posted on June 30, 2021 by jennifersnow

Writing Out of Season

A holiday themed novel in the middle of summer. A beachy summer read in the middle of a snowstorm. While it can be a wonderful escape for readers to be able to temporarily vacate whatever season they find themselves in by reading novels set at different times of the year, for writers on deadline, writing can be writing out of season can be a major challenge.

Given the nature of the publishing life cycle and deadlines, it’s inevitable that writers are sometimes forced to write at a different time of year than when their story is set. It’s not unusual to be writing a cozy mystery set in the fall of the year when leaves are changing color, just as spring flowers are starting to bloom in the real world. Or to be writing a Valentine’s themed sexy romance while hanging Halloween decorations in the yard.

I’m known for writing Christmas romance, but never have I written a Christmas themed book at Christmas time lol! Typically it’s forty degrees and not a snowflake to be found when I’m imaging these winter wonderland settings. And similarly, I’m usually bundled in a blanket in front of my roaring fireplace as I write my fun, flirty beach themed reads.

It can be challenging for sure! So, over the years I’ve developed a few techniques that work to help transport me to a different setting to help the writing process and I thought I’d share them in this post.

For holiday themed books in the middle of a heatwave, I find it useful to create a winter-ish environment. This includes closing the office blinds, blasting the air conditioning and putting on my favorite ugly Christmas sweater. Lighting cinnamon or evergreen scented candles and using my favorite peppermint hand lotion definitely helps to evoke those familiar holiday scents. I turn on my favorite Christmas music-either Mariah Carey or Justin Beiber (don’t judge lol) as a background soundtrack. And I even leave a Christmas tree or decorations up in my office to inspire a little holiday cheer. Hot chocolate or some left over candy-canes gives a great sugar induced high as well. I’ll even re-wrap a few small gifts I’ve bought for myself as milestone presents as I hit 20k words, 50k words, 80k words and THE END. It’s a great motivator to get those words on the page. Bringing back the essence of the Christmas season in the middle of the year definitely helps to brighten my mood and that translates into my heartwarming love stories as well.

For summer beach reads in the middle of the coldest day of the year, I again block out the sights outside, turn on the heat, find the brightest lights in the house to work under and dress in my favorite sundresses or beach wear. It may sound silly to sit at your computer in a bathing suit, but it actually works. I smear some coconut scented lotion on my arms and type away for hours! A great Latin Top 40 Hits mixtape or some Bob Marley playing in the background can really set a fun, upbeat, vacation vibe and help with the mindset required to write about characters enjoying the sun. A fresh Mojito or splash of coconut rum can also help by bringing back memories from vacations to tropical destinations.

Both books in my upcoming Blue Moon Bay series, A Lot Like Love and A Lot Like Christmas were written in competing seasons, but using the ideas I’d learned over my years of writing this way made these two books a lot less difficult to write in an authentic way. I hope readers can be transported to the settings in these stories the way I was in writing them.

Therefore, writing out of season doesn’t have to be so hard. In fact, it can be a fun temporary escape from the current climate your living in. I hope the techniques above will be useful to overcoming this challenge and if you have any other ideas that help to fuel ‘out of season creativity’, I’d love to hear your suggestions! Simply comment below for a chance to win 1 of 5 Amazon Giftcards!

Good Luck and Happy Writing!



Jennifer Snow

Jennifer Snow

Jennifer Snow is a USA Today Bestselling Author writing contemporary romance fiction for Grand Central Publishing and Harlequin. Her stories range in heat level from sweet to sexy and are set everywhere from big cities to small towns. Her books are light and humorous, but also full of heart, featuring families and communities readers love to visit over and over again. Originally from Newfoundland, Canada, she now resides in Alberta with her husband and son and three mischievous cats. She is a member of The Writers Union of Canada and the Alberta Writers Guild. She currently publishes psychological thrillers under her pen name J.M. Winchester and writes screenplays and TV shows in her 'spare' time.

8 thoughts on “Writing Out of Season”

  1. I always wondered how authors did it – meaning write their seasonal and holiday-themed book out of season. That is a neat trick! It fools the mind temporary that it’s that season!

    Perhaps an idea – on youtube (or find a video some how) look up Christmas log burning or beach waves – play that ALONG with the Christmas and Vacation music. It may add to the atmosphere.

  2. Tracy Cruey says:

    A themed party. Sometimes we will do a Christmas is July party and have people dress in their holiday garb. In the winter, I will do a small ‘spring fling’ where I have the kids plant flowers in containers…I always buy extra seeds…and we will make flowers out of art supplies as well as any spring themed art while serving lemonade and cookies. We picnic on the floor.

  3. bn100 says:

    fun ideas

  4. Vicki says:

    My first thought was playing the appropriate music like you do, but I have to admit I am one of those people that hate Christmas music at any other time of the year so that might distract me a bit instead of setting the mood. I like the idea of having a Christmas in July party or gift exchange with friends or family to help get my mind along those lines. Would that all authors could afford to get away to a tropical destination in the winter to write their winter-themed books! It could be some kind of working vacation/tax write off! LOL

  5. Colleen C. says:

    I love your ideas… a cool environment would be wonderful right night, LOL… think winter holiday thoughts! 😉

  6. GB says:

    I had to smile while reading your post. In truth, though I enjoy books whether they match the season that I am in or not, it never crossed my mind that authors were likely writing their books out of the season they were living. Funny that I never made that connection. I love that you set up a holiday feel while writing and reward yourself with something relevant/appropriate. If I had to get myself into the right mood, I would likely follow your suggestions and also use posters or enlarged photos of the likely outdoor scenery (perhaps placed in the window or in front of the blinds that were pulled to block out reality).

  7. Karen Hackett says:

    I enjoy reading books of all seasons year around. I have no problem reading Christmas stories during the summer months. A little decoration goes a long way to get into the mood. A pin board with photos above your computer where you will see it every time might help.

  8. Beth says:

    I am a crafter and work on things all spring & summer that I will be selling during the Fall & Christmas season, so I know how hard it can be getting in the right mood. I’ll have to try some of the things I have read here to see if they help.

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