Gazing through the window on a grey, dreary autumn day doesn’t generate a lot of inspiration for a ‘get out there and enjoy the summer sunshine’ type of article. Neither does the need to get out there in the summer sunshine help very much when trying to create a cosy winter scene for your novel.
The imagination and memory are invaluable tools in seasonal creative writing but without the physical senses being stimulated, any creative writing can take on a hard edge.
Mellow out and push even more sensual feeling into your writing by stimulating all your senses and fooling them out of season.
Fool Your Sight
Pin up some simple pictures around your office space
*Recreate Spring with spring flowers, sunrises, Easter bunny cartoons, children playing, babies giggling – anything that sparks your spring imagination.
*Recreate summer by pinning up some holiday snaps or those awful summer holiday advertisements seen in all the glossies. It will undoubtedly give you a new angle to your summer writing 🙂
*Recreate autumn with images of pumpkins, withes and black cats and spectacular trees in the red and gold colours of autumn.
*Recreate winter with pictures of winter sports and snow-ball fights. Try and find a good picture of rain falling under a lamppost at night. Truly and hypnotically winter!
Simply sorting out your pictures and hanging them will get the creative juices flowing. And your work space gets a new look every season – out of season.
Draw a seasonal curtain: This works especially well for those who do a lot of writing after dark. Change the curtain at your window to reflect the season you want to create. The change of texture n the material of the curtain gives the whole scene a more three dimensional feel. When choosing a ‘spring’ look in the winter, make sure the material is heavy enough to keep out the cold.
Fool Your Hearing
Play the music that makes you buzz with seasonal fever:
The most effective music I’ve found for prompting me into another season is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Give it a go. Ignore the rain against the window. Choose the piece you want to listen to, turn up the volume and allow yourself to float away in the music for a few minutes. Guaranteed to meet the seasonal needs.
Then there are recordings of song birds, summer holiday songs, ghostly Halloween music and ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ assortments. And there will always be personal favourites that prompt memories of summer days, winter evenings, spring lambs or special events. Choose your sounds carefully. You tube and playlists make this a very easy practice.
Fool Your Taste
One obvious way to fool your taste buds is to buy fruit and veg out of season, which is okay but could leave you considerably out of pocket, assuming of course you can even find fresh versions of out-of-season produce. There are a few cheaper steps we can take to stimulate our taste buds:
Recreate spring and summer tastes:
*A crisp fresh mixed salad will help create the taste of spring and summer
* A pot of chives or even cutting lettuce on the windowsill will probably survive right through the winter if kept warm and gently watered. Chew a leaf or two for fresh summer tastes.
* Have a barbecue indoors! Simply substitute an indoor grill for the outside fire.
Recreate autumn and winter tastes:
* Bake a batch of goodies usually reserved for Halloween or Christmas celebrations. Then hide them before the family finds out!
*In the UK, the sun doesn’t tend to shine all summer, so make the most of those dull days by cooking a warming stew or casserole.
Fool Your Touch
Textures aren’t always easy to define as seasonal. But there are a few tricks you can use:
Personal reminders of summer days, such as perhaps that snazzy pair of shorts you wore on the beach last year, can help. If you decide to wear them at your desk in the winter, don’t get cold, and remember not to open the front door to the postman while wearing them. In his hat, gloves, scarf and big coat, he may not be feeling too friendly when he sees you dressed for the sun, or on the other hand … 🙂 Anyway, remember the season you are supposed to be in, when you come back to real lfe!
Fluffy things tend to be reminiscent of spring – Easter chicks? Angular paperweights and desk toys tend to feel sharper and colder when touched and held. They can help recall our touching senses to winter days. Ice from the freezer works as well, although maybe a little too cold?
To get in touch with your sense of touch and experience an awesome spiritual bond with the earth, try hugging a tree! Close your eyes and wrap your arms around the biggest tree you can find. Ignore the rolling eyes from passers-by and conjure up and mood you want and find the season you are searching for.
Fool your Sense of Smell
Baking can help jog the smelling sense. From a vanilla pod placed in a slow oven to a roast turkey with all the trimmings, cooking aromas will always get your creative juices flowing. The small of children’s blackcurrant juice always takes me off into the summer days when the kids were small. Every time!
Aside from baking, flowers and herbs are aromatic and can be placed in pots or hung from the ceiling. Renew regularly to refresh the smells. Keep a few sprigs of mint in a little water and rub the leaves occasionally to release the strong minty scent.
If nothing fresh can be found, try burning aromatherapy or Bach flower essential oils in a small burner. There are so many different scents to choose from. Any season can be inspired with a few drops of condensed flower oil, from light spring flowers to heavier woody scents. Almost any ambience is available in a little bottle.
With all your senses stimulated, the extra sensory perception flooding into your creative writing will soon pay off!
P.S. Clearing your space before creating a seasonal scene may be necessary and I’ve put together a step by step De-Cluttering download you may find helpful.