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Location: Central Michigan, United States

Spent a long career making lots of money for other people. Now it's my turn. _____________________________ Email:

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Writing Weather

More snow. Shit.

This morning, I walked outside through the back door of my house and saw a frustrating layer of new fallen snow covering my truck and yard. I didn't consider it as being---God's gentle covering of nature with a soft blanket of pristine white---that writer's write about. I considered it as, goddammit, just more snow. "Welcome to northern Michigan in April!" I thought.

When I attempted to hand-brush the snow from a side window of the truck, I found underneath the snow a thin layer of ice. Enough is enough.

I arrived at Woodpecker's Diner for my usual early breakfast. I took my regular seat at my regular table then flipped open my Doodle Pad to pen a few words of early morning prose, anticipating the first mug of strong black coffee.

The waitress, Tonya, came quickly to my table with coffee, juice and water. She placed them on the table in front of me while mumbling a few words which, included, "fucking snow". Finished with her first chore on my behalf, she went into the kitchen; presumably to place her choice for my breakfast order today.

Waiting for my breakfast, I sat staring at the blank top sheet of paper in the Doodle Pad. No desire to write much of anything. I didn't feel the inspiration to write another vignette, start a new chapter for my novel or, write a few lines for the business book. None of the above had any appeal.

Tonya brought my breakfast and made a comment about my just sitting there looking at the blank paper, not writing. She was concerned that I may be feeling ill or something was wrong in my family. I told her I felt fine, there were no family issues, and that I just plain didn't feel like writing. She opined it had to be because of the weather. She concluded the combination of cabin-fever and "this crappy spring weather" sapped away enthusiasm and creativity.

Yep, Tonya's likely correct.

Does weather influence your writing enthusiasm and creativity?


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Hmmm. Occasionally the weather is a factor, but not really.

Some days, like today, a rainy spring day that's overcast, I'd like to curl up with a good book.

And there are glorious spring days I just want to be outside.

But generally speaking, brooding darkness is pretty good inspiration for a crime writer.

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Bernita said...

Not sure, Erik.
I feel more energetic in sunshine, generally.
Think my creativity is more affected by negatives from people than climate though.

4:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Candice Gilmer said...

We're coming up on tornado season here, and this time of year, my writing tends to go in blasts -- some days, I'm damn near prolific, and other days, I wind up writing a sentence and feeling like it was the hardest thing I"d ever wrote.

Course, tornado season brings on rain, and rain can feel depressing or even very scary, and I just can't write when I'm terrified of my house being blown away.

But I do find that weather influences my writing, as well as music. My music choices can REALLY influence my ability to write.

10:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Alphabeter said...

I have a barometer brain. I get headaches when the barometer jumps around. I don't wanna write with a headache.

I like snow. I write well when I know not many people are out roaming around in it.

I don't write well when I'm hot. I could probably write a best-seller while trapped in a mountain cabin but I struggle for words when the mercury jumps over 80 and I'm not wearing minimal layers hiding in air-conditioning.

Music affects what I'm writing so I either try and pick music appropriate to what I plan to write that day/time or work with a movie I've seen a few dozen times playing as white noise in the background.

I don't have to be 'just so' to write. But ideally a cool room with good natural lighting (or lamps but NO flourescents--they literally make me sick), a butt-comforting chair and a typewriter (or wordprocessor I get distracted with anything on a regular computer) is my favorite writing setting.

Gee, do I get a prize for comments with the longest sentences?

4:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Samdra: You raise an interesting point. Is weather and genre a combination?

Bernita: Another good point. I presume you to mean your creativity is affected by interaction with real people in everyday life. Not struggles with character development.

Candice: I hear ya on the tornados. Got blown around by one in Forida many years ago. To this day, during severe storms, my ability to focus on anything else stops.

Alphabeter: Good comment with substance. You gave me a nice prize by visiting here.

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger jason evans said...

Not so much the weather for me, but I do try to draw inspiration from the changes in season. Weather changes too fast for me to capture it, I'm afraid.

10:23 AM EDT  
Blogger R.J. Baker said...

No but getting laid does...go figure.

11:01 AM EDT  
Blogger For The Trees said...

Here in Central Texas the weather's almost always sunny and bright. The occasional cloudy day - if followed by several - tends to put a damper on my rampant enthusiasm, but then the sun comes back and I'm fine again.

Seasonally, I like pepper but not dill. Okay, enough. SAD, the approaching darkness in the fall, ESPECIALLY after Daylite Savings Time ends, usually causes an overall dip. But this past year it wasn't as bad - probably because of the new meds. I'll have to see about this fall's effects.

When it's raining or blowing I can't write because the computer has to be turned off. Too much chance of lightning zapping the lines around here. Mind you, it hasn't yet, but better safe than sorry.

Rain in and of itself usually doesn't have much effect - specially if it's a slow soaker rain.

Good topic. Looks like you're back up on your game. Kudos.

11:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Jason: Good point. Maybe I should have asked about "seasons" instead of "weather"

R.J.: Heh heh.

Forrest: When you say central Texas;..."hill country?"

1:55 PM EDT  
Blogger For The Trees said...

Okay, Erik, you asked:

Forrest: When you say central Texas;..."hill country?"

Most of Texas is flat except for the super-peaks out west. Right dead center is the Hill Country - a huge limestone plateau that's been eroded over centuries to form valleys and plateau tops, hence "Hill Country." Not mountains, not here. It's radically different from the ultra flatness of the Gulf Coast, where Houston is 50 miles inland and its elevation is 50 feet. San Antonio sits on the coastal plain and partly on the limestone plateau. Nice mix: hills on one side of town, flat plains on the other.

That's geography for today...

8:36 PM EDT  
Blogger ivan said...

Crappy weather.
But you wrote something!
The commonplace is so hard to write about. "Write about that wall," an istructor once told me. Ever try it? Damn hard to do. So you wrote about Breakfast at Woodpeckers and that was ok. I could just smell the atmosphere and the coffee.
Nothin' much ever happens around here?
Don't believe it.

2:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Forrest: Thanks. I meant to say, "Do you live in the hill country?"
I've been there many times. Beautiful.

Ivan:Thanks for stopping by.
Yeah, I tried writing about a wall in that Diner one time for a vignette. Correct. Hard to do.

3:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I LOVE snow...for a few days out of the year, then I drive away and go back home. =)

12:15 AM EDT  
Blogger For The Trees said...


Yeah, I live right smack dab in the middle of the Hill Country. It's beautiful here. That's why I live here instead of in a noisy busy jostling city. I have absolute quiet on my front porch. Very, very peaceful, soul-satisfying.

9:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Erik Ivan James said...

Dana: Yes, I love snow too. Mid-December to mid-February. Then I've had enough.

Forrest: Yup, beatiful country for sure.

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger Jaye Wells said...

For the tree:

Love the Hill COuntry. I go there every year for family reunions in Salado--beautiful town.


I tend to get in slumps as the weather drags on. I guess I get bored if it's same old same old every day. I love the beginning of each new season (even though we really only have 2 seasons here). But toward the end of those same seasons I am literally craving the next one. So yes, I guess the seasons affect my mood which in turn affects my productivity.

And Ivan's right. One of the great things about a blog is that it counts as writing on days when you can't force yourself to work on your WIP. Just as long as it isn't ALL the writing you do.

9:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Shesawriter said...

Snow doesn't really bother me all that much. But the rain does. It saps my muse and all my energy.

9:58 AM EDT  
Blogger September said...

I love rain! And when it rains (normally rarely, though this year we have had so much of it) it really gets my creativity juices flowing. Perhaps because of great childhood memories. When it rained, my father and I would go out in the breezeway and read or I would write.
Now, when it rains (as long as it is not cold) I grab my notepad (or laptop) and head to the porch. The scent of wet dirt and the splish/splash of the rain, really gets me going.

2:27 PM EDT  

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