We often talk about the influence of other writers, movies, and events in life on how, and what, we write. I’d like to take a look at different influences.Right now, here in England, the summer is almost forgotten as autumn sinks its teeth into us. I used to love autumn, with its rich earth colours and unmistakable odours. Now, sadly, it is a season that I enjoy far less. Temperatures dropping often at an alarming rate, and more rain, or worse. These impact heavily on me. Suffering from permanent chronic pain, cold and damp just make matters worse. There’s never any hope of getting out into the sun, to let its heat gently ease the pains. As a consequence, I write less, The only positive I can draw from it is that if I ever need to write about pain that just grinds you away with its unrelenting presence, I’ll have a wealth of experience to call upon! In some respects, the worst of it is the steady reduction in how much I can go out. The house becomes smaller, the walls closer, the ceiling lower. And there’s the knowledge that, in time, I’ll reach a point of being anxiety-laden at the mere prospect of leaving the house!
Ignoring the season, for now, let’s look at the weather. A long, warm, sunny period is a wonderful time for my creativity! When the summer is a good summer, even the worst weather can be drawn upon. A storm pounding the world while I write is hugely energising. A gale moaning and shrieking all around, the same. Of course, if the temperature rises too much, and humidity with it, then lethargy sets in and the only writing I do is in my head! That doesn’t happen often any more. Memories of unusual or awesome weather conditions will frequently creep into my writing.
On the question of illness, things are less happy. Remembered illness is, of course, no problem. It can often contribute to a story. Current illness, however, can be far less helpful! A short term illness is one thing, being recognised as something that will end. Still, even that can be damaging. A migraine, for example, will stop all writing, or even thinking, dead! But a long term illness, where there is no hope of it ending, drains the soul. You have to be prepared to work at a feverish rate when the “good days” prevail, just as you have to accept that the worst days will prevent you from doing anything, even if your mind is still racing with ideas, or pursuing the story despite your inability to write any of it down. You may be able to draw some inspiration from illness, but it’s a very high cost if the illness is serious or permanent.
Finally, returning to the question of seasons, there’s the shorter days. Many of us suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and will find ourselves spiraling down because the days are so short. Again, that will impact on writing, curtailing it severely, or robbing us of inspiration. And again, it’s something which may have an influence on how we write about the emotions experienced by our characters. Any form of depression causes a high degree of introspection, which gives us an insight into our own emotions, often painfully. That will then find its way out in words eventually.
To conclude, what I’m saying is that there are many influences on how and what we write! There are certainly major influences, which we may have to do battle with, but every little thing in our lives is our food and drink! If we experience it, then we can, and probably will, use it.