Every time I meet up with other writers, invariably, the conversation turns to: “So how’s the writing going?” I’ll tell you: for some, it’s going fantastic. Others have had to take a break while the kids are out of school, to deal with moving, and other life-stuff. And still there are others who just aren’t writing, just because it’s summer and they can’t get their head to focus where they need, so they’re waiting for autumn to hibernate and start up again.
There seems to be something to this.
Today I stumbled on a New Yorker article from 2013 called, Why Summer Makes Us Lazy. In it, the author, Maria Konnikova, writes, “[…] recent research suggests that […] summer really does tend to be a time of reduced productivity. Our brains do, figuratively, wilt.” She goes on to cite research conducted by Gerald Clore, demonstrating that in the warm, sunny months, our brains tend to “[rely] heavily on mental shortcuts at the expense of actual analysis.”
Hmm… Jump from critical thinking to creativity and you can see why some creative folks would find it harder to produce in the summer months, than in the colder, cozier ones. (Also: writing in front of a fire? Perfection! Never mind that I don’t have a fireplace; candles will do, thank you very much.)
Further, “Summer weather—especially the muggy kind—may also reduce both our attention and our energy levels. In one study, high humidity lowered concentration and increased sleepiness among participants.”
To those of us who have claimed for years that it’s too hard to think when it’s hot and muggy: we were RIGHT! Ha.
After an unusually hot summer in most areas of the country, I know more than a few people are looking forward to a (hopefully) gentle autumn, pumpkin-flavored or not. Now we have another reason to look forward to it: a return to clear thinking, and flourishing creativity.
Time to go buy some new school—I mean, writing supplies!