Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How We Do It: Two Writers Talk Technique

Seasonal Effectiveness Disorder?

With Thanksgiving over and winter really in the air, sister author Caroline Leavitt and I decided to tackle how we write over this season – and through the holidays. Here's her take; mine is on her blog, here.

Is it true that to everything, including writing, there is a season (turn, turn, turn.) Well, it used to be that comic novels and beach books came out in the summer, and the most serious stuff came out in the fall, but now it seems that books come out any season at all (which is a good thing.)

For me, writing is something I have to do. I need it, I crave it, it’s an addiction, even on the days when putting a single word like “he” on the page is traumatic. Stories form and take years to get right, so whether it is frigid out or boiling, makes no difference to me—I still need and want to work. I’m more of an indoor, urban girl, so I don’t feel the pull of a sunny gorgeous day or the need to get out and romp in the snow as much as I feel a yearning to finish a chapter, a tug to meet my deadlines. That said, there is the thanksgiving through New Years problem, and then there is August, where somehow, for me, all bets are off.

It’s easy to see why. No one else is working. Around the holidays, there is so much family stuff going on so much to do in NYC, and let’s not even begin to talk about the movies that are out. August, the month when all shrinks seem to vacation, is actually more of a problem for me because of the intense heat (give me air conditioning and make it extra frosty) and the sense of pure summer laziness. I want to write—I just also want to nap or have another iced lemonade. I know a lot of people get depressed with SAD in the winter when light is more precious, but for me, the blinding heat and light of August puts me in a cantankerous mood. Nothing feels right to me in August, nothing seems to work well, and I admit, until I see the first signs of wool clothes in the store, I can’t seem to catch a breath, let alone write a decent sentence.

How do the holidays affect your writing or other work? Let us know!

1 comment:

Stephen D. Rogers said...

August has always been my worst writing month for the reasons you mention.