A Blank Slate (September Theme)

by Naomi Kinsman

Every September, even now, I feel possibilities opening up, thrilling and clean and new. It as though a brisk wind sweeps through my life, blowing away the clutter and sharpening my focus. I always feel the urge to learn something new, to try a new approach to my life and projects, to see something familiar with new perspective.

I'm sure this feeling is thanks to a collection of teachers who started out each school year with fresh ideas and new ways of doing math and science and reading and class community. I love it. I love the idea that no matter how old I grow, I can always see my life with fresh eyes.

This fall, for instance, I'm diving in deep on the topic of drawing. While I've always dabbled, I'm being intentional about making time to work on drawing skills each day. Every morning when I wake up, I feel a little jolt of excitement, knowing that today, I'll learn something to make me a better artist than I was yesterday.

I'm also trying some new habits with my time. I've been starting out each day by writing out my three top priorities for the day in a journal. I leave space to write how long I spend on each, and then write down what I'll do for a rest after finishing each. For instance, after I finish my first priority, writing a chapter of my novel, then I might get to have a latte, or read a poem, or draw a quick sketch. I like the flow this gives to my days, and love that I can look back from day to day to see how long I've spent on projects, and my general progress. While I continue to use my computer to-do list, this daily planning focuses my attention and helps me to truly address my top priorities. Writing it on paper feels more permanent, like a physical contract I'm making with myself. I also have a weekly list I print on Monday. It has stars I can fill in when I address each of my top areas of focus. This way, I can make sure I address my key responsibilities each week, even if only briefly.

And just like that, my work feels new, and my days feel full of possibility. I know I could do this kind of life make-over in any month, but it's not surprising that September feels like the right time for a fresh start.


  1. Totally agree. September's got that new-notebook smell, doesn't it?


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