September. Can you believe it? The summer's gone, the children are heading back to school, and the holidays are over. Before the gloom sets in, this means that many of the magazines that were closed to submissions over the summer are now open again. Theatres that were dark are now launching their autumn seasons too. Even places that hadn't closed tended to be short-staffed, but now they'll be getting up to speed again.
    Any work that's been languishing in slush piles might now get read, and the agonising wait for a reply will soon be over. Even if that means dealing with rejections, it's a good thing. Hopefully, there'll be comments to help you improve your work or refine the search for publications to submit to. And there'll no doubt be successes too.
    There's also a new crop of competitions to harvest, many with themes to help kickstart your writing if you too have been taking a break. The September issue of Writing Magazine has a list of competitions from October to June 2018, or you could try looking up or to find out what's coming up. Getting back into a good routine after a break can be difficult, and competition deadlines are a great spur to get on with it.
    Setting aside even a few minutes as a regular part of your daily routine can also help to get your brain into writing mode. If you still feel too restless to sit at your desk, don't forget that a fair proportion of a writer's work is thinking, and that's something you can do on the move, so if the sun shines, grab your notebook and camera and go for a walk.
    Once the writing begins to flow, the time will fly. Before you know it, you'll be preparing for a long hot summer again.