The Doldrums


Two hundred years ago, the doldrums referred to the area near the equator where the winds calmed, and sailing ships could be stuck for days or weeks until the trade winds resumed.

Nowadays, the term refers to feeling depressed, or to anything that gets us to that bleak state of mind.  The period from now until Spring arrives certainly qualifies.  The love/lust/chocolate of Valentine’s Day is behind us, and there’s little to look forward to for the next month or so except more of this harsh, snowy winter with its cloudy, short days. Oh, yes, and cabin fever.

For a writer, the doldrums can be a period of writer’s block, but it can also be a period of reflection, or a chance to gain some distance from what has been written.  In other words, a chance to approach the revision process with fresh eyes.  Now that I finally finished the first draft of the third book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Troth, I’m taking that kind of time over the next couple of weeks. What should I do to keep myself from going back to the manuscript too quickly?  I have a few ideas:

  • Clean out those insidious junk drawers.  I have them.  You do, too.  Mine are in need of a good purge.  What about yours?ID-100131568
  • Speaking of purge – my closet could use one of those, too.
  • And my desk? Definitely.  Things tend to stack up when I’m in the throes of writing.  My husband calls it my “functional filing system,” which translates to random stacks of papers.  I know what’s in them — or at least I think I do.

But that all sounds like work.  How about:

  • Take a trip?  A change of scenery, especially to a sunnier location this time of year, would provide a new perspective.ID-10086266
  • Play tourist locally?  We’re not snowed in like some (many!) of you are, and there are lots of places to go and things to see.
  • Develop a new hobby? Painting?  Gardening? Painting the garden?

I’ll be spending the next month doing several of these things.  What about you?  What do you have planned over the next month to combat the doldrums?

Photo credits:  Tim Seed, moggara12, Just2Shutter

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2 comments on “The Doldrums

  1. Cathy Henderson says:

    We usually go to the beach in March but are waiting until boys are out of school in May so guess I’ll have to do the cleaning out of drawers, closet, and desk. I usually get in the mood to do this just before Spring arrives. Or maybe I’ll just escape in the stacks of books I need to read!

    • willablair says:

      Oh! Another great idea – making a dent in my TBR shelves (yes, you read that right – shelves, plural)! But you’re right, tackling the drawers, etc., would be more productive. Or would it? LOL!

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