University Writing Center Blog

Posted on November 12th, 2019 in Creative Writing, Writing Strategies by University Writing Center

Written by: Katie S.

With the exception of the brief but luminous Christmas spirit, the winter months are often dark, damp, and dreary. This can often be exacerbated by a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression that becomes especially prevalent during the transition from summer to the fall and winter seasons. The form of SAD, specifically known as “winter depression,” can include symptoms such as oversleeping, eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates, weight gain, and feelings of exhaustion or a lack of energy (Mayo Clinic).

A common effect of winter depression is experiencing disinterest in previously enjoyable activities. As an artist, during the transition from fall to winter and throughout the winter, I tend to have more difficulty than usual with creating pieces that satisfactorily display the interwoven themes, techniques, and personality that I want to convey. The same goes for creative minds in other disciplines—if you are a writer that has been affected by SAD, you have likely experienced a similar shift within your personal or academic writing style.

Although it can be difficult to pull yourself out of the weather-induced funk and carry on with your daily activities, channeling your negative mood into a constructive pastime can make a significant difference in your self-confidence as a creator during particularly tough periods of SAD. Consider your own perception of the winter ambience that surrounds you and give it life—explore the possibility of a new character, setting, or activity that expresses the best or worst qualities of winter. Using this time in the year to establish new connections between your readers and your writing by identifying and utilizing various winter-related sources of emotion will both maintain relatability, interest, and act as an outlet for your SAD. In addition, writing for a short period of time—even just five or ten minutes a day—can keep you accustomed to doing something productive each day, regardless of how you feel.