Spring Distractions and Motivations (Stephanie Kuehnert)

Winter is my least favorite time of year. I hate the bitter cold, the snow, and since I live in Chicago and am often subjected to a lot of it, I find myself sinking into negativity a lot more easily than usual. Winter is a dark, dark time both physically and emotionally for me.

I got really lucky this year, though. We had a fairly mild winter and spring came early. In fact it was more summer-like than spring-like for a while, which though novel at first, I didn't really appreciate because it felt like we were skipping over my second favorite season. (Fall is my favorite. It has Halloween and smells the best.) Now things are equalizing though. We have some bright and sunny days and some chilly, rainy ones. In other words, it's a genuine, perfect spring. With that comes both distractions and motivations.

Here are the distractions:

That would be part of my garden. As you can see, thanks to our unusual weather, the tulips are in and some of my perennials are coming back.... But so are the weeds and I still haven't found the time to clear out the dead stuff. I need to do that too and begin to plant this years flowers and vegetables.

And on those sunny days the temptation to ditch out on my other responsibilities (ie. writing) and get my hands dirty is huge... or to take a walk to the park or to read outside or to have lunch with a friend at a place with an outdoor patio.....

Oh spring, you bring so many distractions. Just the smell of the air alone makes me antsy! And summer is even worse (until it gets so hot that I don't want to leave my house... just like winter.)

Fortunately there are also motivations:

That is a painting (by Marta Dahlig) of the goddess Persephone reaching toward the light. This represents two things for me.

One, this is how I feel emotionally in the spring. I'm coming out of the dark winter, an often stressful and/or depressing time for me. I'm filled with hope. Both of my books sold in spring and though it has been a while now (a very long, long winter for me in that regard), I have hope that maybe just maybe this spring will be spring for my career. Regardless of whether or not, I do sell, I do feel reinvigorated in spring, by the weather, but also because as you are reading this I have just returned from my favorite place to visit in spring (or anytime really), Seattle, and I am at the RT Conference, surrounding myself with fellow writers and fiction (especially YA!) lovers. So when I sit down to write again on Monday, I am going to be ready to go as wild as my garden.

Secondly, this painting represents the book I am so inspired to work on this spring. I'm about 100 pages into it and finally reaching that point where it is coming into the light for me. I'm hoping that it will grow as productively as my garden over the next few months. The book, which I'm calling the Modern Myth YA (because it is still a Work In Progress so I'm way too superstitious to share the title) actually dabbles with the Persephone myth. That has been my favorite myth since I was a little girl, so it's been fun to play with and reinvent in my own way that involves music (of course!) and the landscape of Los Angeles and spookiness (it also toys with my favorite holiday, Halloween) and dark, dark soul-wrenching moments for my characters (as always). If you want to see other images that are inspiring this book, check out the collection I've put together on Pinterest, which maybe/hopefully I'll keep adding to if the writing, the gardening, and those gorgeous days both sunny and rainy don't distract me too much.

What distracts and/or motivates you in the springtime?


  1. I agree with you...spring is a little bit of both for me, but if I had to chose I'd say distraction. :o)

  2. Halloween is my favorite holiday too! Best of luck with your writing & springing back from Winter :)

  3. I'm really inspired by other people's gardens since nothing green grows in my neighborhood, so your pics really help!

  4. I'm another Halloween lover! I actually love the think time I get from spring activities--lawn work, spring cleaning, etc. Really helps the WIP!

  5. That's a great point, Holly! Those seemingly distracting activities are great thinking time.

    Adrianne, I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures and am sorry your neighborhood isn't very green. Thanks, Sydney and Kimberly, I'm probably with you on that!


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