Winter is coming. No, this is not a post about Game of Thrones, though I do love me some dragons and wildlings. We’ll talk about the HBO medieval fantasy series some other time.
Really, though. Winter is coming. Even though we’ve had some lovely fall days lately, I can feel the light waning, the change creeping in. The sun is getting further away, its warmth weaker.
Sorry to be a downer, but this week’s topic is “seasons” of writing and productivity. This is a tough topic for me because, like so many people in northern climates, I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder or, as it is aptly abbreviated, S.A.D. When winter rolls around, I lose motivation for the things I usually enjoy. All I want to do is carb load, shuffle around in frumpy sweaters and Smartwool socks, and go to bed at 8 PM. I have a light box propped on my desk that I have to sit in front of for fifteen minutes a day in the winter. If I don’t, I risk slipping into a light-deprived depression that doesn’t lift until the crocuses push their green stems through spring soil.
When it comes to writing, then, it’s all about increments. About setting small benchmarks that build on each other. I do this by setting daily word count goals, usually of no less than a thousand words a day. Hitting that benchmark gives me a sense of accomplishment that, day by day, gets me to the end of the winter and gets me closer to “The End” in whatever I’m working on. And walking away from a finished draft, or a particularly tough round of revisions, is even better than the first daffodil of the spring. But not quite as cool as dragons.