Perfect weather for it

How does the weather affect you? How does it affect your work and creativity?

Some people I know suffer, unfortunately, from SAD, i.e. Seasonal Affective Disorder, which occurs among people who live for long periods under cloud cover or reduced sunlight in the winter. In some this causes melancholy or even depression. I remember a former Spanish colleague of mine who glumly reported one late winter – and she had been counting – that “I have not seen the sun for thirty-four days”, and had to go back to Madrid for a restorative long weekend.

I am lucky in that I don’t get SAD in winter, indeed enjoy the snowfall and cosy times indoors. Even I have to admit that there is not much to recommend the weather today – it’s been unseasonably warm and this has turned into blank skies and cold rain being blown sideways in drifts. On the plus side though, this makes it, in my view, perfect writing weather. There are fewer distractions and no tempting sunshine to lure one outdoors, the rain an ideal excuse to stay tucked inside at one’s desk.

The sky today, between the rainfall

Literary critic and writer Alexandra Harris is the author of Weatherland: Writers & Artists Under English Skies, in which she considers English literary and artistic responses to English weather patterns, which are notoriously changeable, from Chaucer up to the present day. However, the ideal weather in which to write, rather than to be inspired by, is a different matter. In an article in The Author magazine, Professor Harris also recounts that winter is her own preferred season for writing, as summer holds the diversions of family, friends, and leisure.

Given we have relatively few lengthy warm and sunny spells in England and the UK as a whole, making such days a novelty, this may be a specifically English / British (or North-western European) viewpoint.

The soggy garden

In a warmer clime—or at least, places with longer and more reliably warm summers—presumably writers and creative types of all sorts are more used to writing under the caress of the sun, pulling a table and laptop into the shade perhaps, or without fear they’re wasting one of the few and precious balmy days of the year indoors.

For me though, the ideal writing weather would be getting snowed in somewhere – nothing too scary, just for a couple of days. Maybe a week, given enough supplies.

In the meantime, greetings from the lovely, if grey and soggy, Ribble Valley.

References
Harris, A. ‘Fine Weather for Writing’, on traditions of seasonal creativity in The Author, Summer 2016.

12 thoughts on “Perfect weather for it

  1. The sun, warm weather, and longer days make me feel energized and boost my creativity. I love writing outside in the park; hearing the faint sound of kids at play, the rustle of tree leaves; and taking a walk to ponder a scene. We’re having our first snowfall of the season right now, and I know I will have cabin fever. I should take advantage of this time and write more, huh? 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now you mention it, I recall this time last year when we had days of heavy snow. I did get cabin fever after about a day, in reality – though that was with two kids in the house, off school on snow-days. The way you describe writing outside in warm weather suddenly seems very appealing…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Now that I read your article, this all makes sense. Thanks for such beautiful share

    Liked by 2 people

  3. 😦 I hate these dreary grey skies of low blanket cloud………….. sooo depressing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a bit weird at the moment – sometimes you just want the weather to DO something.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I definitely feel slower during the winter! I miss the sun. It’s interesting to think of how that affects artists and society as a whole, because it must. But I can see the distinction between creativity and productivity, especially working from home, as there are way fewer distractions in the cold, dark winter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read somewhere that the sun makes things grow faster – I mean anything, hair, nails… It makes sense that the energy feeds creativity.

      Like

  5. I dislike leaden skies with no percievable weather – when you think your eyesight is going, but you just need to turn the lights on indoors! Here in the south of England we have had frost only twice ( defined by having to melt the bird bath ) Wednesday was such a day, the sky was clear and the air cold – I felt totally energised ( body and mind ) for my walk down the hill and across the river for first writers’ group of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The same here further north. It has been odd, and such a difference to last winter. I also prefer those crisp, cold and even frosty days to these grey ‘non’ ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do tend to get SAD and SLOW in winters! Thanks for such an insightful share!👍

    Like

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