Now that the equinox has been and gone and winter is but a distant memory - try telling that to my dogs, who were shivering in the cold air this morning - it looks like spring is finally upon us. It's been a long wait, as always, but a worthwhile one too. Early spring is one of my favourite times of year as a writer.
Does anything point the way towards spring better than snowdrops emerging from a litter of last year's dead leaves?
In terms of the seasons, winter is by far my least favourite. It's the best time of the year for celebrations, but in every other respect, winter is the dead season. It's a period when merely being outdoors is unpleasant, and time outside is spent in hurrying to the next indoor vantage point. As somebody who loves being outdoors, it's a tough few months.
Spring is another matter entirely. Colour is all around us, emerging from flower beds and hedgerows. The birds and the beasts seem genuinely happy with the warmer temperatures, judging by the constant birdsong outside my window. Better still, things are only going to get better with summer and autumn (two more seasons I love) coming up. This is a time of expectation and lifted spirits.
What does spring mean for writers? For me, it's a time of year to be thinking about new projects, planning ahead for the long and hopefully dry summer. Personally, I have copious notes for a new book I'm in the process of planning, a project that will no doubt occupy plenty of my creative time this year.
Inspirations are all around us. I get most of my inspirations by taking long walks through the countryside, and there isn't a better time to be doing so. The warmer temperatures, clear skies, and blooms and buds of nature around us can't fail to engage the senses. It's the time of year when I start carrying my camera around again as a matter of habit, never knowing what beauty I might spy next.
It's a time when you can't help but feel good to be alive...