Writing Season is Now Open by Jen Violi

I bloom indoors in the winter like a forced forsythia; I come in to come out.  At night, I read and write, and things I have never understood become clear; I reap the harvest of the year’s planting.

-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


I’ve always considered Fall-through-Winter as prime writing season.  Like Dillard, I bloom indoors in a whole different way.

So, in case you were looking for one, after your summer of feast and frolic and possibly even family vacation frenzy, consider this your license to write again, your invitation to settle comfortably into your bathrobe and fuzzy socks and dig in.

At this time of year, I know I feel freed from the taunts of what I like to call, The Tyranny of a Sunny Day. 

You have to get out there!  It would be a crime not to.

Why are your curtains closed when the sun’s not even down yet?  What exactly are you hiding?  Is that a SWEATER???

You can’t waste such a beautiful day by staying inside!  The day will be SO SAD if you don’t go out in it.

In fall and winter, heavens be praised, this tyranny fades.  The world seems to give a permission slip for staying in on a weekend afternoon, or reading away a drizzly morning.

Go ahead, take some time to stare at the wall.  How about an extra pillow for your feet?

All you have to do is breathe and blink.  And in between those, wonder and ponder.  This mulled wine should help.

The sun actually prefers for you to stay in, so it doesn’t have to come out either.  Win, win!

The limited light forgives.  The rain offers benediction for solitude and introspection.  For me to go underground and upside down in a cave, like a bat, shoot my tongue out for a simple mosquito meal without even opening up my eyes.  The shorter days make way for lengthier dreaming.

So let’s nurture our rich inner lives.  As writers, we need it.  It’s not an act of luxury.  It’s an essential food group.  Eat up.

Like Annie Dillard, come in to come out.

Let clarity fall around your shoulders and over your lap like fleece or chenille.

Harvest your year.  What have you learned?  Where have you been?  Why have you arrived in this moment as you are?  Take in the riches of gains and loss, beginnings and ends, education and encounter.   As you still your soul’s waters, what words rise to the surface?

Don’t worry about wasting the day.  Worry about wasting your beautiful mind and heart.

Writing season is now open.  Enjoy.


About Jen Violi