Nothing says the beginning of Winter like putting the clocks back. All of a sudden, we're plunged into darkness, getting ready for work before the sun rises and coming home after it's set. Spend your day in an environment where there isn't much light - a wrong-facing office, say, or an internal ward without windows - and going to work in November starts to resemble the existence of a pit worker.
There is so much comfort in winter. The fireworks, the roasting chestnuts, the mulled wine, the roaring fires, the AMAZING food. (Hearty soups, robust stews, roast vegetables... you know what I'm talking about). But try as one might to be an abstract-thinking human being who can raise ones' own consciousness above the animal discomforts of winter living - who among us has never pretended they like splashing about in puddles, even though it's freezing outside and they've just discovered that their winter shoes are no longer waterproof? - sometimes you gotta go ahead and admit it - November is depressing. There are still six weeks left until the shortest day, and sometimes at this point, it feels like it's never going to end.
It's tempting to go into hibernation mode. Almost everybody I know does, even the most dedicated party animals. "It's too cold to go out," they protest, and I can't blame them. It's too cold, some days, even to make it from your own front door to the car in the mornings. So there's no socialising, and no going out. Know what this means? More writing.
If your house is anything like mine (cold, windswept, forbidding: think Wuthering Heights, but with smaller rooms and less squalor) you'll be in the habit of spending most of your winter evenings huddling together for warmth with your significant other under a blanket. Those among us who work a full-time job beside the writing have got to pack all the writing in in the evenings. I'm sorry, comrades: we've got to crawl out from under that blanket, and hike upstairs to our punishing little garret room to get the next chapter finished. Here's how you make it bearable:
Winter Writing: You Will Need
1. Jumpers, lots of. Layering is the key. Think Bjork in 1993: trousers, skirts, t-shirt, shirt, thin jumper, thick jumper, ridiculous aran jumper that makes you look a bit like a fisherman. Don't worry, nobody is going to see you. Remember! Don't layer it on so thick you can't type.
2. Fingerless gloves. You ever try typing in normal gloves? It's a recipe for disaster. Hitting three keys at once and sliding around from one key to another. Switch to the fingerless type. Yes, your extremities will go numb and possibly fall off, but you'll save time in the long run.
3. Lovely warm cup of tea. (Can be substituted for lovely warming glass of whiskey and / or red wine, depending on the severity of the situation).
4. Hot water bottle (Can be substituted for affectionate cat, proving cat is not going to try and 'help' you write by walking across the keyboard).
5. Duvet. Yes, if it gets very cold. You're not going to be moving around enough to keep warm.
6. Thick socks, three pairs of. Nothing so distracting as getting cold toes in the middle of a crucial scene.
Who else is up there in the garret room with me, blowing on their fingers and blowing their noses on the edge of the duvet?!!