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Grey overcast skies, the sound of torrential rain and a rapidly dwindling incentive to unwrap ourselves from our duvet and start writing. It
‘s a situation that we can all empathise with, as is, perhaps, sitting in front of a screen and looking out a window and thinking ‘this weather really reflects my mood ‘. On the other hand, there are the days where the sunlight is pouring through the windows and we are stirred with a sense of positivity, and the days we are rudely awoken by a heat that burns away the energy to do anything. Naturally, the question that arises out of scenarios such as these are those that wonder if the weather can really affect your mood, and if this is true, how can the weather affect your motivation to write?
Psychological research generally concludes that weather does have the ability to affect our mood, as does other non-psychological factors such as nutrition (Nash Popovic, 2005), and of course with a change of mood naturally our motivation is effected accordingly. Rain or shine it is perfectly legitimate to recognise that the weather can affect your incentive to write – whether it is a book, essay or article. So, how does it affect your motivation exactly?
Pleasant weather is found to relate to an increased mood and memory (Keller et al., 2005) meaning, that you are typically more likely to find a boost in your motivation to write, given that our mood state tends to be more optimistic. That being said, keep in mind that it is also easy to lose incentive. One thing that psychological studies do not take into account is how it feels being behind closed doors trying to put pen to paper or hands to keyboard when the weather is finally sunny! If the weather is nice, take advantage of any breaks throughout the day and spend the time outdoors, you could even consider working outside too, that way you won’t miss out on the nice weather and will still have plenty of writing done. However, there are negatives to the nice weather; high levels of humidity tend to make us feel sleepier and lower concentration (Howard and Hoffman, 1984), so when it comes to how your motivation to write will be affected, you may find that it can drop on hot days.
Needless to say given that pleasant weather increases mood due to the number of hours of light (Howard and Hoffman, 1984), overcast weather has the potential to have a negative effect upon us. This is particularly in the months that are cold because as the hours of sunlight are reduced, this can affect our daily waking and sleeping patterns (Marcus Wells, 2000) leading to feelings of fatigue, melancholy and subsequently a lack of motivation to write. However it is not all doom and gloom, though the weather may affect our mood and our motivation, it also works the other way – meaning that if you start the day in a good mood and ready to write, the words will come no matter what the weather!
Popovic, Nash, 2005, Personal Synthesis. London: Personal Well-Being Centre.
Wells, Marcus, 2000, Lifestyles for the 21ST Century. Atlanta: Humanics Publishing group.
Howarth, E. & Hoffman, M.S, 1984. ‘A multidimensional approach to the relationship between mood and weather’. British Journal of Psychology, 75(1), 15-23. [Accessed 12 February 2014].
Keller, Matthew C.; Fredrickson, Barbara L.; Ybarra, Oscar; Côté, Stéphane; Johnson, Kareem; Mikels, Joe; Conway, Anne; Wager, Tor, 2005. ‘A Warm Heart and a Clear Head: The Contingent Effects of Weather on Mood and Cognition’. Psychological Science, 16(9), 724-731. [Accessed 12 February 2014].