Winter, we keep saying, is coming. Even though it was sixty degrees yesterday, and there isn’t much snow in the mountains. We need a big winter here. Last year was disastrous for this state and especially for Washington. 

The good thing about winter is that it brings me inside. I bake bread. I make real food–crockpot stews, Cornish pasties (look them up), lasagna. I do yoga. I go to the gym. All things I neglect during the summer mania. I also write.

I’d love to say I am one of those highly disciplined writers who arise at five to pound out 5,000 words a day. Alas, this is untrue. I do rise at five, but it’s to go to my job. Writing for now has to be opportunistic. It has to fit in the narrow window between work and sleep, exercise and animals and husband and obligations and errands. It often takes the back seat. 

Winter, though. It gets dark so early. Frost coats the windows, the temperature drops below zero. I don’t own a TV and I read a lot. I’ve been warned not to hover over the cat (he’s so cute, it’s hard not to). I need indoor hobbies! Winter is when I feel most creative. So I write.

It’s not technically winter yet, but I am 11,000 words in on the next novel. I only need to do this 8 more times. I’ve learned enough to break it down into scenes. Just write a scene at a time and you will eventually have a book. It’s easier to think of it that way than how much farther I have to go (like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in sections which I am doing. I’ve done about a thousand miles, with 1,600 more to go. But I think of it as a ten year plan.) I had the opening chapter of Geography written for at least two years before I finally figured out where it was going. I’d try one thing and it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t quit it, though. I knew the book was in there somewhere. I just had to give it a few winters to come out.