Switching Gears

Another week has started in the farms/small towns in southeast Wisconsin. Nature, in her ever moving glory, has dumped most of her glorious hair on the ground to eventually turn into mush and mulch and hiding places for various little things until spring.

Today is the last warm day — the so-called Indian Summer — trying to coax us out of the house and go walking or biking or fetching the dogs one more day before it invites the colder air to come and visit.

Do you, as artists, change your routines when the weather changes?

I know my friends down Australia way are going through the lovely growth of Spring, thinking about picnics and boat rides and art fairs and dinners on the patio with friends.

Their counterparts up here in the U.S. for the most part are waving goodbye to the hot, melting vibrations of sunlight, settling instead for a weak, yet still bright, effort from the sun.

Many of you are artists — even if you don’t acknowledge yourself as one. You arrange gardens, build patios and put up swing sets, paint in watercolors and oils, cut up pieces of magazines and cloth and broken glass and make the most glorious collages. 

We all do something with our spare time — how can we not?

But cold weather does put a damper on outdoor activities. Perhaps not a damper, per se — you can still enjoy outdoor activities, walk in the snow and make snow angels — but cold weather does tend to keep one insider a lot more.

Do you do the same activities you did in the blazing hot summer? 

Technically I suppose I could do many of the same things inside as outside. Keep my plants growing, paint rocks at the kitchen table, ride an exercise bike rather than a purple 10 speed down the road. But some of it’s not the same without the grandkids or warm weather.

I am fortunate — writing is a year round project. I wish I was as versatile as the sport allowed (short stories, novels, poems, essays, opinion pieces, blogging, research papers, sonnets, tweets). I like to stick to the blogging and novel writing end of the pool.

In the winter time, when you’re stuck inside, blowing, tearing wind and snow and ice and nothing but a cabinet full of popcorn and ice cream, you would think your concentration focuses even finer.

It’s not even winter time and I find myself dissatisfied with everything.

Is this another passing phase? Should I find something new to write? Some new type of art to dig into?

Or should I just enjoy the popcorn and ice cream and take a break for a while?

What do you do?




17 thoughts on “Switching Gears

  1. Yes yes. I do find winter more conducive to reading. I guess it’s not the same as sitting out on the deck in the warm evening — but it also is mosquito and ladybug and fly-free, I don’t have to depend on the breeze or bug spray, and rain and wind don’t factor into the equation. And, anyways – there are sooooooo many books waiting for us to read!

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  2. Haha! I hate to admit I love popping my own and adding some extra butter (that’s why I look like a Telletubbie!) But it does help my creative instinct… needing only a fireplace to complete the picture. A fireplace in a Hobbit house, maybe … or in a haunted mansion … see? It’s working already!

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  3. That’s funny! And totally relatable! Especially at the end of winter. I too love the quiet solitude of winter, watching it snow, getting snowed in so I can’t go anywhere — what better way to test my devotion to Crafts! Maybe I need to stock up now for a new creative craft like painting — just in case. That’s all I need. More STUFF. But painting would be such a wonderful outlet!


  4. Weather gets to me…the extremes…humidity and freezing temps. I will take a nothing day once a week if it gets bad, but mainly I try to find something new or different to do. And there’s always a book to put me in another place for a bit.


  5. I perked up when I read, “ when you’re stuck inside, blowing, tearing wind and snow and ice and nothing but a cabinet full of popcorn and ice cream…” and I immediately got up from my easy chair, went into the kitchen, and popped some popcorn. The wind continued to blow and the snow & ice continued to blow into drifts, but suddenly none of that matters. Mmm … popcorn! Yes!!


  6. I like the winter season and the bright snow light. It is my most creative time. The coziness is inspiring and I do not miss all of the yard work, intense 100 degree days or bugs. I admit that at then end of winter, my paintings get much more colorful.


  7. Ha! You are a soul after my own soul! I do miss it still being light at 8:30/9 p.m., the cool breezes coming in the bedroom window (when the AC is not running), the growth and the energy and the possibilities. We have possibilities all year round, of course, but I’ve lost the excitement of craft fairs for the year and camping in the woods and all that. I write all year round too, but sometimes the subjects or point-of-view changes. I’m so glad someone else goes through this “dormant” period too. I actually think we need this. Thank you.


  8. Those sound like wonderful change-of-scenery activities to me! Yes, there is something in the change of seasons that make for a mental change too. We’re still the same people with the same creativity, but I do feel a shift every year around this time. I’m so glad I’m not alone.

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  9. My early winter dissatisfaction has me rearranging everything in the house. Nothing seems exactly right (I’m almost through). I never stop reading and writing. The cat keeps me happy and no matter the weather, unless it’s truly horrendous (snow storms or pouring rain) I go for a walk. Have SAD, so the lights are always on and I do a lot of artwork. I already miss summer. The color, flowers, beautiful LONG days. The gray skies and darkness is horrible. Sigh. If we could just tilt the planet so that Illinois and Wisconsin could get more sun and warmer weather. I keep thinking we can do it, somehow.


  10. My routines and energy change this time of year. Living in the SW, the scorching sun has been replaced with pleasant golden days, making it enjoyable to venture outside. For me that means more time in nature, enjoying and photographing. It is a reflective season too which influences my writing. Great post!


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