Welcome to La Rentrée

Ah, September! How I love thee… It’s the month of dewy, crisp sunny mornings. And stationery sprees. And fewer children in public places on weekdays.

It’s also the month I moved to Orlando, which was really the start of this whole thing—5th September 2006 was The Big Day.

But what I really love about September is that it’s a fresh start, a perfect little package of time between now and New Year’s Eve in which you have every chance of achieving your goals and sauntering smugly into 2014 with a smile on your face.

I subscribe to the French notion of la rentrée, which is to say that I let the summer months pass without too much thought for goals and To Do lists, but then I pull my socks up and stride into September with a newly recharged motivation and determination to get things done. Roughly translated it means the re-entry, and I’m ready for mine. Although I haven’t spent my summer actually lazing about (far, FAR from it!), I did ignore almost all e-mail, social media and self-publishing obligations in favor of getting one, simple thing done: the first, messy draft of my novel. So now I must take that draft and get down to the business of writing a version of it someone else might be able to read one day, as well as everything else I have to do in order to finish up 2013 as a happy camper.


The  current To Read pile

Right now the list looks something like this:

  • Get back to regularly blogging, tweeting and reading blogs (and so get used to Feedly)
  • Self-publish two more installments of Travelled
  • Schedule and complete A Big Online Clean-Up (more on this in a future post)
  • Think more about the cool idea (I think!) I’ve had for blogging/self-publishing in 2014 (e.g. Can I do it? Should I do it?)
  • Get working on a online/video version of Self-Printed
  • Make a 2013 installment of my blog book
  • Read another 19 books
  • Finish A Proper First Draft of the novel
  • Reward self with 2014 Erin Condren Life Planner (because rewards are oh so important…!)

I’m going to start by blogging more about some of these goals and tasks this month, but until then, I want to ask you: what would you like to achieve between now and December 31st?

You’ve still got lots of time, you know…

23 thoughts on “Welcome to La Rentrée

  1. bridget whelan says:

    Before New year’s Eve
    1) First step in self publishing
    2) Second step in self publishing (this time with an editor’s hat on)
    3) 4th draft of second novel finished & in someone’s hands to whom I am not related
    4) Paint kitchen table shabby chic – I’ve been to the classes, so why not?
    5) Find an ironic use for stencils
    6) Find nice friendly carpenter to replace bay window
    7) Pay nice friendly carpenter
    8) Find out what’s in the corner cupboard in the kitchen that I put things into and never take anything out of…

  2. Nancy Christie says:

    I’m with you on the concept of La Rentrée. While my summers are busy with yardwork and the garden, somehow autumn inspires a more focused action and energy. Is it due perhaps to the end of the stifling humidity? Or is it because the leaves turning colors remind me that time itself is limited, and one must make the most of life?
    Anyway, here is my list of what to do now that cooler weather is here!
    1. Now that my first e-book (Annabelle) is ready for release, start edits on the second one.
    2. Ramp up my marketing to make the most of my new book projects.
    3. Really get a grip on social media!
    4. Start drafting content for my book on writing (instead of just talking about it!)
    5. Work my way through the stack of magazines and pages from the New York Times that have been waiting patiently on the table next to my desk.
    6. Start canning all those peppers and tomatoes from my garden.
    7. Finally deal with the following household repairs: the leaking skylight, the non-working attic fan, the second bathroom renovation…
    Make lots more coffee!

  3. diannanarciso says:

    Wonderful post! I’m pretty sure I’ve got that Life Planner beat. Mine is custom (from all the calendar stuff available at Staples, etc.) and has a zippered cover! It’s not as pretty, I’ll grant you.

    I am just now wrapping up the publication of CAMELIA (so happy), but there is no rest for the wicked (yes, yes I am) and my motivational guru (ahem, husband) expects me to be finished with THE STORY RUNNER by the end of the year. Piece of cake, he says, who has never written a book in his life.

    That’s the goal. Everything else is being lazy.

    Good luck with all of yours!

      • diannanarciso says:

        It’s variations on basic calendars, pages for notes, contacts list, plastic inserts for business cards, pens and pencils, etc. Just all sorts of things to put in your personal planner. And they sell leather, zip up notebooks with rings to hold it all. I have the 8×10 (when zipped up) version, holds the 8×5 sheets. But you can get bigger ones for 8×11 sheets.

        Of course I bought my leather notebook ages ago, so Staples might not have them now. But they must be somewhere on the tubes still. Funny, I never really take mine off my desk. But if I ever do, I’ll just zip that bugger up and none of the trash and cookie crumbs will fall out!

  4. evie gaughan says:

    I should be saying something very noble and worthy, but the truth is I can’t take my GREEN WITH ENVY eyes off your Paris lamp!!! I too am wooed (wooed?) by all things French and La Rentree always reminds me of my first few days at college in Toulouse (Erasmus) where I went from inconsolably weeping with homesickness to uncontrollably giggling every time I had to kiss complete strangers in my class – three times each! That’s where I had my first brush with rabbit stew and Turkish-style … um bathrooms. Weird.
    For now though, my main aim is to self-publish my book (launching September 16th woo-hoo), write a novella, launch my craft & design company and buy a gorgeous dress with absolutely nowhere to go. Just cos. The End. 🙂

  5. Louisa says:

    Yes, feel the same way – a renewal of spirit at the end of summer! My main goals:
    1) Finally finish mystery novel I’ve been working on for past 100 years
    2) Weed garden at least once
    3) Update/modernize website
    3) Get nice, smart fall clothes!

  6. pamelavmason says:

    I like this attitude and I like your goals; think I’ll do the same.
    I thought I’d use the summer to gather new ideas and work on turning possibilities into opportunities, but everything hasn’t converged yet to make things happen – still in wait & watch mode. But it’s okay because I’ll keep working on my novel and craft.
    Part of what stops me up is the sheer amount of routes available to us as writers to realize our dreams … and how other dreams pop up and distract us. I am learning to focus on one goal, one route at a time and to knock out the steps necessary to achieve just that one.
    Not to say the other goals aren’t still there, but it takes concentrated effort to do one well and finished.
    And now I’m rambling….
    J’aime l’idee de rentree et nous la joignons. (that’s incorrect, but tu le comprend
    s, n’est ce pas?)

  7. Charmaine Clancy says:

    We’re just leaving winter here in Australia, although up in Queensland we’re already in sunny tee-shirt weather.
    I am hoping to get some serious blogging time in over our summer, get another novel out and get a real good start on the next one. Or maybe I’ll just migrate to the couch 😉

  8. christineardigo.com says:

    I have 2 books written, in the editing process now. Would love for them both to be edited by then but i will settle for one at least! I started my own website and joined every social media site there is back in July and although it’s important to do that, my books have taken the back seat. Hard to juggle both. 🙂

  9. annierue says:

    Your post is very motivating- cheers for sharing all of your goals! I’m going to also make a list of my goals and as I read your posts, use your momentum to keep checking them off my own list. We all need some one to hold each other accountable. Thanks!

  10. geralynwichers says:

    I have been ramping up my writing, blogging social media all summer. Now just to keep momentum. Shooting to have one novel ready to publish (projected for late spring) and the other through a second draft. Also a research project to finish before the year is out!

    And I’m glad to hear someone else is into rewards : )

  11. thesailorswoman.wordpress.com says:

    You were much more successful than me this summer. Although I did quite a bit of work on my novel, the first draft is only about three quarters of the way there. Like you, I always think of September as a time of new beginnings–because I’m a teacher this is literally the case as I had back to work fulltime. I’d actually written a rough outline of my September resolutions when I read your post. My number one resolution is to do more yoga. I’m hoping it brings me the clarity and inner peace to deal with everything else on my fall to be accomplished list. Nanette

  12. Debbie Young says:

    Great concept, Catherine! As is the French custom of taking the whole of August off work. In fact I got completely distracted from my forward planning by this post and started planning a four-week holiday for next August. Oops! That wasn’t meant to happen, was it? Good luck with your plans, Catherine, and I’m looking forward to reading your novel when it’s ready!

  13. byjhmae says:

    This post is so appropriate to the track my life has taken recently. This week is the first week I’m officially beginning my full-time writing career. La Rentree indeed… My goal would be to make some money doing this by the end of the year 🙂

  14. rosedandrea says:

    Oh, I very much like the idea of striding into 2014 with a smug smile on my face. What a lovely mental picture. Composed, accomplished, feeling satisfied about a year well conquered, and ready to take on the next one.

    I think what I would like to do in order to feel that way would be:

    > Get this poetry published
    > Finish one of these novel first drafts
    > Get back down to about 130 pounds
    > Actually start making money with this writing thing *eye roll*

    Better get to work then, huh?

  15. Kimberly says:

    Oh, I like the idea of goals that don’t start at New Years-less pressure somehow!

    I’ve got three:
    -continue blogging daily
    -finally get past rough outline stage with a marketing book I’ve been threatening to write for five years
    -get an indoor loo (ok, that’s happening anyway now, but I just like reminding myself after living without one for 10 months!)

  16. Dianne says:

    Now that I’ve seen that Erin Condren life planner, I don’t think I have anything better to do than pine over all the amazing stuff they have on that website. Ugh.

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