. Winter is a difficult time for me. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short. During the winter, on the cloudy days, when I don’t see the sun for weeks, I get melancholic (a better word than depressed, I find), lethargic, and incredibly sleepy, to the point where it’s a constant struggle to stay awake. This affects me during the cloudy, chilly days of winter – in England, that’s practically every day between November and April.
And of course, this affects my writing. Even if I could get up the energy to write, and didn’t fall asleep over the page, my melancholia guarantees I’d hate everything I’d wrote, and lose all confidence.
Of course, I fight it. I find if I stay very busy, make sure I’m doing something all the time, I have less time to sink into my own depressing thoughts. And I fight tiredness with copious amounts of caffeine (it’s a good thing I love coffee). But this still isn’t a good time to write – so I use this time to do all those non-writing writer’s tasks. I;-
Read articles on writing/publishing etc.
I research for future stories (which means lots of enjoyable reading of ghost stories and history)
I look up the names of possible publishers and editors, and magazines.
I edit and tidy up the stories I’ve already written.
I type up all those hand written scraps of paper I’ve got lying around.
I work on covering letters
I post off those stories
I buy papers and pencils and envelopes and computer discs. I also sharpen all those pencils.
It’s actually very helpful, using this non-creative time to do all these little tasks. It means when the sun shines again, and I get back to writing, there’ll be nothing to distract me and nothing left undone.