It’s that time of year again. You can almost smell the freshly sharpened pencils, the eraser shavings, and the Elmer’s glue. Even for those of us who graduated eons ago, the end of summer still feels like back to school. Every autumn, most of the artists I know recommit to their work. All summer you hear them promising that, come September, they will refocus not only on their creative projects, but their businesses—reorganizing files, buying updated equipment and software, setting up new processes, reaching out to new buyers or advocates, etc.  Artists are oftentimes assumed to be free spirits who throw all structure to the wind, but most of us are like everyone else, creatures of habit. And fall is when we regroup.

So as the days get cooler and the nights get longer and our thoughts turn inward, it’s time to reassess not only our work models, but our goals. What is it that we really want to be doing? Have we been dragging our feet on making big changes because they feel too daunting or overwhelming or unsure?  Are we nervous about putting ourselves out there and becoming more visible? Are we feeling shy about meeting new people or taking on new roles?  In other words, is it the first day of kindergarten all over again?

If so, find your support system; that one person whose encouragement gives you strength. Squeeze your mother’s hand, so to speak, and walk boldly into your new adventure. Whether you succeed or fail, you’ll learn something. Find the teachers who can give you the knowledge you lack. Find the administrators who are going to hold your feet to the fire. Seek out those colorful environments that stimulate your creativity. Cover your walls with the quotes that inspire you. And make time every day to play.

In the words of the late Robin William’s beloved character in Dead Poet’s Society, “Seize the Day.”