Halloween and Seasonal Writing

This time of year always makes me so painfully nostalgic. Maybe it’s the cool air. The sweater weather. The emergence of gorgeous, dark makeup and clothing. The sorts of things I wear all year. But this year, something struck me as I was listening to Siouxsie and picking out what I was going to wear today. Perhaps these feeling affect my writing. So like any good ghoul, I decided to do some digging into old word count charts. And What I found wasn’t exactly what I was prepared for. But first, some mood music. More to follow, of course.

Let’s start with this season. Part of that gorgeous, angsty feeling is quite dark. And the upside to darkness for me, and for a lot of writers, is that it makes me create my best work. I don’t create the most work in the fall. Roughly a fifth of all my work, according to my math. But what I do create is special. It’s dark. It’s gloomy. It’s often devoid of genre. But God, is it good. My methodology is different in a way. Instead of being sporadic and skipping around and working on too many things, it’s focused and fluid. I finish what I start in the fall in one fell swoop. It doesn’t go too fast, nor too slow. Just fast enough, in fact. A comfortable 3k a day. Anything more feels too manic. Anything less, and it feels like I’m dragging. All of my favorite novels of mine seem to have been at least conceived in autumn. Not as much early or late autumn, but the dead center. My beloved October. I don’t know what it is about this spooky time of year, but I love it. Maybe it’s my birthday making me reflective or something. Maybe it’s just the season of the witch.

Next comes winter. Winter is an odd cluster of months for me. I’ve never actually finished a novel in December, and I see to write less than half of my average word counts in December. But that doesn’t put a damper on January and February. I’ve finished over half of my first drafts between these two months. There are plenty of reasons why December is shit for me. Part of it comes from the stress of the holiday season in general. Dealing with family and such. Part of it is my job. Working retail, I have to stay extra late, I work more days and I deal with more people’s bullshit this time of year. This makes me stressed. And when I’m stressed, I can’t write. I come home and crash. I get sort of withdrawn. But perhaps that not writing is what makes January and February so strong. January is a month of resolutions. Reflection. And maybe this is why I feel the need to finish so damned many things that I started. Resolutions, or some such. At least I do stick to some resolutions. Others, not so much.You won’t catch me at the gym. But you will see me writing. Which is something, I guess.

Spring. Spring is a gorgeously manic writing season for me. It’s  a season of 5k days and outrageous amount of novel ideas. More than I can ever finish. But by God, I write a lot. Every day, too. I don’t necessarily finish things. I’m bad about starting a crazy number of projects. It’s like my brain is moving at a pace my fingers can’t seem to keep up with. It’s all a bit symbolic, really. When you think about it. Spring being the season for new beginnings. A bit predictable, but very true in my case. I insistently write during the spring. Something about it just revitalizes me, I suppose. Which is good, since nothing happens in the summer. But more on that after another music break. I love Halloween. Have you noticed that yet about me?

Summer is the absolute pits for my creativity. I don’t start project. I don’t work on projects. 1000 words is a big word count day for me, which is abysmal. I can’t figure out why this is. Maybe the southern heat and humidity. Maybe the fact that I got into the pattern of lazy summers and traveling to see relatives when I was in high school and it stuck. I don’t know what it is But I can’t do anything in the summer. I do have one idea to try to remedy that. Maybe working on the dreaded edits is the answer. I can’t create, so I can work. Something like that, at least. It’s well worth a try, I guess. Just to get something out of my least favorite season of the year. The summers just really drag on for me. I don’t know why it is. I just fully lack ambition in the summer time. No desire to create, no desire to go out, no desire to do anything. It’s more of a state of mind thing than anything else.  I’ve never been a warm weather person. Maybe that’ll be my excuse. It’s my lie, as long as I believe it that’s all that matters. Right?

The last of the mood music, I swear. And to close, I’d like to relay an anecdote. A Halloween miracle if you will. This year, I didn’t put a lot of prep work into my costume. I went heavy with my makeup. Lipstick so dark it’s almost black. Heavy eye makeup. Pale foundation. AKA foundation that actually matches my skin. And very goth, vampy, sexy clothes. An elderly lady came into our store. A coworker and I were both helping her, and I stepped away to look something up. She very quietly asked my coworker if I was goth. Not because she sees anything wrong with that. Because there isn’t a thing wrong with it. She wanted to ask me where I found my dark lipstick, just out of sheer curiosity and didn’t want to sound like a jerk, or to make me think I was being made fun of. For the love of Richard O’Brien, that was adorable. Making her my favorite old lady on the planet. That’s not typical for a small southern town. Trust me. You wear black nail polish and the villagers start gathering their pitchforks and torches.

What about you? Do you find the seasons have a pull on your creativity? Or is it just me? Stay spooky, my darling creeps.

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