I live in Oregon, and I love the weather here. All of it. I love the dreariness that comes with seventy percent of the days. I love the rain that never seems to cease. I love the way that Spring takes forever to arrive, and I love the Summer.

I would like to believe that most of my good writing happens in the winter. And for the most part it’s been true, but as I spend more and more days writing, I find that good writing is coming year around. The overcast, grey skies lend themselves to deeper pondering. When I drink in the Summer, I am having a blast. When I drink in the Winter, it is because there is nothing else to do.

This is why Oregon is the perfect climate for my writing career. I spend the Summers making memories. I spend much of the Winters held up in my office/dining room/library, where I get a lot of work done. As writers, we need both of these. Living life and experiencing what is relevant in this world (relationships, conflicts, life in general) and writing about it is a delicate balance.

I’ve met the writers who have done nothing but worked, and their stories feel contrived. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my days, where if it weren’t for the pizza job, I wouldn’t have left the desk. These days feel good, but they cannot sustain themselves. I need the emotions that come with everyday tasks to feed my characters and even my plot.

I need to hear the hiss of an espresso machine in the coffee shop. I will never forget the smell of New York on trash day. I want to be stuck in a rainstorm and remember what it’s like to forget my coat. I need these things, because it makes my stories feel more vivid. It freshens my memory, and when I sit down to write, the words come easier, because I know what I’m talking about.

The Winters in Oregon force me to sit down and write. I write my most emotional scenes in the Winter. Sometimes, I can fake it during a Summer night, but it doesn’t quite feel the same. The Summers make me want to write. They provide me with a reminder of how beautiful life is.

There are times when I wonder if this whole city is going to end up underwater.

No matter what people tell me, I will always believe that the weather plays a role. I recently read that unless it has an effect on the plot, weather should not be mentioned in a story. I do not think that this entirely true. I don’t think that the reader needs a weather report with every scene, but the weather determines much of our moods, and the reader deserves to know when it is affecting our characters.

For me, Oregon provides the perfect balance. The uneven tilt towards rain makes it possible to spend most of my year working really, really hard. But no other city does Summer like Portland. People are tired of being forced to stay indoor for three-quarters of the year. Summer nights explode in Portland, and it is fantastic. It is beautiful, and it is true.