The crows have started trying to harvest the pecan crops and the swallows flew south a few weeks ago.  The hummingbirds have left and the monarch butterflies are starting to pass through.  The cabin remodel will be completed this weekend and the work at the main house is almost complete.  Thanksgiving will be here before long.

The first good cold front will arrive this weekend.  That means firing up the wood stove again. Stacked wood from last year, along with another cord of wood for the winter, should get me through.  There is something about the sound of a pot-belly stove burning on a cold winter night that seems to make everything right this time of year. 

Leaves on the trees around the house and cabin have been falling since the tornado last May.  I expect many more will begin falling after this weekend.  It may get cold enough to start bringing some plants in.  It is that time of the year when green begins turning to brown. 

For the past few years I have taken a break from writing beginning mid-November through the end of the year.  I take that time to update myself on the business of writing rather than the creative side.  It can also be a manic time for the holidays in which people come to visit or I go to see them, weather permitting. 

Although I still try to journal, I don't work on books during this period at all.  I find it healthy to take a break for so many weeks and begin fresh in the new year.  I do read throughout the year, ebooks, magazines, and still the occasional paper book, but a steady regime of writing to a particular word count every single day isn’t as appealing as it once was.  For some reason, my writing ends up kind of robotic when I do this, without depth. 

Regardless of career I think it is important to find balance in whatever you do.  If that means repeatedly writing to word count every single day, then do it.  If it means writing what you feel, when you feel, then do it.  I had a job in a lab one time where the employees were told to work forty hours a week, regardless of when they worked.  If some wanted to work four days at ten hours a day, so be it.  Others chose to work eight hour days, five days a week. The point was that it didn’t matter so much when we worked, only that we got the work done. 

For myself, that means working the first three to four months of every year in creative mode.  This is my “first draft” time.  The rest of the year I reserve for edits, re-writes, research, etc.  During the last few months of the year (when I update myself on the business of writing), I also think about whether or not my work for the year was as productive as I wanted it to be.  I like to reflect on what I can change to improve my work next year. 

Well, I have stove pipes to replace and a damper to install before the cold hits tonight, so I must be going now.  Unlike the birds I don’t have the luxury of migrating further south, but I do have a good food supply, so perhaps I am the fortunate one.  Have a good week everybody.