Do the seasons affect your mood? The soft light of warm autumn days certainly calms me down, so that I’m able to do some serious day-dreaming about the stories I’m writing and those I want to write. Day-dreaming? How can that help with writing stories? I was once complaining to a friend, another writer, that in the course of working on my book I was going down many ‘blind alleys’ in the plot, which I then had to discard. Her wise reply was that you had to explore the’ blind alleys’ to find the ‘magic doors’, which open on to new and previously undiscovered areas. In other words, you have to day-dream to let your mind wander over the ingredients of your story and let them find their way into the right pattern. Next month, in November, there’s a UK National Novel Writing Competition, which invites you to write a novel in a month, or 50,000 words in four weeks, at a rate of 1700 words a day for seven days a week. Could you do it? Is it possible for anyone writing at that rate to end up with something worthwhile? No, it’s not. The competition is a great idea for anyone wanting to become a writer, because it imposes the discipline of writing at length every day. which is something you need to do, most of the time. It won’t give you a novel though. That requires a good deal of planning, crafting, drafting, editing and re-drafting. Above all, writing requires day-dreaming, which autumn days are perfect for, in my book. Happy reading!