I’m not a gardener. One day I’d like to be. I hear from my gardening friends how digging in the dirt teaches you. You learn patience and pacing, dirt and beauty in ways only gardening can teach you. No one plants the same cucumber seeds all year long. No one harvests pumpkins all year long either. (Maybe you hate both of these and I’ve already lost you.) I’d venture to think, that despite my black thumb, that I can see a few similarities between writing and gardening. In fact, I think writers need these seasonal rhythms.
I’m going to share a few small ways that I am beginning to discover what influences my writing seasonal rhythms, and some ways I have adapted over the last few years. Keep in mind I’m a mom with small children at home. This is one of the best enforcers of creativity, in my experience!
Do you have to write in daylight? Do you do your best work late at night? If you’re a natural daylight junkie, early summer mornings of writing might become afternoon winter sessions. My rhythms are greatly influenced by the fact that my children wake up very early with each Fall Back, and they do that for several weeks. Sometimes I can squeeze a few words during those early mornings in while my little ones play. Morning is my preferred time to write, but sometimes those winter months mean I write during nap time instead. With Spring Forward, I can look forward to the return of morning writing.
Does winter slow you down and summer give you the itch to move? Or maybe like me, it’s the opposite. If the temperature slows you down, maybe you need a change of scenery to revitalize you. If your summer writing spot turns into a nap-inducing nook in the winter, consider writing at the kitchen table or at a coffee shop.
Summer is often the time for vacations and school breaks. If you can identify the seasons in which you will be busier, perhaps planning for smaller spurts of writing will help with your goals. Maybe you can’t write 2k words every day, all year, but you can squeeze 250 words in-between errands, events, etc. during the summer. You can still be clear about your progress. Then, in the slower months, set bigger goals to catch up.
Another way to steward your energy in these more hectic months is to tackle shorter writing projects. Maybe you set your novel revisions aside after the first round and write blog posts for a month. If you have that flexibility, sprints may serve your goals rather than trying to maintain a marathon.
The key to all of this is adaptability. I have never been great with sticking to a schedule. Changing nap times, bed times, colds, and everything that comes with being a mother has made that even trickier. Instead of feeling like I’m starting over with every change, I try to see it as finding the larger picture of the year. Yours may or may not mirror aspects of the earth’s seasons, but you can create your own seasons to best cultivate your creativity and reach your writing goals.
For other seasonal resources that might help you create these rhythms, check out Emily P. Freeman’s What I Learned posts, which she writes quarterly and invites other writers to join. Here’s the link to her recent Spring post, with a download and links at the end.
Mohawk Momma Loves offers several amazing resources for identifying soul rhythms that can impact every area of your life. Few things are as freeing as realizing you don’t have to plow through the year with the same structures and spaces if they aren’t serving you.
Recognize your natural rhythms, then create the environment you need to best utilize them. And give yourself time. Remember, seasonal change doesn’t usually happen overnight. If one year the green beans just don’t sprout, maybe next season, you can try something else.
Do you have helpful seasonal writing practices? Let’s talk!