involve a few trips to city Hall and a church or three. And a friend told me about a childhood event which I think I can turn into an… Read more »

    KevinW

    Funny stuff tends to come when it comes if the mood hits me, because I can’t be funny on demand. The big project will involve a lot of research, which I’ve already started on. So this may be a long process. The Jersey City article needs some planning because I lost my co-author and she had a lot of knowledge that I don’t have.
    So to answer your question…I dunno…

    David M Inverso

    Whenever I see snow I smack my old black & white Motorola TV or fiddle with its rabbit ears. Actually, this year I’ve strived (strove?) to develop a regular writing routine. I’ve succeeded more than not to getting me wee arse in the chair by telling myself ‘I’m a writer so WRITE!’ I hope to carry this habit through the next year. The seasonal change to gloomy days, perpetual drizzle and early darkness used to weigh on my mood. I’d become melancholy, but had no desire to mine that feeling for stories. I felt my spirits lift one winter day… Read more »

    David M Inverso

    Sorry, David, I wasn’t “a hunert” percent clear. I haven’t read 342 short stories so far this year. More like dozens and dozens. I ‘try’ to read a short story a day…been doing so since mid-April. Right now I’m plowing through a 1,000-page hard cover anthology The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke. 90 of 103 stories are in the short story word range. I also have a link to classic short stories at Favorite Short Stories Collection (americanliterature.com) that has further links to collected short stories of American writers like O. Henry, Anton Chekhov and Kate Chopin (broccoli) and… Read more »

    David M Inverso

    Thank you for your curiosity. It’s helped by allowing me to refine a theme from “an act of jealousy” to “Jealous acts can destroy lives.” Also that endings affect the protagonist directly and in a unique way. So, as an example, there’s an Arthur C Clarke story about a scientist concocting a way to murder his cheating and unrepentant wife. In my mind the man would succeed, never be suspected and carry on with his life. In Clarke’s hand he succeeds in killing his wife’s lover by accident. The lover was a promising grad student that had no idea the… Read more »

    David M Inverso

    “Let There Be Light”, 1957, part of an original collection entitled Tales of Ten Worlds. I’ve read it in another collection titled The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke.

    Diana

    2019 has been a year where elderly parents have needed me more and my last child is headed towards high school graduation. I’m making plans for retirement (whatever that means) in a few years and making a move out of the norm. 2020 will be filled with more writing and preparing for those years where I no longer will be bound by an 8-5 job. I’m depending on my writing to get me to those goals that will be life changing.

    Bobbie

    I have a book coming out in January. Fro the next couple of months, I working on editing. I have a ton of books written, so I’m not editing them. I would LOVE to get at least 3-4 ready from publishing, but I’ll accept 2 or 3. I’m taking a mentorship class where I was given a template on who to edit a book, so I’m going through it and working it while getting the experience of doing line edits on a novella. I will admit to needing to slow down. I’ve bee working 60 hr. weeks. I made my… Read more »

    Susan

    I recently shared a quote with the writer’s group: “Do not hurry; do not rest.” – Goethe. That is my goal for the winter. Just keep going. One foot in front of the other, word by word. Try not to focus on the end or how much further I have to go. Try to keep the temperature inside just warm enough to keep motivated and not too warm to go broke with heating bills!

    Susan

    true re: the heat, but not sure about the less daylight. I get off at 7:30 am an then spend the next six hours awake and at home or out and about, while nine to fivers are indoors, although it’s daylight hours… but I’m too tired after work to write so do it at night on my days off. I think a good goal for 2020 would be to try to get off of third shift.

    Susan

    Never wired. Been doing this too long, but they keep increasing the caseload and duties and I never have to take a quick nap, the nape takes me immediately when I sit down–I am way beyond tired. After that, my dog needs (and deserves) attention, then errands, etc., leaves me a couple hours before sleep but I have never been able to write when I only have a couple hours in front of me. I need to have a long time otherwise I feel cramped. Maybe I could trying changing that and do more “power” writing. But I am still… Read more »

    Susan

    oops, nap, not nape

    Susan

    Yes I will!

    snowglobe

    NYC is the birthplace of black snow; covered in soot, topped with discarded Halal truck chicken bones & cooking up the stench of dead somethings. I include big city winters in most of my books. Right now, my characters live in July 2018. Describing Dorothy in straw hat and sun glasses warms me. Do I write more/less in winter? Probably not. Does my output change when I’m away from my usual writing place? Sadly, yes.
    So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, as long as I’m in the breakfast room;)

    adrien leslie

    Ugly beautiful. perfect. Thanks

    snowglobe

    gooood short story;)

    snowglobe

    “Marcy’s window was above mine. The music traveled down as clearly as Marcy said my crying had
    traveled up. When I closed my eyes I could imagine sitting on the Oriental carpet beside her huge piano.”
    When you ask him, please share;)

    Doris

    Hi David,
    I’m writing a historical fiction novel about Detroit, a city that tends to be dark and dreary for many months during the year. The winter, for me, is my time to relax from all the daylight hours that we experience here in the Northeast, sunrise at 5:30am and sunset at 9:00pm. My daily chores dwindle down to the basic necessities which leaves me with more time for my reading and writing. A winter respite serves as an interval of relief, savor every minute, edit your work, reflect on your writing and give thanks. Every day is a gift.

    dennis boisvert

    The darkness of winter makes me to write more to fight off depression and it is a time when you don’t want to go out as much. I want to read more and get lost in words. Time to Dream more. Sometimes on good sunny days I tend to be more active doing things like taking long walks. At times it is nice to read out side if you are near water. But if anyone who has to drive like me eats up time. I do understand a like to read outside but to me with daylight savings gone the… Read more »

    dennis boisvert

    No because most well men do what is called man cave watch sports clicking game after game. I go into writing cave reading cave.Dennis Boisvert

    Elissa Malcohn

    I don’t think weather has ever affected my writing (except for choosing where to write, indoors vs. outdoors). These days my output falls into the categories of (a) paid technical/editorial, (b) journaling, and (c) personal scripts (e.g., for board of county commissioner meetings and when a local group hosted a candidate for sheriff). I recently treated myself to an E-ink note-taking e-reader (mainly for the note-taking function). I’ve used it for meetings but mainly for journaling and have been having a blast with it. A journal notebook always travels with me (one still does as backup), but I find the… Read more »

    Elissa Malcohn

    It depends. I love journaling on a park bench or at a picnic table in good weather. I can do outlining (as opposed to drafting) outside. For actual drafting (which for me often involves online research), I prefer writing indoors.

    John Liebling

    Working on reediting my Chapter nine. First paragraph starts like this…

    Mortality! Mutinously moribund. Murmuring’s motif. Maladroitly majestic. Malevolently moth-eaten. Raconteur! Righteously ravaging. Raspingly ravenous. Rabid recipe. Rapaciously rattling reason

    Hans De Leo

    For me, the first half of 2019 went well. The second half I’ve been trying to get my second novel published and facing delay after delay. I (finally) have line of sight to get that done before Christmas.
    As far as my winter writing plans, well, I learned there will likely be lots of overtime Q1 of 2020, so my writing plans are to find spaces here and there to at least keep things moving.
    That’s about all I can do until things change.

    David Duhr

    What have the delays been due to, and how are you getting around them?

    Hans De Leo

    Let’s see.. delays in getting feedback, then it was a vacation, then my wife had health issues (she’s doing find now), and I just got the final cover graphics.
    I’ve hear other’s say that self publishing is like having a baby. I tend to agree.

    david lemke

    When the writing groups facilitator died, (he was 89) things changed and the group became useless so I quit. I started a new group that meets twice monthly and at the same time the online group was started. That has become very successful, useful, and even fun. (Thank you David). I get and give useful feedback. When I was looking into retirement, I put on my rose-colored glasses. I fully expected my self to write 20 to 40 hours a week with massive production and start making a living from my writing. It turns out my name is not Stephen… Read more »

    david lemke

    Sad to hear some of the groups folded. Ours has a pretty good feel and a lot of good writing.
    I definitely don’t want any sneezing! I can’t write when I have a cold.

    david lemke

    If I don’t hear from you all in the next week,
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    David Duhr

    You too, my friend. I’ll be not far from you, shivering my ass off no doubt.

    david lemke

    Just don’t let that literally happen!




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