Friday, 2 October 2009

Whether Weather Makes a Difference

When I saw that I was hosting the coffee morning this week, I thought - no problem, I'll think of something. But that 'something' remained elusive. So I had a good look through all our past coffee mornings which Captain Black* has so cleverly organized. It seems we have covered just about everything from sex to synopsis, structure to support systems, senses to struggles. And that's just subjects beginning with s. There's a whole heap of discussion, information and sharing in our backlog and I'm sure there will be a whole lot more. But not this week. This week I'm stuck for a new subject. Or a new take on an old subject.

So, in true Brit style, when in doubt, talk about the weather.

It's autumn. The decrease in daylight depresses me. I'm naturally happier on long, warm days and struggle in winter. I'll settle into it eventually but not until I've had a little moan. I know autumn means, colour, crispness and spice but to me it also means the advent of high gas bills, cracked fingers and damp dogs. And multi layer dressing. And ages until spring. There. I think I've clearly demonstrated my capacity for autumn moaning and I can hear you all saying - stop. For the love of laptops, stop. Smell the crisp, fresh air and ask us what this has got to do with writing.

So. How does the weather affect your writing?

Are you more productive in summer or when you're holed up in winter? Does the change of season affect your mood or output or do you remain constant whether it's grey or blue outside. I know some of you live in warm climes. Does it suit you? And who amongst us is living in their ideal climate?

Although I'm prone to be glum(mer) in winter, I don't think the change of season actually affects my output. In fact, it may even boost it as hibernation sets in. So I suppose there are some positives to grey drizzle even if I don't always appreciate it. And I really don't always appreciate it.

*Captain, I don't think I fully appreciated quite how much work you've put into organizing our sidebar. You must have worn out your Ctrl keys. You deserve a medal. Or at least a virtual beer.


Karen said...

Ooh I'll have a big slab of, er, both please with some tea to wash it down :o)

I prefer summer and struggle with winter too, and it takes me a while to adjust to darker evenings (groans just thinking about it.) I used to think I was more productive in winter, but this year has made a nonsense of that - I've been fairly productive throughout and realise it was another procrastination excuse (I don't do as much writing in summer because I like to get outdoors/do the gardening/take in the sunshine etc. etc - bit of a laugh when you consider the summers we've had!)

So no, the weather doesn't make a difference to my output :o)

JJ Beattie said...

Excellent topic for a majority of Brits. Is that banana bread? Whatever it is, it looks yum.

I love Autumn because it's my birthday, the colours and I like dressing in layers.

But I'm in Thailand, where the three seasons are hot, hot and wet and really hot. So I work in air con mostly and you can't get that right either: it's either too hot or too cold.

My main concern about coming home is the cold. I know you're meant to get up and move... but I can't. I'm going to be one of those old ladies who sits in her chair and dies of hyperthermia.

That would be very unproductive for my writing, I'd say.

Cathy said...

I hate icy, snowy weather and I think my productivity goes down because I'm fretting about driving or falling over! I also hate feeling cold, so winter is not good for me.

I would previously have said that I prefer summer, but heat now affects my health badly, so I'll have to settle for spring and autumn being best for me and my writing.

sheepish said...

I love the changing seasons but prefer them to be gentler winters and hotter summers than you get in England so am very happy with the climate where we are now. [Just south of Carcassonne.] I don't like too much gloomy weather as it depresses me which can affect my writing but it doesn't stay dull here for long here so I will have no excuses. Well I will because I shall just think of some new ones.
Oh and I forgot, tea and a slice of each cake please!!!
Off out for lunch soon which we shall eat outside as its still lovely and warm here[hovering just below 30 most days]very conducive to writing imo.

Kate Harrison said...

Cake - yum!!!!

Living in a warmer country right now has been a mixed blessing for me, I do love sunshine to be OUT in but actually, for working, I prefer a cloudy day and maybe even heavy, noisy rain and a storm (though I get nervous about the electrics here wiping out my laptop!).

Also this summer has been stifling in the city, with no air con. This time of year MUCH better, though apparently the gas here is very very expensive so may have to go to the library to work rather than have the heating on all the time...

Kate Harrison said...

PS: it was publication day for me yesterday, if any UK NRs see it in the shops, I'd really love to know as there have been no confirmed sightings yet because 800 titles came out yesterday. Mine is called The Secret Shopper Unwrapped...

Flowerpot said...

I prefer summer to winter because I have lousy circulation and my fingers and toes always get really cold in winter. But it doenst make any difference to my productivity. I used to lkive in a small village and would worry like mad whenb it was icy about driving to work in te morning. Now I work from home and live by the sea where we hardly ever get ice!

Graeme K Talboys said...

Mmmmm - cake. Sorry what was the question?

Oh yes.

The only thing I can't cope with are extremes. Too hot or too cold and my system does peculiar things and my brain won't function properly (although I'm not sure it ever did).

Debs said...

I'll have a bit of both please. Greedy, moi?

I tend to be more productive when the weather is colder and more miserable. In the summer I feel I should be outside making the most of the heat and sun and so do far less than when it's grim.

Fia said...

Look at those scrummy cakes. Did you make them yourself? Just a couple of thin - not too thin - slices for me please.

Excellent question. I am very affected by the weather. My bones ache in the cold but I love making up my fire and being entranced by the flames.

I write more in the summer simply because I feel more awake. I can sit in my shed, happily tapping at the keys 'til 9pm. In the winter, however, I'm inside cocooned on the sofa watching Henry V111 or X Factor and drooling. Wish I could blame Simon Cowell but, alas, it's me nodding off.

Leatherdykeuk said...

Spring and autumn are best -- I generally do NaNo in November -- but Summer is the worst for me as I fret about neglecting the garden.

Rowan Coleman said...

kate - I have a positive sighting of your book in my local Waterstones! And a copy is now sitting on my deak waiting to be read - yay!

Weather, weather - I love the idea of writing outside a cafe in the sunshine, but in reality it never works out. There are wasps, and glare on the screen, and OTHER PEOPLE (my pet hate) talking loudly about getting Matilda to Ballet and the price of a holiday to Zanzibar and how the cleaner has simply got to go. But on the other hand I hate sitting indoors writing in the sunshine too as feel like i'm missing out. My best writing day is a dark over cast rainy one, when its a bit chilly and I have to turn the light on. I love that.

Anonymous said...

I'll have some of that yummy cake please. That is, if the rest of the racers haven't beaten me to it. That is, if the Flobbins haven't beaten us all to it.

My productivity, writing or any other kind of work, is not much affected by the weather. Unless I'm actually outside, that is. Ever tried using a lap-top in a thunderstorm? What really disrupts me are irritating, intermittent noises such as strimmers, drills, leaf-blowers, dogs barking and the like. I have two options: get earplugs or go somewhere else.

I used to quite enjoy writing, or at least plotting, in a local coffee shop. Sadly it's no more.

Crèche [noun]: Room full of prams and screaming kids. Formerly used for writing novels and imbibing caffeine-based beverages. Old name: coffee shop.

Thanks for those kind words about the side-bar, Lane. I think English may soon be my second language, after JavaScript.

Liane Spicer said...

Yum! That looks delicious, Lane.

I don't think the weather has a noticeable effect on my output. There isn't much variation here and I moan about the heat most of the year, but during your winter months our weather is milder, the nights can get downright chilly and this energizes me so that it's quite possible that I work better then.

We owe the Captain bigly! :)

Amanda said...

Cakes look great, Lane, thank you! :-)

I prefer writing in the winter, because I don't feel I'm missing anything by writing!

The only time the weather really makes a difference to my productivity is when a storm is on it's way - I get an awful headache and can't look at the screen!

Annieye said...

I hope there's some cake left.

I love the early morning sunshine of spring/summer, but then equally I enjoy walking through crisp leaves of autumn at dusk in the autumn. I think autumn is my favourite time of year. I am not a big fan of bright, direct sunlight and like to sit in the shade in the summer. I do like sitting outside in the garden, though, with my laptop. Hubby has promised to build me a breeze house at the top of the garden where I can write when the weather is warm enough. I'm working on getting a nice conservatory, too, though, so I can have some inspirational space all year round.

Lorna F said...

I don't cope well with extremes either way - don't think my bodily thermometer works well. However, I do find that in summer I feel a whole lot better because of the LIGHT! It gets me totally down to be closing the curtains earlier and earlier each evening - I try to psych myself into thinking cocoon, nest, cosiness - but it doesn't work. I think of dreichness. (Dreich -good Scots word for the grey and dismal). I also can't abide having cold feet - which I do. You'd think being a Scot I'd be hardier - maybe it's all these years of living in England that have softened me up ...

Lane said...

I enjoyed reading your answers. Thank you.

Some of you have reminded me of the positive sides to Autumn, like being inside with the lights on and not feeling guilty about not doing stuff outside. I think I shall try to be much more positive this year, make the most of the gloomy days and up the output. (She says:-)

Kate - Will keep a look out for your book and let you know.

Have a good writing week everyone.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Summer every time - so much easier to drag yourself away from the keyboard, get outside and get some fresh air. Winter too tempting to curl up by fire with a book (rather than write one).

Lily Sheehan said...

mmmm they look good. they are probably all gone now tho :(

My mood is definately effected. I am a lot more tired and it doesnt help when i leave for work its dark and when i leave for home its still dark! I struggled with my writing yesterday because i was so cold and had to keep getting up for a hot drink.

ps what program do you use for the polaroid effects. i found initializer but it didnt look the same.

Lane said...

Lily - this one was done using Picasa - but you can only use polaroid in the 'collage' mode.

I think you can do it at too although I haven't used that programme myself.