What's your writing weather? by Deborah Jenkins

 


There have been several posts recently mentioning the weather, maybe because it's so unJulyish. New word. Just invented it. These, by Ruth Leigh and Philippa Linton inspired me.

I'm continuing this theme and, after some difficult days, am doing a silly post to cheer myself up. Please forgive me...

So, my question is, what's your writing weather? Take my handy quiz to find out.

1. The sun is out, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view. Do you: -

a) Go outside where, high on endorphins and an over-zealous application of Nivea-Sun, you bang out a few thousand words, filled with hot-weather similes - The sky was as blue as a blue thing and similar. Edit heavily later, due to problems actually seeing the screen

b) Close the curtains and put a fan on. Spend ages picking up random papers blown around the room. Change the settings to try and maximise cool air AND a stationary environment. Give up. Write a few hundred words, surrounded by mayhem, but feel pleased with the results

c) Go to the coolest room. Doze off. After a dream, running a writers' day with Gareth Southgate, shower to wake up. Have so many ideas, you keep hopping out to write them down. Use what you can from your waterlogged notes to plan your entire project. Celebrate by watering the pots with your new hose attachment

d) Feel too hot to do anything except spread yourself thinly somewhere. Lie on the sofa, quaffing iced drinks which anesthetise your throat and fog up your glasses. Use Google Voice to research your novel, planning to really go for it when the sun goes in

e) Write a bit, eat a lot, indulge in avoidance tactics such as cleaning the grouting around the kitchen tiles, i.e. It's a normal writing day




3. It's windy weather with sun and cloud. Do you:-

a) Close your laptop and go for a walk. With sun on your face and wind in your hair, start mumbling brilliance for your book. Repeat it aloud to remember for later, without worrying about passers-by. They'll think you're on your mobile

b) Take a 'weeding-break' and, waved at by a neighbour you've been trying to befriend, do a fist-pump, the way your son does. Break your glasses. Determine to continue, pulling up as many plants as weeds, but devise a plot twist involving a neighbour and a pair of garden shears

c) Gleefully write a scene in which your protagonist breaks down in a thunderstorm at the dead of night. You're about to strike him by lightening but your partner walks in with flowers and you change your mind. Send a friend instead

d) Write a bit, eat a lot, indulge in avoidance tactics such as watching Wimbledon or googling How to write a best-selling novel, i.e. It's a normal writing day

e) Walk around the house, trying out lines and looking for patches of sunshine. When you find one, you curl up, like a cat, and a title for your book hits you. You sleep.

3) You drive to the beach for a walk with your Significant Other just as a sea fog rolls in. Do you:-

a) Turn round and go home where there's heat, hot chocolate and a scene you suddenly need to write, in the Bahamas

b) Get dreamily inspired by the gloom and ponder various words which float in and out of  your mind: dank, dreich, mizzled. Steaming gratefully in a cafe, write them down on the back of a Millets receipt

c) Feel in your element because of the atmosphere and the boats looming through mist. Fantasise about sitting in a beach hut with a laptop and a cup of tea, writing your masterpiece. Tell your partner about it instead

d) Feel spooked by the stillness and the lack of visibility. Buy a kite in a gift shop. Plan a scene where your protagonist goes hang-gliding

e) Walk, go home, write a bit, eat a lot, indulge in avoidance tactics such as updating your blog or planning a foreign mini-break (for 2025), i.e. a normal writing day


4) It's raining so hard the windows are thrumming and the garden is like the local lido.                    Do you:-

a) Make hot drinks and copy the cat, hanging with mates. Encouraged by your writing circle, forge ahead with your WIP even though you can't see where it's going. It's never stopped you before

b) Put on the fluffy onesie you bought in a weak moment, and the lamps, and coax yourself to write by listening to summery songs - Walking on Sunshine, Under the Boardwalk, Jamming

c) Write a bit, eat a lot, indulge in avoidance tactics such as ironing and seeing if you can still yodel

d) Joyously abandon gardening plans and enter Full Writing Mode - hide phone, turn off doorbell, relocate coffee machine to study

e) Reading that heavy rainfall can make make you hungry, try to get chocolate cravings under control by deep-breathing and reciting the alphabet in another language. Write a little but then delete it

Scores

1. a)5  b)4  c)3  d)2  e)1

2. a)4  b)2  c)3  d)1  e)5

3. a)5  b)3  c)2  d)4  e)1

4. a)2 b)5  c)1  d)3  e)4


17 - 20     On the whole, warm weather motivates you to write. You are most productive in a heatwave with windows flung open to the sun

13 - 16      You largely prefer variation and movement in the landscape, with a refreshing wind to get your writing going

11 - 14      Rain gives you the freedom to abandon other projects and concentrate mainly on the thing you love most 

8 - 11        Foggy weather inspires you and gives your creativity an atmospheric edge. You don't need to see where you're going to enjoy the ride

Under 8    On the whole the weather doesn't affect your writing. You get up, look out of the window, shrug and get on with it 

Most of us can probably write whatever the weather and we may not always have the luxury of choice. Apart from this, in ACW, we believe we've been called to write and callings are not weather-dependent. But the weather can affect our moods and those can certainly affect our writing. Harnessing our creative preferences might improve both the quality and quantity of our output.

I like to write on wet winter days when, for some reason, I don't feel guilty about the cleaning, the garden or a bracing walk. My least favourite writing weather is sunshine. It seems such a waste being indoors. After all, in the UK at least, who knows when the sun will shine again?

What about you?


Deborah Jenkins is the author of textbooks, educational articles and a novella ,The Evenness of Things, available in paperback and as a kindle e-book. 

Her novel, Braver, will be published in the summer of 2022 by Fairlight Books.

Deborah wonders aloud about the crazy, inspiring and inappropriate, on her blog, stillwonderinghere.net


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