It is a calm time of the year, and I am using that calm to get some serious writing done. My string piece is nearly finished, mapped out for the orchestra and going through the last few days of tinkering before it reaches its final state. The Exeter piece is also ploughing on towards its close, one section of text still waiting to be set, but everything else set out either in more or in less detail.

Having stayed away from blogging for a little, I have also come to realise that writing it is, in many ways, a displacement activity. Keep a diary, they say, and eventually the diary will keep you, and the same has clearly become true of this blog, and, for this and other reasons, I have questioned over the past week why I write it. Undoubtedly it has benefits, and I still believe that it is an essential tool for many in the modern age, but it also has its downsides, many of them unexpected. It might be that I will write slightly fewer entries in the coming year, but make each entry fuller.

August is, for me, a time of reflection and reassessment, a time to work out what targets I have missed over the past year and how I might make things better in the forthcoming months, not just for me but for others too. This will be my third year as a proper freelance composer and I need to continue that path but, having more than survived since taking that great leap, there are still areas in which I can be more productive, and the relative calm of August is a great opportunity to test drive some ideas.

A new commission arrived in the middle of August, meaning that, once my current two projects are finished, I can move straight on to the next one, a short choral piece. There are also performances later on this year, and into the next, the promise even of premieres on consecutive days in 2014.

Lastly, even though I officially gave up teaching two years ago, I have continued to do private work, and was retained by the parents of one of my piano pupils. He was, aged eight, one of the very first pupils I taught, and my teaching of him has expanded from piano to various other disciplines as well. Last Thursday he received the A-level results he needed to go to Oxford, and I like to think that I have helped a little. I have seen this particular chap through from shorts to university, and the best thing is that he is on his way to study music at my own college. It is a wonderful and deeply satisfying symmetry.