I received an email from a friend yesterday who said she'd had the winter blues, but she was over it now. It sounds like a strange thing to say, but here in Melbourne it's actually a recognised condition, due to not enough sunlight (well, that's one explanation). After years of telling us to stay out of the sun, now we need more of it in winter. Vitamin D and K, I think.
We see it in classes at uni - this is the time of year, running into mid-August, when students are likely to drop out. Especially from night classes, where the effort required to come out on a wet, cold, dark night to class each week can get too much, and if you come down with the flu, it's another big strike-down that's hard to struggle back from.
As a writer, you'd think that staying inside by the heater, writing and reading ... what more could you want? But the cold and wet and darkness does start to get to you.
Gradually, the book you're working on starts to seem like the biggest load of garbage you've ever written, you feel like you'll never have another decent idea ever, the rewrite looming when the editor's comments arrive will be impossible (and she's going to hate the story now anyway), and all the other stuff that's crowding into your life threatens to smother you.
A desert island starts to look like a viable option. One where there is no electricity, no pens or paper, and no one wanting anything. But with lots of sunshine and lazy days. Aahhhh....
Not going to happen. Instead, you (and that does mean me, too) have to find ways to revive, restore and re-inspire.
1. A good movie, at the cinema, that you can get lost in. No, haven't seen the new HP yet, so might go this weekend.
2. Poetry. Billy Collins' poems are the best for this, I find.
3. Footy, or any sport where you can go outside and scream your lungs out.
4. Long walks, even if it's raining. The winter air is terrific for recharging your energy.
5. Finding something new to try. Something active that gets you out of the house.
6. Lunch with a bunch of writers, and no one is allowed to grizzle or grumble. You all have to celebrate being writers, talk about great books you've read (and swap titles), and celebrate your achievements.
That's a start, at least. And the next time the sun is actually shining outside, I'll be out there, gathering as many rays as I can.