‘Their commitment is startling’ said one agent who told me that she continued to receive the usual number of queries and submissions despite the treacherous conditions. In fact, it has been reported that several writers have been seen over the last few days, not only at their desks where ice on the keyboard has made writing slow, but also outside on dangerously slippery paths on their way to the post office to submit short story competition entries. As one commentator remarked, ‘in pursuit of their goals, writers share many of the characteristics of the first Antarctic explorers: courage, strength and resilience. Not to mention cold noses.’
But what are the conditions like? Many writers face frostbitten fingers and other extremities. ‘I was so cold that I could no longer feel my legs’ said A.B. Wells, the alter ego bestselling author version of this journalist. ‘My fingers welded to the keyboard’ said A.N. Other. Reports are flooding in that many writers have had to strap hot water bottles to themselves, while others are fashioning fingerless gloves out of old holey socks. ‘In desperate circumstances you will try anything’ said Utt. R. Commitment. Lap blankets and hot thermos’ are the order of the day and in extreme circumstances some writers have put on several layers of clothes, hats, scarves and, in some cases, balaclavas. ‘Writers refuse to believe that theirs is a Mission Impossible’ said a leading motivational expert who is twitter following 1 million writers.
What are the likely consequences of this cold snap? One renowned literary agent has said that she is ‘excited’ by the emergence of a new genre of writing she calls ‘Freeze lit’, while many literary landscapes have now been sprinkled with a layer of crisp white virgin snow. The snowman has become a motif for recession and New Decade economic and cultural chill. The cold hard truth for writers in the current climate is that it may indeed be the writers with the iciest digits that go on to become most successful. This winter may turn out to be the era of the nine-fingered writer.