Can there be anyone in the UK who hasn't been affected by what is being termed the 'deep freeze'?
The snow and ice have, it seems, disrupted every form of travel which in turn has kept everyone off school and work for an extra week after the Christmas holidays.
I suspect I'm not alone in treating it like an unofficial mini-break and have cheerfully worn unattractive hats and tramped to the top of hills only to whizz down them again on plastic sacks, inner tubes and old trays found languishing at the back of the garage.
I suspect also that I'm not the only one who has put off the commencement of my New Years resolutions.
Who could stick to 1500 calories a day with Jack Frost nipping at their toes? Surely stew and dumplings are entirely appropriate in the circumstances.
And as for cutting back on the sauce...another hot toddy anyone?
I've no reason to suspect that writerly ambitions have not met the same fate.
Which I imagine comes as a relief to many a literary agent.
Where we scribblers are apt to spend the second of January in WHSmiths buying envelopes and a copy of The Writers Yearbook, agents must be steeling themselves for the white deluge-not of snow, but submissions.
Not so much a slush-pile as a slush-mountain.
Sure, every agent is looking for the next big thing, and for that they need submissions. But the January onslaught must feel like a tidal wave.
Now I don't want to discourage any writer from seeking representation.
Personally, I would be without my agent. Not only for the book deals he's secured, both here and abroad ( for I'm sure I couldn't have done that myself) and not only for the TV option I'm in the process of signing ( though that is bloody exciting). But also for the wonderful feeling that come- what- may he's on my side. This is a lonely old business and it's nice to have support.
Rather, what I'm suggesting is that those looking for an agent take a deep breath.
Don't join the hordes and bang out a slurry of ill-considered letters and half-arsed synopses just because it's January.
Instead, ask yourself what agency might suit you. Check out their website. Do they represent authors in your genre?
And check out their submissions guidelines. Don't assume all literary agencies want the same submission packages. Some want a letter and no more. Some want a one page synopsis. Some want a full treatment of your work.
Don't fall at the first hurdle by getting it wrong.
Then look at everything you're sending. Is it the best it can be?
You might have promised yourself to get five off by the end of the week but is there any point if you're not selling yourself as well as you could?
This isn't a race.
There is no prize for the writer who can gather the most rejections by February.
If you can honestly say that your submission is good to go, then get licking those stamps.
If not, try to relax. This is a marathon, not a sprint. So pour another glass of mulled wine.
There's still snow to come and the post might not even get delivered tomorrow.