Ep. 15: Seasons of Writing: Winter (pt.2)

Winter is coming to an end here in North Florida where the three of us live, but it is a season that can affect writers any time of the year! This second part on winter in our Seasons of Writing series we dive deep into the imbalances that can happen in this part of the cycle, including immobilization, detachment, hyper-criticism, and impulsivity. Gina talks about how immobilization has affected her ability to progress with her author career, while KimBoo recounts how impulsivity and impatience ruined one of her first published books (which has since been pulled, rewritten, and republished!). Melody explains how the element of water is associated with winter and how that relationship of elements can help you balance your own writing life!


Melody’s blog posts about Winter at her website

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Ep.15: Seasons of Writing: Winter (pt. 2) – TRANSCRIPT

Dave Hogan, Gina’s Pop
Welcome to Around the Writer’s Table, a podcast focusing on the crossroads of creativity, craft, and conscious living for writers of all ages and backgrounds. Your hosts are Gina, Melody, and KimBoo, three close friends and women of a certain age, who bring to the table their eclectic backgrounds and unique perspectives on the trials, tribulations, and the joys of writing. So pull up a chair and get comfortable here around the writer’s table.

KimBoo York
Welcome back, listeners. Thank you for joining us around the writer’s table. I’m KimBoo, and I’m back with my co-hosts, Melody, A Scout and Gina Hogan Edwards. And we’re going to be talking about the season of Winter for writers. Now this is part two. Our last episode, Episode 14, was actually part one. We talked about fear, intuition, how to recognize a balanced season for writing. Again, this is all based on Melody’s book. And so there’s a lot more to it than that. I recommend you go back and listen to that episode. But for now, we’re going to continue on with this topic. We’re going to do a few introductions and then get right to it. 

I am, of course, KimBoo York. I am a romance novelist and former project manager. I now work as a productivity coach helping both authors and women solopreneurs find time, mojo, and motivation to create whatever it is they’re going to create. So that’s the expertise I bring with us.

With me today is Melody, A Scout. I’ve been talking about that and good morning, Melody. How you doing?

Melody, A Scout
I’m doing great. Thanks, KimBoo. Hi, I’m Melody, A Scout, and I help my clients find their sense of home by restoring balance and harmony to their lives through plant spirit medicine and my book Soul of the Seasons.

Thanks so much. And, of course, as always we have Gina back with us again. We had some connectivity troubles earlier. But look, I could actually see your face and hear your voice, Gina. Good morning.

Gina Hogan Edwards
Good morning. Here I am. Here I am. Hi, listeners. It’s great to be here today. I’m Gina and I am passionate about creating emotionally and psychologically safe spaces for women to reclaim their voices. Writing retreats, women’s circles, things like that so that we can learn to stand in our truth.

One thing I don’t think we mention enough on this podcast is all three of us have our businesses doing these things. You can find us on the AroundTheWritersTable.com website. There are links to all of our sites. So if you’ve been curious about what any one of us does, you can go there and check us out.

In addition to writing.

In addition to writing, right! Oh, everything we do, also writing, which is kind of getting into our theme today of, as we talked about on our last podcast, Melody, we were talking about how the season of Winter is a season of rest and how in our over-productive lives, the productivity – always be doing doing doing – rest can be really important. So I guess this is a really good time for you to give us a little bit of overview, maybe recap what we talked about last time, and move on into what we’re going to talk about this episode, which is some of the imbalances and what to look for, right?

Yeah, we talked in last episode about Winter being a season of creation, conservation, and contemplation. It’s where we go to rest, to sleep. There is a season of death. And a lot goes on beneath the surface. It’s also about the mystery and the unknown, the creative unconscious. We also talked about why this season is so essential to the writing process, because it allows our minds and our stories to regenerate, rejuvenate. Yes, so we reviewed about the season where our seeds of new story ideas or new ways to tell our old stories, they begin to sprout. It’s a season where we can sleep on it, and where we let the old die way to give room for the new.

And I think one of the things we touched on last episode about balanced, right? So what does a balance season look like for that? But this time, we’re going a little bit deeper. We’re going at what is the imbalances look like? And how do we recognize those imbalances, and going from there and getting into the continuum of terror, who… regular listeners here heard us joking about that last time. So we’ll get into that a little bit much. But, Gina, I think you’ve got a list of imbalances. Is that where we’re going to start?

Sure, I think first though, I’m going to just touch on a couple of the balanced so that if, for some reason, a listener missed the last episode, you’ll have a little bit of context here. But I do encourage you to go back and listen to our previous episode where we talk more about the balanced side of the season of Winter. 

But just to give you an idea of what balanced Winter looks like, that’s when we sort of go within and we conserve our resources. And we have a sort of self-sufficiency during the balanced season of Winter. Also, we’re able to offer reassurance to other people, as well as to ourselves. We have a right use of willpower, and we are at peace with the death process, which KimBoo had touched on this last episode that death does not, the death process does not necessarily have to do with a human being dying. It could be the end of our writing project. It could be finishing off a book and, you know, we go through a grieving process and, and having to take a rest after all of that productivity, being able to do that in a helpful way in the balanced season of Winter. 

So what does imbalance look like? When we are imbalanced, we tend to be hyper-alert. We might sense danger at every turn. And I know, for me, this shows up as a sort of a vibration in my body, if you will. So it can result in an adrenaline exhaustion. We might be…


Yeah, yeah, we might be over-focused on ourselves, and so that could even exhibit in terms of like, hypochondria, physical symptoms that may not really be there. We also tend to be hypercritical when we’re in an imbalanced Winter phase. Sometimes…

I’m sure I have no idea what that’s like.

One of the imbalances that really speaks to me, too, is immobilization. And sometimes that is, that for me comes out of a fear, just being sort of in a frozen state, if you will, and not being able to act on anything. On the opposite end of that, an imbalance could also be an absolute fearlessness, where you are sort of an adventure-seeking junkie and you take all kinds of crazy, imbalanced, out-of-proportion risks. Also being pessimistic or maybe absent-minded or fuzzy thinking. So all of those are just some highlights of the imbalances. I know that we will have some handouts for you on our website AroundTheWritersTable.com where you can go and download the summary of this season along with a more extensive list of the balances and the imbalances of this season.

I’d like to jump in and, Melody, I’m gonna put you on the hot seat because it’s really interesting to me, Gina, that one of the recognition that you have of fear is inactivity, of being frozen, the deer in the headlight type of scenario, while the healthy version I guess of that is rest, right? So if you’re in that, how do I, how do I know I’m resting and not just not moving?

Not going unconscious.

Staring at the wall in terror and fear. The continuum of fear. We finally made it. But yeah, that’s a really interesting question for me because I’m not sure I really know when I’m… What the differences are, to be honest.

So a balanced rest is one that is rejuvenating, giving us downtime. We don’t become detached from ourselves or our loved ones or our work. We don’t isolate.

I think that detachment, that’s a key word for me because I do ,in retrospect, when I have had times where I’ve been immobilized, unable to act, oftentimes I do have this sort of, you know, the fuzzy thinking and the detachment from everything that’s going on around me. It’s sort of this almost a lonesomeness in a way that feels very uncomfortable. A feeling of being alone.

Forced isolation. Yeah.

Yeah, right. Because, in that, is that isolating factor. And again, there is the continuum. Sometimes we do need to detach from others. And it may be the very thing we need to do is do some self-imposed isolation. Often that comes when we’ve let the pendulum swing too far, and we have gone so far past what is balanced for us that we react by pulling way back, I do that. I get overloaded, too much, my brain can’t hold it all. And so I detach. I binge on Netflix. I, you know, whatever. You know, something to take my brain offline. And when I pay more attention to my body, I learn the signs earlier along, then I take that time, the downtime earlier, and don’t wait till I’m stressed or, you know, completely overloaded. Does that make sense?

Yes, it does. So we’ve joked about this continuum of terror, but actually where that comes from is Melody talks in her book, about this sort of continuum of the factor of fear. So all the way from sheer terror to absolute fearlessness, and how there is a continuum between those two things. And so fearlessness is not really something that I consider to be one of the characteristics that I have engaged in. So I’m just curious from you all, on that continuum, you know, the fear and the terror, and the things from probably that midpoint all the way to terror, I’m familiar with. I get those. But from your experience, have you all experienced anything on the other end of that continuum, with the fearlessness and the risk-taking and that kind of thing?

Oh, I can speak for that one. Definitely. And this one actually comes from, well, I guess it comes from two places. So the fear, when I was first being published, this was back in 2011, a glacial epoch ago, apparently in the way that we tell time these days. But my career at that time, I was in my graduate program, and my career as a writer was just getting started in a particular niche genre. And so I was really worried about putting out another book quickly. Right? The fearlessness was just write it and put it out there. Now, my publisher at the time, was pretty supportive. They had editors that I worked with, but unfortunately, they weren’t editors I trusted completely, and yet, I put my trust in them anyway. Fearless, right? So this is the extreme. This is when it’s not a good idea. 

I had intuition and instincts telling me that I was right. But I asked them, I’m like, “Is this, is the ending rushed? Does this feel rushed to you? Does it feel like the story ended too soon? Does it need better resolution to the conflict?” 

And they said, “No, no, it’s fine.” Because they wanted to rush it into publication too. And that’s what happened. And I rightfully, so rightfully – I mean, if anybody, anybody listening, this is one of those people who left a review for that first edition of that book absolutely reamed me, for the rushed ending because it was rushed. 

And my fearlessness felt like “I’ve got this. I’m a professional writer. I’m just going to, you know, bully my way through, get this book published,” was a total mistake. That was me flying too close to the sun, and hoping that the wings wouldn’t melt. And I just ended up getting dashed on the rocks. 

Anyway, the happy part of that story was, knowing that that’s what happened, I pulled the rights back from the publisher. I rewrote it. It’s now twice as long, three times as long. It went from novella length to full-size novel, about 120,000 words, and it’s a much better book. People like it a lot better now that I’ve done the second edition. But yeah, I was just me flying too high and too fast, and the book suffered, my career suffered. It was bad, bad, not trusting my instincts. Not following my intuition, such a bad idea, y’all. Don’t do that.

So definitely on the fearless end of the continuum, and certainly on the list of imbalances in the Winter season, because impulsive actions is one of the signs of an imbalanced season.

I was super imbalanced, y’all. I was falling down on my tuchus. 

You know, you bring up a really great point, KimBoo, in that those little nudges we get or even some outright pauses, hard pauses are there for a reason. It may not be the first reason that springs to mind but they’re there for a reason. And they’re important to take, pay attention to. You know, we applaud fearlessness in our culture. However, if you talk to any experienced, good person, a sports person that does extreme sports, that’s what I’m trying to get out. They will tell you that they are not fearless. That at each step of the way, they assess where they’re at, where they’re going. Is it possible? What are my limitations right now? What are my boundaries right now, at each step of the way? You said, I would never want to be fearless. You’re in danger, if you act, you know, if you act out of fearlessness, and fear can keep us, not hyper-alert, but alert to possible dangers. And then we can take action or seek out somebody who has been there before us and get advisement. 

And also, you know, talking about our continuum terror, if we get overwhelmed by our fears, and we need somebody to talk us off the ledge, as often happens from my experience, it’s always great, reassurance is a great way to calm fears, both in yourself, and from the people that you trust and love. You call that person you know that’s going to calm you down. It’s like, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to get through this. You’ll find a way out. And that really helps to keep our fears in check.

So fear, as we talked about in the last episode, each one of the seasons that are fully described in Melody’s book, each one of the seasons is associated with a core emotion. So for Winter, it is fear, and is also associated with an element. So, Melody, can you touch a little bit on the element of water? And I would specifically, you know, we talked about this a little bit in the last episode, but can you sort of tell us how the element of water relates to or somehow feeds into the writing practice?

Sure. So the element of water is about cooling, calming, conserving, it helps — we talked about this in a previous episode; go back to episode 6 on the the season of Summer — how water helps balance out the fire of Summer, which is our high productivity, things are moving fast things are going. Water helps keep fire in check. And water helps us in that risk assessment department. Risk assessment; that’s it, department. And by getting us to slow down, take a moment, cool off a bit. And in the creativity cycle, the balance between fire and water is really essential. We don’t want to tear out ahead, you know, taking unnecessary risks. But we also need to watch our water balance. So too much water puts a fire out, right? And how many of us . . . I will say, I own up to this, is when I get some exciting idea or perhaps a daring new idea, a way of doing things, a new storyline . . . and I throw water on it because it’s a little scary. It’s going to involve a risk. And I throw too much water and I put the fire out. Like that won’t, it won’t work out. I don’t know if anybody here . . .

Oh, yeah. Let me show you. Let me show you the stories graveyard I’ve got. It’s, It’s deep.

You know, I’m, I’m actually ah, I think I’m going through this a little bit right now. Because KimBoo mentioned earlier that she’s going to be serializing a novel on this new platform, and she and I have had a conversation about this new platform that’s coming out and what the possibilities are and, you know, I don’t write in the same genre that she does and the genre that I write in, which is primarily historical fiction, the world of serialization that is out there right now, there are not very many historical fiction writers who are utilizing it. And that frightens me because we’ll, we’ll get into this a lot more in a future episode, I’m sure. But this way of doing things, this way of authors approaching their writing, and you know, doing serialization, for historical fiction, not seeing evidence out there that it works in the genre that I write in is scary to me. And so even though the concept of this new platform and being able to do this new thing was very exciting to me, in the beginning, I realized that in the last day or two that I’ve thrown water on the idea because of my fears.

What’s scary about it for you, Gina?

That there’s no evidence out there that it’s working for others. That… what if I did do it, and it flopped? What if I did do it, and it worked? And then all of a sudden, I have these unknowns because no one else has done this before. There’s a lot. I mean, there’s a lot of things that are wrapped up into that fear.

I mean, that’s valid. I had similar fears when Kindle, Kindle first hit the scene, which 2009 and right before my professional writing career in genre fiction started and, you know, there were a lot of people who were like, “Well, no, that’s just for, you know, erotica,” or something, you know. “Digital books won’t last long, digital books won’t, won’t matter at all.” And I put water I, you know, threw water on the whole thing of pursuing that particular venue. And of course, now here we are, 2023, digital books are, you know, books. Like, that’s the publishing industry. It’s a part of the publishing. Yeah, it’s very mainstream. It’s like everybody does it. Digital books and audiobooks, which hit closer to 2011 2012 when Audible came on the scene. So it’s a valid fear. And I get that, and I think that’s an important aspect of, you know, risk assessment. But also, you know, yeah, throwing water on it. How are you going to know if you don’t try? Ha, ha, ha.

Well, yeah. I’m familiar with this form of thinking. Of throwing heavy water on ideas, creative ideas that pop all the time in my head. And what I recognize what was underneath of those was a core belief, I wouldn’t be able to manage. A) I might be humiliated in some way by putting myself out there and it not working or B) it would work and I just wouldn’t manage all that that involves is to be super successful at something. So being aware of that in myself allows me to take a step back. And is, is this risk worth it for me? And what do I need to move forward? In a way that feels right and balanced? For me? 

Healthy risk assessment?

Healthy risk assessment? Yeah, risk assessment department stepping in? Yeah.

Yeah. And sometimes the answer is, “That’s a great idea, just not now.”

So we’ve talked a lot, I think we got, we got really wrapped up in that continuum of terror because it speaks to us so loudly sometimes. And we’ve talked a little bit about this concept of fire and water. And I want to take us back to the topic that started out our conversation in the last episode, which is this idea of rest. 

So, you know, rest being so important in terms of it looking on the outside like nothing is happening, but that things are definitely going on in our subconscious. And, you know, sometimes, even though we may not notice it, our subconscious is making connections between things that on the outside may not look like they have connections and that’s where our imagination comes in. And so there’s a lot going on when we allow ourselves to rest, but how in our society, in our culture, that sometimes resting looks like ‘lazy.’

Yeah, you were. I hate that. But you’re right.

Yeah, so sleep is for sissies, right?

Right. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Right. I think there’s a fear sometimes that we’re going to miss out on something if we take a break.

FOMO is real. FOMO is real. Yeah,

Yeah, something’s gonna happen and we’ll miss our opportunity, or we’ll miss out on some fun or something.

Yeah, I think that the idea of FOMO is definitely a big one for me and that keeps me churning a lot of times. And then also just, of course, our enculturalization to always be productive. And I’m just, I’m painfully aware of what that can look like from the outside, when I do give myself that permission. Like right now I am craving the opportunity to just go off and be by myself for a few days. You know, I’m feeling the churn. I’m feeling the need to give myself some rest. And yet, what is holding me back? The idea that the perception is going to be that I’m a slacker.

Who is this ‘they’ that’s gonna think you’re a slacker? 

Oh, it’s all the ‘theys’ in my head.

Right? It’s all of them. We’re all pointing their own heads. 

The committee.

I was gonna kind of bring up a little bit, too, I think for me, that really resonates, especially with the ‘they’ in our heads, where I was raised in a household with severe mental illness. My mother suffered from bipolar disorder, among many other conditions that she had, and it really affected her life. And I remember, growing up, she was very creative. If I’m a writer today, it’s because of her. I mean, she loved the written word. She really should have been a literature professor at an Ivy League school. She’s brilliant. But her mental health, her mental health issues prevented that from happening. And I just remember being a kid and watching her go through all of that, and the depression cycles, and then the manic cycles, and then all her health issues that accompanied it, and people basically going — even my own father — just like, “Well, why don’t you just get up out of bed and do something? Why don’t you just…” You know, the whole idea of any form of rest being a personal moral failure really embedded itself deep into my psyche, and I hate it. I hate it. Because it’s not true. I saw firsthand as a kid, how not true that was, how she would have given anything, anything to be able to get out of bed and do something. And it’s such a charged issue in our society. I know I’m derailing us off of writing a little bit here. But I think it does affect me when I think of, oh, I didn’t write 1,000 words today. Well, I’m a failure. And that’s just that’s so untrue. But the voices in your head, man, they are strict disciplinarians, and I hate them.

Well, and I think that when we do bring this back to writing and creativity, the thing that we have to remind ourselves is what Melody says in her book is that without rest, there’s no rebirth. There’s no renewal. You know, if we as writers do not give ourselves permission to have these downtimes if you want to call them that, then our creativity can go fallow.

Absolutely, so true.

So we have, ladies, do you realize that with this episode, we have now covered all five seasons that Melody talks about in her book?

Woohoo. So, a year, a year we’ve been at this, ladies.

We have. So for our next episode, we’re going to do a recap of Spring as we have looped back around and then that will take us into discussion of something that we started back in episode 12, about the three C’s: critiquing, compassion, and craft, and we’ll be talking about editing in Episode 17. So 16, we’ll do a recap of Spring, and then 17, we’ll dive into editing. And so I think that closes us out for today, ladies.

Always great to talk with you guys. Always wonderful. I love, I love our around the writer’s table chats. They’re great.

Me, too. And well, we’re gonna have links on the website. There’s a whole list of blogs I have written on the season of Winter and rest and creativity. So we’re gonna put that link on there. We’re gonna put some exercises and some of this material that we’ve gone over in the last two episodes.

So be sure and go to AroundTheWritersTable.com. Leave us a comment. Leave us a review. If you’re listening to this on one of your podcasting platforms, give us a thumbs up or a heart or whatever you’re, you’re drawn to share with us, and we will see you on our next episode. Have a great day.

Bye, y’all.


Thanks for joining us around the writer’s table. Please feel free to suggest a topic or a guest by emailing info@aroundthewriterstable.com. Music provided with gracious permission by Langtry. A link to their music is on our homepage at AroundTheWritersTable.com. Everyone here around the writer’s table wishes you joy in your writing and everyday grace in your living. Take care, until next time.

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