October is a time to tidy up, clean up, and put away. The harvest is done. Only a few die hard potatoes are left in the garden. The last brilliant roses are defying the coming snows. The season is nearly over.
Every year the onset of cooler weather is my signal to trim back my perennials, root out the annuals, dig in mulch, roll up and drain the hoses, rake leaves, put away the patio furniture, and generally get my yard ready for winter. I learned a long time ago that the more effort I put into making all secure in the fall, the more beautiful and work free spring will be.
Like most writers I find an analogy to writing in almost everything around me. I've often compared spring to the excitement and discovery of starting a new work. Summer as the patient slogging through the grand vistas and discouraging, blistering middle, and fall as the completion, the time of harvesting or finishing a novel. October is that period of clean-up; the time of going back through the manuscript to check the spelling and grammar, ensure that it's in the best possible shape. Review the comments of beta readers. It can be seen as exhausting necessary work or it can be filled with satisfaction from knowing you've done your best and you have a completed, ready for submission story ready to send to an agent or publisher.
October is also the time to plant tulips. Tulip bulbs, or those "big seeds" as my granddaughter calls them are almost magical and are often used as symbols. To me they are a symbol of faith, a promise that no matter how deep the snow and how low the temperatures fall, spring will come. Each writer needs a bit of tulip faith. Even as this season's manuscript is sent on its way, seeds, big seeds, need to be planted. Start that next manuscript before you hear back on the one already sent. Dream big. Plant big seeds.