Cultivating Winter Magic for Writers

No matter which hemisphere you’re in, climate change is definitely disrupting the seasonal shifts. Winter may have already arrived full force where you live, or you may be watching the overcast skies in hopes of enough inclement weather to warrant a snow day (and a day off work!).

Even though it may seem like Autumn is reluctant to let go of its rule, you can still channel the spirit of the season, and use it to lure your wintery muse out from its dark refuge.

Besides, the past few years have been chaotic and stressful on their own, so instead of wearing yourself out further by going all out for the holidays, perhaps consider a more simple and quiet celebration.

Winter Solstice (Yule): December 21

Seasonal Symbolism: Simplicity, Reflection, Hibernation, Introversion, White Nights, Candles, Berries, Story-Telling, Conservation of Energy, Stillness, Snowfall, Icicles, and Guardians such as Dragons, Wolves, or Gargoyles.

Tips on Making your Creativity Altar

  • Cover your altar with cotton batting, fake glittery snow, or even use those recycled packing peanuts or shredded paper to represent a winter landscape.
  • Snow globes. These don’t even have to be winter-themed—they can be anything that represents things you love. Tropics, mermaids, unicorns, fairies, dragons—anything can receive the sparkling magic of snow with just a simple shake of the globe.
  • Music décor/symbology. This can be as simple as including the black and white hues of piano keys. Or it can get as elaborate as including miniature instruments on your altar: violins, harps, tinkling bells. Music boxes work just as well, or, if you’re musical yourself, set aside time to play your favorite pieces as a way to charge up your altar’s energy.
  • Carry the black and white theme over to the sorts of figurines and stones you place on your altar. Penguins and skunks could channel that resilient energy you may need to weather the shorter days of winter. Wood storks, black or white swans, and snow geese may lend their grace to your accomplishments this season. Use their wings to allow your spirit (and imagination!) to take flight! Add on some final touches with snowflake obsidian, black agate, quartz crystals, and moonstones.
  • If you find some greenery swags at the thrift store, they can be spray painted black and pearlescent white in alternating shades and draped around your altar and livespace.

Winterizing your Writing Space

  • Peppermint or tea tree oil can be a good rejuvenator when the afternoon darkness begins to close in. If those oils are a little too potent for you, light some candles that smell like vanilla or sugar cookies, and enjoy the cozy warmth of those scrumptious scents as you write.
  • Imagine what winter would look like on another planet, or in another dimension. Would it strike fear into your characters, or would it bring with it a sense of safety and security?
  • If you, yourself, are dreading the arrival of the colder months, how could you redefine your relationship with winter? Bundle up and go for a long walk in nature, or wait until nightfall, and watch the snow shimmer underneath the glow of the moon? If you live in an urban area, perhaps go ice skating (or even just watch), or book a room at a hotel that has themed holiday events (and room service!).
  • Create an entirely new holiday/winter season tradition for either you, or for your characters.
  • Clear out the old. If the weather has you trapped inside, start a downsizing project. Go through your clothes and box up what no longer suits you and your personal style. Tackle junk drawers, kitchen drawers, and even the garage, and do audits on what you really need, and what no longer serves a purpose in your daily life. In between snowstorms, you could dash out and donate the boxes to local charities.
  • Give yourself permission to indulge. Make some hot apple cider or a steaming cup of nog and curl up with a book of your favorite classic fairy tales. Perhaps create your own fairy tales and put them in handmade books to gift to your friends and family. Break from your routine by having atypical foods for an evening meal. For example, I don’t often eat sweet dishes, but I whipped up a big batch of tasty rice pudding for dinner. (I raided my pantry to make this dish, so it’s vegan by default.)

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