November, perhaps because of the similarity in the first four letters of the word, is national novel writing month.  The idea, as far as I can tell, is that people will spend the month writing their brains out, and come December they’ll have a drafted novel to show for it.  Some schoolteachers use the month as inspiration for assigning extended creative writing assignments.

I fully support the idea—I just won’t be doing it.

Why? Because November is basically a recipe for writer’s block.  It’s cold, which is depressing.  It’s rainy, which is depressing.  It’s dark—more so now that we’ve “fallen back” on our clocks—which is double depressing.  The last thing I want to do after I’ve frozen my ass off walking home from work hours after sunset during freezing rain is to sit down and try to be creative.  I want to drink an entire bottle of wine and fall asleep watching some basketball.

In fact, over the past few weeks, I’ve felt a distinct lack of creative spark.  I don’t know if it’s because of the prospect of winter or not, but I know I’ve often sat down at the laptop hoping to write a page or two, and given up after five or six failed attempts.  I’m also pretty sure I’m not the only one this is happening to.  On Monday I watched Dash actively give up on writing, fully aware that he was responsible for blogging that day.  And I did nothing to motivate him.

I expect that the languor of these writing doldrums will pass after I make the mental move from fall to winter.  Right now I’m in denial and slight depression, in that transitional phase when 45 degrees feels cold but 70 feels too hot.  By Thanksgiving, after the first few frosts, I’ll have settled in to the dry air and gotten used to bringing gloves with me everywhere I go, and my capacity to create meaningful words on a page will return triumphant from hibernation.

Until then, I leave the novel writing to those better suited to it.