A Writer’s Hibernation and Other Tales of Winter

So it came to pass that I’ve put my wireless keyboard away in its box when we last took a trip (for New Year’s) and I haven’t taken it out since, not even once.

In its stead, I’ve done a whole lotta nothing, including taking up knitting again, after almost fifteen years. In the time after NaNo got wrapped up, I’ve made a few cowls and a few hats and almost three socks (I’ve enjoyed the last part the most), as well as finished sewing two button downs from last year. Oh, and I’ve mentored my s. o. through her first two skirts (ever!).

I found a few new TV shows to occasionally glimpse at while knitting (HSMTMTS, Riverdale until mid-season 2 because I can only stand so much unnecessary weirdness, Legacies which I love even though I’ve never watched the original show, and Manifest, which was a surprisingly good addition to my knitting routine) and one to stare at while holding the knitwork in my hands but not really working on it because I was too emotional about the show (Lost in Space season 2).

Thus, it’s not that big of a surprise to realize I haven’t written a word of fiction since early December. But yet another thing which came to pass during the winter season of 2019/2020 is that no. fucks. were. given. Yup, you’ve read it right—I don’t feel guilty about skipping the fiction words in the past month and a half, not even in the least. Sure, I do wish I felt differently during winter—I probably would’ve already finished the Third Werewolf Novel if I were the kind of person who could keep their routine up during shitty weather—but this winter, probably for the first time in my life, I’ve accepted the fact that I simply can not. It was a long time coming, when you’re a person as prone to self-introspection as I am, but I’m still not sure if I would’ve ever gotten around to accepting it as is if not for hearing (or reading) my editor extraordinaire, Mihaela, talk about one’s energy cycles and accepting the ebb and flow and working with it, not against it. And that’s what I’m doing this winter, in a nutshell—and it feels freakin’ awesome.

All in all, I’ve ended up enjoying this winter immensely, which is not a thing that usually happens. Winter is usually a time of aboslute, utter black-hole dread for me. I chronically hate the cold (being raised in a rather mild climate and such), and if a few weeks go by without the sun, I tend to get cranky. I’ve had a few bad winters in a row a few years back and I’ve gotten used to expecting the worst out of each new winter coming my way.

And yet.

Does this post mean I’m out of my writing vacation, though? Hell to the fuck no. It’s still winter, after all.

But it’s already been a week since I’ve felt the urge to write fiction again (and waited for it to pass, like a good little woey wintery writer-procrastinator that I am). Last Thursday I’ve even played with the idea of picking up one of last summer’s queer fantasy stories I’d started and never gotten to wrapping up (apart from these babies), even though the Third Werewolf Novel is actually the real story I need to dive back into. I often think about my currently favourite ship from the novel itself and the fact that their get together story has already waited over a year to be finished, too. (Actually, re-written—and then finished. But you didn’t hear it from me.)

Last week was a good one, yes. But I’m just not ready yet. Writing articles for this blog—hell yeah. (It’s fun, and they keep getting read, I keep finding things to share about writing, and they pass the time almost as good as knitting.) Stripping off the skin (and the ligaments and the muscle tissue) in order to get back into the dark and ugly of writing fiction plots coming straight out of my bones? No thank you.

Come Spring, I’ll be taking a different approach to life in general—it’s another personal quirk I’m slowly accepting. I’m really looking forward to it — but I can wait a few weeks (maybe even months, depending on the weather) more.

I just want to note, if you’re, too, stuck right here in the winter-wonderland hibernation mode with me… hang in there! And don’t be too hard on yourself. If bears (and bats and, apparently, arctic ground squirrels, whatever the hell those beasties are) can do it, why not us?

Spring will come. Words will come. Life goes on—and winter does end.

Unless you’re stuck in a nuclear postapocalypse. In that case—good luck!

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