Essentials for Cold Weather Writing

Thursday, December 11, 2008
"Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful...and since we have no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

When the weather gets cold, I become somewhat of a bear. All I want to do is hibernate! Admittedly, it’s not very cold where I live in California, so I shouldn’t be complaining, but it still gets down to 40 degrees at night, which is cold for me. All I want to do is snuggle under the covers in bed with some hot cocoa and watch the tube. This would be okay if I had a laptop, but I don’t, so I have to trudge downstairs to my office and try to get motivated.

To beat the cold and get more writing done, I employ a few necessary items:

1. Coffee maker with a timer.

Right when I get up I want to be able to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee to get me going. This is especially important in the winter because my kitchen is so cold! I live in a loft with wide open space and concrete you can imagine. Having the coffee ready for me saves a few extra minutes normally spent standing on kitchen tile.

I may be in need of an upgrade though. I’ve had the same coffee maker forever, and it’s starting to lose its punch. Now they have all these super fast brewing digital-techie ones that are very reasonable in price, especially if you use them as much as I do. I found this one by Cuisinart that’s received really good ratings on both Amazon and Consumer Reports.
(Cuisinart DCC-1200 12-Cup Brew Central Coffeemaker - $72.94)

2. Space heater.

Luckily my office is carpeted and fairly small, so having a little digital space heater with controlled temperature settings at my feet keeps my tootsies warm. I have a couple of these in rooms where I can use the extra heat. The ones I have are the older versions of the one I picked out on your left. They’re super quiet and come with a fan if you want the heat blown directly on you. You can set the temperature and it’ll maintain that level for you. I love that this one is energy efficient! You know how costly those electric bills can be in the winter.
(Holmes Energy-Efficient Heater Fan - $29.94)

3. Faux fur blanket.

If it works for the Eskimos...

I love my faux fur blanket! I keep it in my office to cover my legs or wrap it around my chair and shoulders.

You can find these anywhere, but here are some cute ones from Pottery Barn. These are on sale right now for $99, but you can certainly find them for less at many other places, like JC Penny or Target.

4. Knitted scarves.

There is one thing about the cold weather I truly enjoy--being able to wear uber-cute hand-knitted scarves. The bright colors add a dash of style and warmth to your drab winter ensemble. And who says I can’t look cute even if I’m just sitting behind my computer writing?

There are so many great places to find these gems, but if you’re looking for something special, check out etsy. Individual crafters hand-make the products and most of them are one-of-a-kind. The one in the picture is a delicious pumpkin cable twist scarf made by the seller bombshellstudios.

5. Hot teas.

Drinking hot tea throughout the day will help heat your inner core and add a pinch of spice to your writing. You can find great wonderful blends at Special Teas or Adagio Teas. Some interesting teas to consider for the holidays are: candy apple, candy cane, chestnut, cranberry, gingerbread, and pumpkin spice. I personally love traditional teas like earl grey, green tea, jasmine, and oolong tea.

6. Body butter for dry winter skin.

My skin tends to dry up and get itchy during the cold winter months--it’s enough to drive you nuts! So having the right lotion or body balm will help sooth your nerves while writing. One of my very favorite products is Camille Beckman’s line of glycerin lotions. The body butter and hand therapy lotions are my favorite in French vanilla. It seriously smells like fresh baked cookies. It’s so good. It contains glycerin, vitamin E, aloe vera, wheat protein, almond oil and plant extracts. To this day, I still haven’t found a lotion quite as good. It helps sooth and protects my skin against harsh elements and stops the itching so I can concentrate. Visit Camille Beckman Online.

Other necessities include:

Layers! Hoodies, fuzzy slippers, beanies, and gloves with the fingertips cut off for typing.

Exercise. Get out from behind the computer screen and move around. Get your heart pumping and your circulation will follow. If I’m working on a project for the long haul, I make sure I get up at least every hour from the computer and run upstairs, do some quick housework, or take a walk. Good for the body and mind. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to work.

Crock pot cooking. Fill your crock pot with all the yummy ingredients you have to create stews. It’s easy cooking and smells wonderful.

Candles. I love to burn candles in my office to create a soothing atmosphere. They also help warm up those cold fingertips. Pick spicy scents for the winter months and citrus-y scents to get you motivated.

I hope these tips will help you break out from hibernation and get back to writing. They are probably something you’re doing already, but it’s a good reminder, and lets you know you are not alone! Cold weather writing can be dreary and seem like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make it fun. I’d love to know what motivates you to write during the cold weather, or what products and goodies you use to keep warm.

Do you have some tips you can share? Your comments are welcome ;)


Margo Dill said...

I totally agree about the space heater. I use mine all the time. I think it helps to get up and walk around your house, too. Just warm up your body. It's even more important to do that in the winter than in the summer. That's my two cents. :)


Janice Lynne Lundy said...

I laughed out loud when I read this post. I can't believe your accuracy! I do every single one of these things to keep me toasty while writing, as well as to keep the Muse aglow. You see, I live in northern Michigan. Right now, as I sit at my desk, I can actually see waist high snow on the ground. Never do we have this much snow in December! Looks like my crock pot will be in overdrive this winter. Thanks for the inspiration!

Marcia Peterson said...

I just adjusted my knit scarf before sitting down to the computer,and it looks just like the picture in your post, LOL. I was thinking that it's so cold that I'll keep it on while I finish up my column. :)

Joanne said...

The suggestions that you give are exactly the reasons winter can be conducive to writing. There is so much comfort to be found in the blankets, scarves, fuzzy slippers, hot coffee, crock pots simmering, keeping us comfortable while we write. Thanks for reminding us!

Anonymous said...

Seems like I am pretty well stocked for the winter according to your list. Great suggestions. I cannot start the day without a cup of hot coffee and nothing would do but a maker with a it.

Seems to me that you have everything covered so no suggestions from me. Thanks for a great post.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Thanks ladies! It seems like we all have winter down pat. ;)

One thing I did forget is a nice crackling fireplace because I don't have one in my loft.

Margo ~ I agree. The best way to heat up your body is move around. I take dance breaks quite often and shake my booty. ;)

Jan ~ I can't imagine living in snow! It's so beautiful and I love to visit...but brrrrr! Thinking about it makes me cold.

Marcia ~ That's so funny! LOL. You are a fashion queen too.

Joanne ~ Whenever I think of coffee I think of you and your wonderful coffee breaks.

Ang ~ Coffee is such a must-have for me. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Thanks ladies for your comments! It's great to know we're all snuggled up and in the same writing boat together.

Cheers and happy writing!


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah! I have that one too. I love a warm fireplace. So cozy.

Cher'ley said...

We had such beautiful snow last night and today. The big, soft, fluffy snowflakes glistened and danced outside my patio door.

I went in search of Christmas Music. There's nothing that makes me feel more cozy than "Chestnuts Roasting on the Open Fire", even though I've never roasted Chestnuts. LOL.

Keep Warm and Keep Writing,


Annette said...

I'm definitely not a winter lover. All I want to do is sleep, but since I spend so much time sitting at the computer (and have poor circulation), the space heater definitely comes in handy!

I have a fireplace in my office, but my desk is next to an entire wall of windows, so the chill comes right through the glass. I just need hubby to order another truckload of wood for this winter!

My fleece pjs and Ugg boots are great for cozy writing.

Cher'ley, I've never roasted chestnuts either, but I went to NYC one Christmas, and walking down the street, all you could smell was pee and burnt toast. Turns out, the burnt toast smell was from the carts with the roasted chestnuts! LOL

Anonymous said...

Love your ideas, and wanted to add one--fingerless gloves! I can't work in the winter without them.

Great site!

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