It feels like the first day of autumn today. The grass glistened with dew this morning and although it was bright and sunny, a cold wind did blow, signalling the inevitable change of the seasons. And with the seasonal shift, comes a shift of energy and priorities. My summer has been a bit of a whirlwind of trips away for work and general upheaval – hence the summer blog break. But it’s also meant a break from my writing.
I haven’t touched my book since about June. Sometimes I’ve been okay with the break, knowing that it’s ticking over in my subconscious and sometimes, it’s bothered me and I’ve wondered if I’ll ever get back to it. I’d think about my own advice or things ‘they’ say about writing no matter what and sigh, at the risk of quoting 80s rock songs, the winds of change bring a fresh perspective.
Here are six reasons why autumn is good for writers:
- Cosy nights: Okay, so we’re losing the long, lazy summer nights, but we gain an excuse to stay in, make a hot chocolate and just write.
- Music festivals v music for writing to: Summer is all about making hay and seeking out fun in the sun. You’re busy trying to live the boho dream by wafting around music festivals and living for the moment. Autumn allows you to take time out, put on some music for writing to and shuffle around the house talking to yourself in different character voices.
- Rainy nights: In the summer, everyone’s inviting you on walks and round for BBQs or there are weddings and people come on holiday to your house, which is all very lovely, but doesn’t help you write. When it’s cold and rainy, which it usually is during a British autumn, your friends are more likely to understand that you don’t fancy coming out and you don’t have to say it’s because you’re writing.
- Open fires: Open fires are better than TV – they’re atmospheric, keep you warm and don’t distract you from writing, but they also give you something to stare into for inspiration.
- Misty mornings: I love a good dose of mist in the morning or at night, in fact, a thick fog tickles my goth fancy. A bit of mist is good for the imagination, I reckon. It’s good to have days where you can’t see to the end of the garden or the world looks like it’s been lit by Stephen Spielberg because it makes you wonder what’s going to happen next. A bit of fog is good for unease and unease is good for feeding the writing mana pool.
- It’s a Feast For the Senses: Autumn is pretty. You’ve got the turning of the leaves, the winds blowing them about and then you get to go for walks and kick them about, like you used to when you were a kid. The hedgerows are full of bounteous gifts, such as nuts and blackberries for picking on long walks. Plus it crunches and it’s warm one minute, damp and dark the next. Summer is frothy and fun, whereas autumn is your serious, bookish girlfriend who introduces you to French cinema – sometimes it’s hard work, but it’s always enriching and worth the effort.
Don’t despair, if you’ve had an unproductive summer. You’re not alone. Just remember that living life is important too and gives you fuel for the time you do spend writing. This time last year, I was frantically trying to finish production on my radio play and sell tickets for its unveiling at Taunton Literary Festival. This autumn is going to be much less stressful, but also much more productive.
Which season is your most productive? Let me know in the comments.