New season, new year, new starts

The beginning of September is always quite refreshing to me.

While Summer remains my favorite season (don't shoot me! I adore warm weather and long days and trips to the beach), the days after Labor Day provide a new start to my creativity.

My birthday falls on August 31 and always literally and symbolically signals another start.

Another chance.

Another year.

Pair my birthday (this year, my 51st) with Summer's end and you have a natural new beginning.

As a writer, this new beginning always gets my creative juices flowing. It's usually right around this time of year when I brainstorm and envision new projects. It's usually when I sit down and actually write more than during those lazy Summer days. It's when I get more much so that I sometimes find it hard to fall asleep at night.

This September, I'm branching out into several new endeavors.

* I've started work "for real" on a young adult novel I've had in my mind for awhile. I developed the idea during last year's National Novel Writing Month, but did little more at that time than develop the plot, dream up the characters, and write a chapter. This month I'm writing with purpose on the novel; I'm taking time each day to work some on the book, while taking one full work day to focus solely on it.

* I'm working on a devotional book for Advent titled "Radical Christmas." (Yes, Christmas is mere months away now, if you didn't realize it already.) The idea is that we have made Christmas so much more complicated than it should be; if we follow alone the story of Christ's birth, it challenges us on a deep level to be more hospitable to the "least of these," to love our families with simple joy (and not so many boxes filled with "things"), and to live with more sincerity, generosity, and peace towards all.

* I'm developing plans for a series of e-books (and, hopefully, printed books at some point), starting with another Christmas product. "Christmas Blessings: Real-life stories to warm the heart" will come from SCWC members and tell true stories that communicate the real message of the season.

* I'm working on writing events and activities for our group of writers. These include the upcoming fiction workshop in Orange Beach, a free meet-up in December, and the 2nd annual Book Expo in January. (I'm even going to be leading writing sessions on a cruise at the beginning of the year!)

I tell you all of these things so that I can ask you:

* What are you excited about in regards to your writing?

* How can you start anew at this time of the year?

As the Fall approaches, I challenge you to consider how you might take this time to get more committed; to make plans; to dream big; to Go For! those things you've been timid about.

To get your creativity flowing, here are some things you can do. Whether you're a fiction writer or a memoirist; whether you're a poet or a newspaper columnist; whether you're a nonfiction book author or a screenwriter--these are kickstarts that can work for you for the next months.

Select one or two (or all of them!) and see how your writing grows.

1. Dedicate a specific time each day to writing.

2. Look forward to December 31, and ask yourself what you want to accomplish by then.

3. Read one book each month on some aspect of the writing process.

4. Journal each day.

5. Write your prayers each day.

6. Once you know what you want to write, study that type of writing. Read each day in that genre.

7. Meet a specific word count for your writing each day.

8. Start a blog (or, if you already have a blog, write on it at least three times a week).

9. Challenge yourself to write in a genre you don't usually write in.

10. Write for one of the SCWC challenges posted, or make plans to attend an upcoming SCWC event.

Here's to a wonderful September!

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