There has been an undeniable shift in mood during the last week. Some days it seems I can perceive the light changing and the weather shift. Although not cold, the mornings are chillier and I can no longer pretend that the evenings are balmy and long. A new season is here. Every year I try to remind myself not to grasp, not to try to hold onto time beyond what is natural. Summer passes into autumn and it is right that it does. Whether I feel ready or not is beside the point.
This year, I am more aware of the French notion of la rentrée. This season, which goes beyond merely ‘back to school’ at the beginning of September, infuses life at this time. It is a return. A return to life as normal after the long summer. Now, this probably makes more sense for a country which definitely experiences a long hot summer, and which almost closes up shop for a month or two. This return is a very real thing. Children return to school, adults return to work, politics gets going again, the media begins a new schedule and even the literary world joins in, launching hundreds of new titles. But, I think it is also something which we can embrace, psychologically, as creatives.
September feels like the perfect time to switch to a new mode, to refocus on the time left in the year. The summer is a quiet period for most makers - few shows and events to attend - and I’ve found that the lull is great for recharging my creativity ready for the busiest part of the year soon to come. But, it’s so tempting, now that autumn is here, to launch straight into work, to see the long list of things to do, to catch up on, and to just get going. Resist that impulse for just a moment. Pause. Give yourself time for your own rentrée créative:
Take a moment to review what has happened in the first half of the year and how you are going to go forwards. If, like me, you set yourself some goals at the beginning of 2017, how have you gotten on? What went well, what successes have you had that you should acknowledge and remind yourself of? What things haven’t worked so well? Are there things that you would still like to work on?
Now is the time to re-frame any goals you would still like to work on, or to set yourself one or two new ones. Don’t give yourself more work than you can realistically manage - there are only 4 months left of the year and chances are you already have a lot of commitments during this time. Choose the things that you know will make the most difference to your creative practice or your business. The things that align most with your values, the important tasks that you maybe don’t always allow enough time to work on.
Once you’ve outlined the key things you’d like to work on for the rest of the year, remember to earmark some time for these things regularly. It might be that you set yourself the challenge of working on them once a week for a couple of hours, or you may prefer to do a small amount daily. Frequency and routine are the key things here, and blocking out time, protecting it from the deluge of ‘business as usual’ stuff will really help.
Returning to work with a new focus on those important tasks, alongside all the day-to-day things you already have to do, will ensure you don’t find yourself getting carried away by all the urgent things that start to appear. You will feel in control of your time and ready for all the amazing things that happen at the end of the year.