Saturday, October 1, 2022

Four Seasons of a Writer

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Ah, fall is here. I love fall. The cooler temperatures. The change from a monochromatic green to a Crayola-box color scheme of leaves. And the harvest festivals. I love it all.

But I must admit, if you ask me which is my favorite season, I couldn’t pick just one. I love them all. Especially in the sequence in which they come.

You need the heat of the summer to prepare yourself or the fall. And then the fall, the ever-shortening days and cooler temperatures, sort of scoots you into winter. And after the freezing weather, the brief daylight hours, and the dead-looking trees, spring pops up as a joyous treat. How can so many leaves appear on a tree overnight? Then spring matures into summer. The circle of life.

When I thought about using the four seasons as an example for writing, I had to pause. Because, for all of us writers, writing doesn’t progress from one to the other in the same order.

We each experience our own individual journeys. And we have our own destinations, our own goals. Some of us wish to be published, others want to share our work with just family and friends. Some want to share facts and teach, others want to teach by using emotions, and some of us look to entertain. Many of us would admit we fit in more than one of these camps.

As different as our writing journeys are, we still have similarities. That is why, when you go to a conference like the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, you will find instructors as varied as Lynette Eason, who keeps you up late with suspense, to Katy Kauffman’s Bible Studies. No matter what type of writing you do, all of them have several commonalities.

As varied as our writing journeys are, there are some similar seasons we all go through.

1. The Season of Discovering

Whether you’re beginning your journey or starting a new project, there’s that dreamy honeymoon stage you have before reality hits. Anything is possible. All choices are open to you. And you haven’t made a significant investment yet.

I remember having this feeling when I joined my first Word Weavers group. I had quit my job recently, and I wanted to write, but I didn’t know what that really meant. Or if it was even possible. Then I found this local band of writers who were involved in so many types of writing and fitting it into their daily lives. Without moving to New York City or smoking a pipe.

It’s that time of learning. Not just learning the craft and art of writing, but all the various technologies and genres that are available. Even if you’ve written dozens of books, articles, or blog posts, there are still the butterflies and the thrill when you start a new project.

2. The Season of Producing

The time we are actually sitting in our seat and writing. To many of us, it brings a thrill. There is nothing better than sitting at a blank screen and see what comes up.

To some of us, it fills us with the willies. To them, the joy of writing is seeing that you’ve accomplished something. It’s writing The End or printing off a page and holding it in your hand.

But to each of us, this season is a time of growing in our skills, our talents, our art. It’s a time of developing the discipline to carve out the necessary time and delete the work that just doesn’t fit. It’s a time of either getting alone or with a team to work toward a goal. And seeing it come to fruition.

3. The Season of Spreading

A lot of writers hate this season. It is the time when we show others our fruit. We change from being an artist to being a salesperson. Whether it’s on social media, in person, or in print, there comes a time when we have to show off our baby that we have worked so hard on and poured so much of ourselves into.

Whether it’s just to our family, friends, or church or we hope to see it in a bookstore or on Amazon, when we show others our work, we open ourselves to the critical eyes of the world. And sometimes it hurts. One of the inescapable parts of writing is rejection. 

On the other hand, there is also acceptance. Many writers say that the main reason they continue writing is those times when they hear from fans how their writing has touched them. How something they said let the person feel like someone understood them. Or that God may not be the enemy after all.

4. The Season of Dormancy 

There are always times when we have to step away from the pen or keyboard. Sometimes for just a short time, and other times, the dormant period may last longer. It may be for a chosen time to rest. Or it could be outside of our control, whether because of health or family or …

We all need rest at times, to recharge our batteries and to generate new ideas. One of the mysteries and joys of being a writer is how inspiration often strikes us during these times of rest. Maybe in bed, in the shower, on a hike. 

There are also times when life just overwhelms us like a wave. The doctor brings us news we didn’t expect. Or we learn that our family is about to grow, and we have to get ready. Or age gets the better of us.

Dormancy is not the same as inactivity. Our brains are always churning on new ideas, even when we aren’t aware of it. In a field, the trees may look dead in the field, but underground the plants are still growing, getting ready to burst out in the spring.

One of the certainties of life is change. And that is what these seasons show. We might prefer one season over the other, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. The changes in a writer’s life are just seasons we all go through. They are signs of growth.

Enjoy them. And discover how God uses each of them to show Himself to us and to make us more like Him.

Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers’ conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at and

Featured Image: Photo by zero take on Unsplash


  1. "Dormancy is not the same as inactivity." Thank you so much for those wise words, Tim -- it's very hard to remember that! : )

  2. Very important, Tim. It's so easy to think that each season is lacking something but each one has advantages and disadvantages. One of my dormant seasons lasted 5 years and it was so valuable. Yes, there were disadvantages but I grew spiritually which was more important than production. I think your message needs to be heard since the idol of success and fulfillment of dreams can be too easily accepted.