Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Early Morning Winter Writing

I am not a fan of winter. Sure, I fall in love with the first snow, I dig a White Christmas, and every winter season calls for a cute new hat-scarf-glove combo. But come January, when the snow is slushy and sidewalks haven’t been shoveled in weeks, and the tires on my car swish around while I’m driving, and the wind is too bitter to run in, I’ve had enough.

But this morning, I remembered one thing I do love about the start of winter. Getting up early, when it’s still very dark out. Walking straight to the living room (ok, quick stop at the fridge for a Diet Coke) and instead of opening the blinds, I open my laptop. I don’t turn on any lights and write in the dark, sleepy and cold, a blanket or two across my lap.

And by the time by husband walks into the living room, ready for work in a warm winter sweater, I’m a thousand words into a new novel, and not so mad at the cold.

I love summer in Chicago. I want to jog by the lake, run errands with my hair still wet from a cool shower, enjoy a four o’clock happy hour at an outdoor beer garden. But summer is not good writing weather.

Winter, I don’t love you all that much, but I will take your sleepy, dark, cold mornings and wrap them around a fresh first draft.


  1. I live in Alaska. Lots of winter writing time up here! I try to make good use of it.

  2. Paul, maybe my next writer's retreat should be in Alaska then! I think I might do great there. Good luck with your writing!

  3. I miss things about winter up there (I moved to Texas from the northern suburbs years ago), but the January/February slush and ick gets dismal.

    I agree, though: writing when it's dark and cooler is nice...and such a peaceful way to begin the day!

  4. Creativity knows no time, limit, or reason. Thank goodness! :)

  5. I'm more of a Fall person myself. Refreshing breaths of crispy air. Walks through showers of leaves.

    Also am a morning person and happiest with cup of first coffee and reading material.

    Your post inspires. It's the writing that should happen first!

    Will try. Though diet coke is too cold for me in a.m. :)

  6. Wow. What a great post. I love the early morning hours for writing, too.

    I am now thinking that maybe the busy-ness of the season is part of my problem with having writing time lately. If that's true, then it will pass and things will return to normal.

    My favorite beverage for cold mornings is coffee -- rich, hot, with soy milk.

  7. That's a good way to look at winter, I'll have to try some winter morning writing sessions. We have plenty of dark mornings here in Rochester NY this time of year. Not quite as much snow as when I lived in the Buffalo area (halfway between ski-country and the city).

  8. I wish I were a morning person. If I got up early to write, I might write well but I would be done for the day by noon, and it is not practical. I agree with you 100% about winter, though. It is a charmed time to write. My favorite way: in the afternoon with snow swirling down and a beeswax candle burning.
    Lindsay (southwestern Pennsylvania)

  9. So happy to see that this post spoke to so many folks. It's interesting to learn how things like weather and seasons affect people differently across the country.

  10. Yes, there's something about winter and also a rainy day that provide a wonderful excuse to stay inside and write. No obligation at all to go out and enjoy the day.