The first time I did Nanowrimo (really the only official time, since I'm a cheater this year) I couldn't imagine why they held it in November. I mean, its the month with Thanksgiving in it, and all kinds of holiday preparations going on.
But when I thought more about it, I got it.
Because these dark days (daylight savings time ends on Sunday, yikes) of late fall are among my most creative of times. November and December are months when it is not only easy for me to happily make progress on current projects, but they are also times when I get tons of new ideas.
It seems counter-intuitive, doesn't it? All around us, the weather is getting colder, leaves are falling, plants are dying. Now what we usually associate with creativity.
I've thought about this a lot, and here's what I've come up with.
First, its a time when the encroaching outside darkness forces us within. (For the record, I love it when dark begins to fall early. I know, I'm the one human being on the planet who feels this way. It's my Danish heritage. Oh, right, so wait, there's probably some more folks like me, lovers of these dark days, up in Scandinavia.) When night falls by 5 PM we've got to find ways to entertain ourselves indoors, and for many of us, that means writing. And so we spend more time looking within. And that's where ideas are born.
Second, we mimic nature. Plants and seeds may be going dormant, but this doesn't mean nothing is happening. Here's the Wikipedia definition of dormancy: "Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle when growth, development, and (in animals) physical activity are temporarily stopped." Note the words, growth, development, activity, which correspond to our spring and summer busyness. Dormant periods are rich times of retreat and renewal, vital aspects of the creative cycle, which can be hugely beneficial for the generation of creative ideas.
Third, in western cultures, the advent of winter is the most sacred of times, when we celebrate the birth of a savior. And even if you practice a different religious tradition, the story of the birth of Jesus so predominates as to be a cultural meme. And what is more symbolic of new life, new energy, and new ideas, than a baby?
So I've learned to honor and appreciate these dark, creative days. And I've also realized that seeing November and December as times that will generate new ideas gives me a good jump on the new year. I'm already riding the crest of the new by the time the new year comes along. (And something tells me that next year is going to be a doozy, seeing as how its 2012 and all.)
This year, I've decided to take my honoring of the season a step further and offer a class around it. Hence, Cultivate Your Creative Seeds: Goose the Muse and Gather Goals to Generate Writing Success in 2012. It's a two-session teleclass. The first class will focus on tips and techniques for getting ideas, corralling them, and not getting overwhelmed by them. During the second class, we'll focus on turning those ideas into goals (in a creative, non-threatening manner) so that we can make huge, rabid progress on our writing next year.
I'm keeping the cost of this class low because everyone money is an issue for folks right now, and you'll also get a recording and cool handouts. Interested? Click here for more information. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Call me crazy, but just as I wrote this blog post, I had a brain fart storm. And that is to offer a Nanowrimo special of $30 off, which brings the cost of the class to an extremely reasonable $67. But my brainstorm won't last long, I'm only going to offer this price until the end of the weekend, midnight Pacific time on November 6th.
So go sign up. And then come back here and tell me what your most creative time of the year is.
Image credits: winter tree by ywel; baby in manger by debsch, both found on Everystockphoto.