Winter Blahs

It’s hard to be motivated when waking up to a scene like I did last Thursday:

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That’s our car. It wasn’t plowed in. That was all snowfall.

The only thing I like about that photo is the “blue light” that I’ve never captured before. As the morning progressed, I took another photo from our front door:

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The only way out was to shovel.

We ended up with about 21 inches (53 cm) of snow in a 24-hour period. That’s snowpocalypse territory. My husband and I tag-teamed with shoveling the short walk to the driveway and the driveway itself. Luckily the HOA handles the main sidewalks. Nearly two hours later, we were tired. But we freed the car from this:

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There is a car under all this snow.

But now, we’re supposed to warm into the 40s and 50s, which should get things melting. And hopefully get me back into more writing progress.

I am so ready for Spring.

I’ll leave you with two tiny snippets from a WIP to show I really am working on the writing. The characters and I are getting back in synch. And that is a wonderful feeling. ๐Ÿ˜‰

โ€œKat?โ€ a student asked. โ€œWhat about our stuff at camp?โ€

โ€œWeโ€™re not risking a trip back there for โ€˜stuff.โ€™ Things can be replaced. You canโ€™t.โ€

And a slightly less tiny bit:

Every fiber of her Midwestern upbringing screamed in protest. Every training session drove her forward.

โ€œKat, for Godโ€™s sake,โ€ someone said as they reached the scene.

She closed her thoughts to everything except the road beyond.

_______________________________________

Short and simple as I still try to focus on writing, but this weather isn’t making it easy. Are you on your way to meeting your goals?

92 thoughts on “Winter Blahs

  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen slow like that JM. Plus it’s Summer here (sorry) and I have the opposite problem – our aircon unit is rattling with exhaustion, I’m sure it’s about to conk out! Hope the snow melts soon (although I’d love to trudge through it) and good luck with your writing. Mine’s going well, just touching up the final draft then it’s time to start sending out – yikes ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Come summer, our AC will be working overtime, too. That’s a hot and muggy season around here. This is a winter with below-average temps for the most part, which is really unusual. But we hit the low 50s today, and we’re seeing some good melting. Of course, everything is all wet and slushy now, and the car is coated with road salt. At least the sun is shining today. ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s great news about your writing! I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything goes well with the queries!

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  2. This winter can’t end soon enough for me either, and it feels like that’s all anyone can talk about this year. It seems like it’s been mid-February forever! An average season of snowfall here in Chicago is 30 inches, and we are approaching 70, with a good month of snowfall potential still ahead of us (by late March we generally consider the worst of it behind us). Everyone is ready to kill each other thanks to cabin fever. Luckily my writing, a solitary, indoor activity is keeping me sane. I’m glad to hear you’re getting back in synch.

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    • I’ve been seeing lots of grumbling from my suburban family and friends in my Facebook feed. I can’t believe how bad it’s been for you this year. It reminds me of the winter of 78-79, and the Tribune would run a graphic of the climbing snow fall totals against a photo of Artis Gilmore of the Bulls. Even he was looking buried that winter!

      I’m glad to hear you’re writing, too. It’s a good way to escape the reality of winter for another settingโ€”unless, of course, you’re writing about winter in the Midwest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. We’re expecting warmer weather by the end of the week, too, but apparently Mother Nature wanted to give us another snow blast before we get there. School’s closed again today. At least we didn’t get 21 inches though. Yikes. I, too, am so ready for spring. Don’t think I’ve ever quite been this antsy for it!

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  4. LIking those snipits :). Happy melting…ours is quickly disappearing here. Yay! Heading to Oklahoma on Friday before the cold and snow possibilities return next week.

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    • Really glad to hear the tidbits are resonating with readers! That really helps keep me going. ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re definitely going to enjoy these warmer days while we can. Let’s hope they’re really wrong about more cold and snow next week. Have a great time in Oklahoma!

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  5. As I’ve mentioned before, I love the snow and so I feel nothing but jealousy for your snowfall there! (I appreciate that it causes problems for many, and that when it goes on for too long, the novelty wears off, but I look at it and just feel excited at the thought!). I don’t know if it makes it on to the news over there, but we’ve had pretty much unprecedented levels of rain and flooding here, and that’s so depressing, although there is actually a bit of blue sky outside my window today!

    Nice little tasters of your writing there!

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    • I think It’s been a tough winter across the northern hemisphere. Our news occasionally mentions the big storms you’re having, but I know far more about them from you and other English blog buddies! Our Midwest will likely see some bad flooding, too, as all of the snow they’ve gotten melts. I was raised near Chicago, and they’ve had more than 5 feet of snow so far. That’s more than twice the normal for an entire winter.

      We had blue skies today, too, which was such a relief. I can’t believe how cloudy it’s been these last few months. Let’s hope that things start to improve soon!

      This particular rebuild needed a big boost of action, and these snippets are part of that. I think readers will get into this version moreโ€”at least that’s what I’m hoping. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. I find that blue light of winter so depressing! I tend to want to just sit around but once I brave the cold for a walk I feel much better–it’s just taking that first step into the frigid garage.

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    • I don’t think the blue light is very common around here, so it’s more of an oddity when we see it. Dull gray skies are more common, and those can really do me in. I bought a light box this fall, and I’m really glad I did. It really seems to help my mood and keep me from going into “hibernation mode.” Now that more sidewalks are cleared, we can actually take some walks again. Like you, they get me feeling better. And that’s always a good thing!

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  7. Good grief, J! Ugh, I know you are tired of this!! That’s a lot of snow and it just keeps coming. Thank goodness, there is some warmth headed your way. I was on a roll as far as writing, then fell off for a while. But we just have to get back on and keep going. Sounds as if you are! Stay warm and I’m so glad you guys up there will feel a thaw soon!

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    • I was so happy to see lows 50s and the sun today! If the weather holds through the weekend, I think we’ll try to sneak in a day in DC to celebrate. ๐Ÿ™‚ Writing really seems to be a roller coaster, doesn’t it? Some people manage to keep a steady pace, but a lot of bloggers seem to share those highs and lows you describe. I know I do. I try to take advantage of the rolls because I know how long the doldrums can last.

      Here’s to a mild end to the winter and a long, glorious spring!

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    • The only good thing about it was that it was powder and not the heavy wet stuff they forecast. I think our temps were colder than predicted, so maybe that helped. It’s melting now, so of course it’s gotten icy, dirty, and slushy. But low 50s and sun felt like heaven today! Writing about Kat’s fieldwork in Guatemala did bring back memories of summers in Central America, so that helped take the chill out of the air. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • We had a beautiful sunny day today with temps in the 50s, so the snow is in serious meltdown. Slushy, wet going in a lot of places, but I’ll take it! You’ve had a rough winter, too, from what I’ve heard, so I’m glad to hear it’s getting better. Winter really seems to be overstaying it’s welcome this year!

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  8. That’s crazy! We’ve had a lot of snowstorms but never that much all at once (though by the looks of things outside my office window, we might end up with a ton again today)! I love writing during snowstorms. Sometimes it’s the only chance I get to spend any time on the writing. So keep writing through it all! Because you know when spring and summer finally get here we’re going to want to be outside and not sitting at our computers.

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    • I saw Rex was hitting New England hard. How much did you end up with? Writing about Kat Donnelly’s archaeological fieldwork and adventures in Guatemala helped take my mind off the snow. I spent a lot of time thinking about hot, humid days with true tropical afternoon downpours. ๐Ÿ™‚

      We had a really nice summer last year that wasn’t too hot or muggy. I’d really like another one like that, please! Otherwise, I might need to write about wintry weather to cool down…. I forwarded a video to Carrie with some really cute goatsโ€”I thought of you two when I saw it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hopefully she’s had the chance to forward it to you!

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      • Just saw the goat video and it really made me laugh – thank you! I’m loving goats even more now to the point of obsession. ๐Ÿ™‚ Reading or writing about the opposite weather always helps me too. Even though it looked like a blizzard out there for most of the afternoon, we just ended up with a few more inches. We’re getting so used to it now that even 6 or 7 inches doesn’t seem like much. There’s not much of a point to all this snow if we’re not going to get snow days out of it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. It seems like it’s been a vicious winter all over the U.S. Here in the Seattle area, it’s been one storm after another–both (mostly) heavy rain and also snow. Heavy rain is not the usual at all here despite the reputation for it. Usually, it’s drizzle or gray skies and relatively warm temps. Not this year. I am ready for Spring too. Today is especially drab and ugly with low-hanging, dingy gray wool sock-like clouds. Brrr…

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    • I honestly don’t think I could take the grayness of the Northwest winters. Even if the temperatures are milder, that darkness you described so perfectly would weigh too heavily on meโ€”even with a light-therapy box. These wintry days have been good for writing about an archaeologist and her work in Guatemala, thoughโ€”even if she’s a bit too busy to stop and smell the flowers….

      Here’s hoping we’re in the last throes of winter and that spring will arrive early and be long and beautiful!

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  10. Wow, I don’t think we’ve ever had that much snow – part of me is envious, but I know you’re ready for spring. We had our first snow of the year the other day, but it was just a light dusting on the roofs and in the morning it was gone. The spring bulbs have started to flower – snowdrops and crocuses, so it does feel as though spring is on the way here. Those are very intriguing teasers from the WIP JM, you’re really tempting us!

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    • I can handle those light dustings and even a few inches now and again. But these huge storms are a bit overwhelming! I am so jealous that your bulbs are blooming. In mild winters, ours would be, too, and they are such a cheery sight after the dark days of deep winter. Despite the snow, the days are noticeably longer, and there is also more birdsong in the morning. And the hawks are paired up and getting ready to nest. So there’s a hint of spring in the air here as well. And I plan to enjoy it in case the forecasts are right for more cold and snow next week.

      I’m glad to hear these tidbits are whetting your curiosity. I’m starting to think maybe I really am on the right track with this rebuild!

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  11. Great pics, but poor you! Weather on the west coast up here in Canada isn’t great either, but it comes down in liquid form. Gray and only little light, but we reach for umbrellas, not shovels. For me, this kind of weather actually helps my writing, because there is nothing else I want to do. Too early for garden work, too wet for walking, and driving is a miserable experience too. So here’s to your WIP, use the time before the snow melts and the sun beckons you away from your computer.

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    • I think the gray, damp weather of the Pacific Northwest and your part of Canada would do me in, even with my light-therapy box, which I really love. The writing has focused on a particular character and her story in this rebuild, and she’s dealing with archaeological fieldwork and an unexpected turn of events in Guatemala. Writing about a tropical setting does help take my mind off gray skies and huge amounts of snow! Of course, it also feels good simply to be writing again and not staring at a brick wall and a well empty of ideas.

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  12. Now that’s snow. Amazed the texture looks fluffy..and it’s only pretty because I’m not living in that endless snow snow snow….(that story “The Shining”…)
    Enjoyed the tidbits – somehow you can really make the reader feel what the character feels.
    Hope sun breaks out soon

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    • Sunny day today! And 53 for a high. Lots of melting, which is fantastic. Of course, we could get rain tomorrow, but I’ll take that over snow any time. We were colder than the forecast called for that evening and day, so I think that’s why we got powder instead of really wet, heavy snow that takes down trees and power lines. It did make the shoveling easier, although it was still a good workout.

      Thanks so much for the encouraging words. If I’m succeeding at “showing” the characters’ feelings, then I’m definitely improving as a writer!

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    • I don’t mind light snow, but this was ridiculous! I shouldn’t complain too much because a few years ago we had a snow like this, and then two more later in the season that were each over 30 inchesโ€”and only a week apart. Yikes! Not again, please!

      Thanks for the positive feedback on the tidbits! I’m really hoping I’m on the right track with these rebuilds. I really like the interactions between the characters, some of whom had only tiny parts in the original version and are now good supporting characters for my main. It feels good to be getting in synch again with them. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  13. Glad you’re making progress and keeping focus on writing, JM! That’s awesome! Snow is rare for us, so I love it. One of my goals this year was to read 56 books during the goodreads reading challenge. With extended snow days, I’m now reading book #31! I feel for you though on snow covered cars. Ours were covered too. The fun news? A simple push broom does wonders for cleaning snow quickly off of car roofs. LOL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now that the driveway is clear and we’re starting to warm up, I’m looking forward to getting back to writing.

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    • Ha! A push broom is exactly what we used for the car’s roof. ๐Ÿ˜€ And it did, indeed, work great. Luckily, we got powder even though the forecast was for heavy, wet stuff.

      Wow, good for you for that progress on the goodreads challenge! I’m thinking it’s a safe bet I won’t get that much reading done this year. :/ That’ll be okay as long as I make decent progress on the writing. Then maybe these WiPs will finally be ready for primetime.

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  14. They’re saying rain over the next few days. First it’ll make impossible lakes of slush at the street crossings (ugh!), then, hopefully, our streets will be clean for about 5 minutes! Love the blue light! xoxoM

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  15. We’re supposed to get that rain, too. I just can’t believe that so few sidewalks have been cleared along the main roads around here. People are forced to walk in busy streets, which is incredibly dangerous even in good conditions. It’s absolutely horrible! Please let the big snows be done with for the year!

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  16. It took me a while to figure that first photo out – what on earth?, I thought. Then I saw the car! It’s been a winter to remember, I think, JM, and that in itself should make it bearable – at least in hindsight? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Someone is probably already making T-shirts that say, “I survived the winter of 2014.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ My family and friends back in the Midwest probably feel that wayโ€”they’ve had it far, far worse with more snow and dangerously cold temperatures. Although, I don’t think they had a single snowfall that dropped as much snow as this!

      I couldn’t quite believe it when I looked out the window and saw so little of the car. The one bright spot was that the snow was powder and not heavy and wet. That would have taken twice as long to shovel at least!

      I don’t know if you folks in the southern hemisphere are ready to dive into fall, but most of us up here are really ready for spring!

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      • I’m sure your Midwest friends and family would scoff at your complaints, JM, but as a country I think this winter has challenged you all, in one way or another.

        Here, huge portions of the country are in the grip of long-term drought and though they’ve died down at last, there’ve been terrible bush fires, mostly sparked by prolonged and record breaking periods of +40 (that’s 104, your scale) heatwaves. Where I am now, it’s like Colombo and I must admit I’m looking forward to experiencing cold again – I missed out when I eventually arrived โ€ฆ Spring had beaten me and the days were almost summer-like!

        Glad you’re writing well again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Ugh, it sounds like a rough time of year everywhere, no matter the season. Parts of our west are in drought, too, and they could be looking at bad wildfires soon. Let’s hope everyone can get a good shot of whatever weather they need most!

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  17. This has definitely been a rough winter! Feels like Groundhog day (the movie) except for me I’m reliving shovelling the driveway. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve been out there! And we got a few more inches today. I am SO looking forward to warmer temps this week and even rain … anything but snow!

    If I complain once this summer that it’s too hot you and anyone who reads this has permission to knock me on the head!

    The tidbits were great – so glad you are #writing!! The second one especially made me want to turn the page. Nice ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks, Arlene! Feedback on these snippets can really help get me writing again. ๐Ÿ™‚ And writing about action that takes place in Guatemala helps get my mind off cold and snow. Amazingly, we’re in the 50s again today, and we’ve had some late morning and afternoon sun after earlier showers and even a brief thunderstorm! The snow melt is streaming through the gutters, and we can see more patches of grass again. I hope this warming spends some time up your way, too!

      Spring is coming. Not soon enough, but it will be here. Until then, maybe we can all write stories based in warm places or a summer season!

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      • I actually wrote a story that took place in a heat wave and have been thinking about it a lot. Don’t think it’s ready for sharing yet, but not a bad idea for everyone to write about summer in the dead of winter ๐Ÿ™‚ It was nicer today and tomorrow we should have mid 40s to 50s. Yeah!!!

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  18. I feel like a shoveling fiend. It offsets all the sitting I have been doing lately, however. I am meeting my goals, but I’m drained. I think I bit off a bit more than I could chew in hopes of getting this project done so I can turn to another one. I would like a break, but I don’t really see one in the near future. I put off too much in order to finish this current draft, so I am waaayy behind everywhere else. There is no easy answer, is there?

    Love your snippets. Those look like new?

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    • Oh, you are so rightโ€”when we focus on the writing, something else has to give. And when we focus on other things, the writing suffers. There’s no escaping that when we have family, work, and social lives. And noโ€”there are no easy answers. Sigh.

      We’re having a mix of rain and sun today with temps in the 50s, which I will gladly take. Saturday is supposed to be sunny and 60, so I’m thinking a day in DC is in order. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fingers crossed that forecast comes true!

      Those are indeed new snippets. Kat’s “on her own,” so to speak, in this new version. There’s far less time to be in her head and more action is needed to reach her goal, which has many more obstacles before it. I hope it will be more appealing to readers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  19. I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read with bloggers in the winter doldrums. It’s that time of year when people just can’t take it anymore, especially after this brutal winter. That’s why January, February & March are the only reasons I like living in Florida. Hang in there. It sounds like things are beginning to warm up for you.

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    • We’ve got a mix of sun and rain today, which sure beats snow in my book. And we could hit 60 this weekend before another bout of colder are and that “S” word come back. You bet I’ll enjoy this milder stretch while it lasts. Really, we should be turning the corner in early March. Even if we get another storm then, it’s likely to be gone within a few days. But getting through these last 9 days of February could feel like the last legs of a marathon!

      I’m thinking hubs and I should take a vacation someplace sunny next February!

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  20. I’m afraid we won’t be getting anywhere near California warm. I’m not sure about New York, but around DC we could get thunderstorms on Friday and temperatures in around 60 for the weekend. New York probably won’t be quite that warm. But it should be a heck of a lot better than it’s been!

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    • It’s melting away now and definitely is past its prime when it comes to looks! Luckily, we can work from home at times, so when we know the roads will be bad, we stay off them as much as possible!

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