Seasonal creativity with Tom Evans

14 May 2014 / 3 comments
Since January this year, my writing has gone a little stale. As I’ve written in other posts, since I self-published my novel Searching for Von Honningsbergs I’ve been consumed by social media and platform building, mucking around with Animoto book trailers, fine-tuning my use of Hootsuite and Twitter posts. I was fearing that I’d lost my writing spark and was wondering whether I’d ever write another worthwhile thing.  But then I heard a podcast between Joanna Penn (my self-pub/self-help guru) and author and mentor Tom Evans. Tom Evans was talking about how he’s a seasonal writer and he writes better in the Spring and also according to patterns of the moon. This really struck a chord with me, because I do seem to spend the Summer and Autumn not as focused as I do in Winter and Spring. Once I thought about it, over the last two years I’ve tended to blog more and do other things in the first half of the year and then I settle into serious writing later in the year.


The weather in Melbourne has just gotten cooler, and guess what? I’m starting to feel more creative again in the mornings. I switch on the heater in the study, cosy up in my dressing gown, sip on my long black coffee and the words are starting to flow again. Thinking there really must be something in it, I contacted Tom to find out more about seasonal creativity ...


You’ve said that you write better in the Spring. Why do you think this is?
Well I should emphasise I am answering this question from the perspective of being situated in the Northern hemisphere. After writing three books over three years, I realised that I had started them all in April. It occurred to me then that there might be a pattern. So for the next four books, I tested it out and they popped out easily. Any attempt to start another book in Autumn seemed like I was pushing water uphill.


So I guess empirically I’ve noticed I naturally prefer to Spring Forward. I noted too that I got to first draft by the Spring Equinox in June.


How can writers better tune into their own patterns and take advantage of seasonal creativity?
We all have different times when we are creative. Intuitively though we know if we are ’morning’ or ’evening’ people. So the first step is just to become aware of our most productive times.


We can then go back historically through our diaries and think about projects that went well and those that hit blockages. When we the see the pattern, we can schedule times in our diary in the future for our creative endeavours. For example, when working on a new book, I make ’appointments’ with my chapters and book client work in around them. My book takes priority over everything as it won't write itself unless I agree to ’meet with it’.


You also talk about 'harvesting' in the off-seasons - please tell us a little more about this and how writers can benefit from harvesting time.
So even though I write my books in Spring, the reason they pop out so quickly when I start them is that the planning starts in Autumn and through the Winter. So some chapters might start out life as a blog or an exercise I try out in a workshop, in an ecourse or in a client 1-2-1 session. This ensures what I write about has been tested in the real world.


Note that this applies to my non-fiction books on the theme of personal development. This year I am getting back into writing fiction and I suspect the Winter months might suit such introspective writing. The main thing to do is for writers to try out what works. If the Muse is with us, we go with the flow. If it’s not with us, don't push water uphill.


How does changes in the moon cycle affect our creativity?
A few years ago, in my esoteric research into the Minor Arcana of Tarot, I found an obscure reference to how the Moon Phase affects our consciousness. As an experiment, I’ve been operating to Moon Phase since and I can testify that it seems to work. This video explains more:




Tom Evans is an author and author’s mentor. He is the creator of two self study programmes, How to Channel Your Book and Living Timefully. Find out more about Tom, his books, blogs and services at www.tomevans.co
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