NEVER STOP LEARNING
You’ve probably heard the term “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). It’s a type of depression brought on by the change in seasons.
I don’t suffer from SAD. However, I experience the “winter blues” between December and February, when days are short and there are fewer hours of sunlight. I want to sleep more, and I crave more carbohydrates. Light deprivation interferes with the production of the “happiness hormone” serotonin, so I’m less able to handle stress, and I feel sad. I have discovered that it’s more difficult for me to be productive.
There are a couple of things I do to help me through the winter blues. I turn on more lights. My husband and I try to be frugal with our use of electricity, but I have discovered that turning on indoor lights lifts my mood, and I become more active and can think better. There are special lights you can buy that mimic sunlight. Walking, my favorite exercise, is another thing I do. I try to walk at least two miles a day, even if it’s cold or raining. (Frigid wind chill and thunderstorms keep me inside.) Some days, appointments and other activities interfere. Being outdoors lifts my mood, partly because I breath in more oxygen. I also get to greet neighbors, I see animals, and I enjoy the winter landscape.
I’ve also chosen this “down” time to read to improve my writing skills and to enjoy books written by other authors. There are many books, websites, webinars, workshops, and on-line courses available. Some are free. The people in my writing community are knowledgeable and generous. I must ask myself: how much time and money do I invest; will the investment improve my writing skills; is the course in my genre; will my time be better spent in writing my book?
I believe one of the best investments of an author’s time and money is to attend one or more writers’ conferences. Writers, editors, agents, and publishers tend to congregate at writers’ conferences, as well as writing coaches, social media experts, and promotion experts. The personal contacts you make with industry professionals often open the way for you to become a published writer. The encouragement and inspiration you receive can keep you writing, and the friendships you make with other writers often last a lifetime.
I chose the word “productive” as my word for this year. Through better organization and better use of my time, I hope to be more productive physically, mentally, and spiritually during 2020.
Wise King Solomon wrote, “there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).” His pithy proverbs are a collection of observations about life and about the results of good and bad decisions we make in our own lives. Yet there are times when we must learn by experience, even if we’ve been told time and time again. Solomon’s choices were not always wise. Even he had much to learn.
Although I like to be able to help other writers by sharing my knowledge, I discover nearly every day how much I don’t know and have to learn about writing well, about connecting with readers, and about marketing my books. Not only do I have to learn about these things, but I must put them into practice.
So long as I’m living, I hope to keep learning.
Never stop learning!