Summer passed in the blink of an eye, right? I’m sad to see the season of outdoor movies, beach days, and ice cream go. But I’m also excited about fall. Even though spring is the season of growth, I feel like fall is when I make a lot of my progress. Maybe it’s the nudge from all those “back to school” ads. But here are some of the things making me feel reinvigorated right now:

–Back to Kid Lit: In August, I didn’t read any kid lit. It was a month for beach reads and grown-up books, and I loved diving into some literary fiction. After reading so many fabulous ARCs and new releases so far in 2014—along with filling some of the gaps in my backlist reading—I needed a chance to read out of the MG/YA categories. Since September started, though, I’ve already read great MG books by two panelmates, K. A. Holt (Brains for Lunch) and Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Flower Girls). I’m loving The Scar Boys by fellow Egmont author Len Vlahos right now. And next on my list: an ARC of Kristin Levine’s historical MG The Paper Cowboy.

–Back to work: Summer hours are over, and while I loved them, it’s a lot easier to fit writing in my weekday schedule now. And get to bed on time-ish!

–Back in the kitchen: Can I use the heat as an excuse for why I barely touched a pot or pan this summer? (Even if it was a pretty mild summer?) There was a lot of pizza . . . and nachos. Anyway, I have a stack of new recipes and a resolution to make my own dinner at least 3 nights a week. Even if it’s a sandwich. Baby steps.

—Back to pumpkin: In truth, I am far less obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes than I used to be–but I remain a huge fan of baking with pumpkins. Or putting them into soup. (Or fermented beverages.) I like that this time of year, you can eat pumpkin-everything.

–Back to writing: I spent a lot of time this summer traveling to talk about When Audrey Met Alice, which was super fun. I wrote two historical short stories that will appear in Scholastic’s classroom magazines Storyworks and Scope, and also Cricket. I also revised Summer of Lost & Found and sent that off to my editor last month. Now, I’m finally writing a new book. I’ve only put 5,000 words on the page so far, and first drafts can be a little scary. But it feels so good to be finding a new story to tell.