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Using the Seasons to Help you Write your Novel

The key to writing a novel for me, the actual HOW, is not stopping when you get stuck.

Creativity ebbs and flows, this is true, but you can work around its tempestuous nature.

Do not sit around waiting for the muse to strike again. You may end up waiting a long time.

I was thinking about this recently and how I actually wrote my story. It still amazes me that I completed that first draft last year.

writing space
My Winter writing setup

Seasonal Writing and Creativity

Using the seasons to guide your writing (or whatever your creative project is) means following what the seasons are doing. Going with the flow and your own nature rather than against it. I don’t mean being inspired by cherry blossom and lambs in Spring. Although if that is your thing then go for it.

What I mean, goes a bit like this;

Summer- New ideas in bloom… reset yourself/evaluate/reform your work

Autumn– Planning/sowing the plot seeds/perhaps a few key scenes or practise versions of your Thing.

Winter– The bulk of the work. Retreat into it, hermit style.

Spring– Finish/ possibly share. Get back outside. The cycle begins again.

The three things that work for me when I get stuck are;

  • Don’t stop writing. I really believe not stopping is key
  • Write something completely different
  • Skipping the bit I’m stuck on and move to another scene in the story

For me, writing something completely different means coming back here, to the blog where I’m writing in my own voice about my own life. Or perhaps a bit of freelance lifestyle work.

The other thing that helps when I get stuck in a section of plot point is to skip ahead in the story, to a different scene. Or even skip back and add a scene that helps build your character, as it’s often when you don’t know your characters well enough that these sticking points occur, as I’ve found out.

Write in winter, the colder, darker months.

When the sun finally comes out and Spring arrives, you won’t want to be stuck inside working on your laptop (northern hemisphere friends obviously). Taking my laptop outside has never worked for me, too much reflection and glare on the screen.

In an ideal world, you’d be writing your novel during late Autumn and through Winter and be finishing the first draft in Spring.

Then, edit in Summer when you can have the first draft printed off,. Then you have the ability to get your red pen out in a beer garden, on the beach, at your holiday home or at the playground whilst your kids’ monkey around.

Writing suits the dark, editing is where you can bring out the story into the light.

What better time than summer. Lazier, longer days allow the mind to rest and get creative

By the time October rolls around you’ll be ready for writing your second draft, or a new project, and so the seasonal writing cycle repeats.

Think about this;

If you wrote 500 words every day from the end of October to mid-April of the following year you’d have the first draft of a novel at around 80,000 words.

It sounds doable when I put it like that doesn’t it?

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6 Comments

  1. MissPond

    These are great tips for any budding novelist! I do find myself writing more blogs now I’m cosying up indoors in the evenings and not going out in the snow/ice!

  2. Bec - views from my garden bench

    very wise words here Susan – especially about keeping writing. I do this when I’m blogging if I’m not getting anywhere with a post – I try writing on another topic … and use the pomodoro method so I focus on one thing at a time and not get distracted 🙂

  3. kirsty

    susie this is such a great post and even though I have no plans of writing a novel, it relates to soooo many things!!! thank you!!! xxxxx

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