"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Monday, March 26, 2012

5 Things Writers Can Learn From Gardening


It’s spring.
A time when the divinity in nature is beautifully displayed.
I love how this season is embraced by every fiber of our being and through all the senses.
How the warmth of the sun caresses the skin, while the melodic chirping of the birds cheerfully signal their arrival.
The vivid colors of the trees, grass, fruits and flowers provide a feast for the eyes.
Peering out my window, I witness many of my neighbors starting their yard work.
They really go all out! :-)

As I reflect, I am reminded of just how many parallels there are between the gardening activities this season ushers in and a career in writing.

See if you would agree.

1. Sometimes you have to get “down and dirty”.
Many times writing is mistakenly glamorized. But those of us that are in the trenches know, you have to get “down and dirty”. Whether it’s being buried in mounds of research for a feature piece, digging for a missing check, or pounding the pavement to track down a source, it ain’t always pretty or easy.

2. Writing, like gardening, requires patience.
You plant seeds then you wait. And you hope. Sometimes it’s four weeks, six, or even months before your efforts will bear any fruit. Such is the case with writing. You send a query or complete manuscript, then wait with crossed fingers for editors and publishers to connect, bestow a byline and pay. It’s one of my least favorite things about this line of work. But, I’m working on developing more patience with the review and acceptance process.

3. You reap what you sow.
For each endeavor, there is a direct correlation between what is put forth and successful yield. The more you give of yourself, the more you’re likely to get back. Whether it’s in pay for your pieces, or karma paid back through good deeds to others.

4. You have to take the thorns with the roses.
Writing, for me, is extremely gratifying. And I feel honored to have it as my life’s work. Still there is “stuff” that makes me wanna’ scream from time to time: computer glitches, unfair wages, politics, and sore eyes. But in more than a decade of doing this, I can still say that the pros outweigh the cons. And I’m grateful.

5. Nurturing is needed for optimal results.
Seeds need watering. Plants need pruning. Gardening doesn’t operate on an “auto-pilot” principle. Neither does writing. Rewrites. Cultivating relationships with editors. Updating blog posts. Backing up files. Record keeping. Reading the works of others to learn more.
Going the distance truly means tending to the little things, as well as the major ones.
It means constantly growing, weeding and renewing.


Would you agree? What else would you add here? Do you garden?

Image: Andrea Brill

12 comments:

  1. I like this analogy, Jennifer! I garden and I write, but I never thought about the similarities. Number one stuck out to me - so many non writers think that it's all sunshine and roses that pop up in a short time. As you said, that is so not the case! But good things come to those who make the effort and patiently wait. And besides, writing is just something I must do. :)

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  2. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 27, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Karen,

    Glad this post resonated with you. I have not been much of a gardener thus far, but it's on my "to do" list.

    As always, I appreciate your input. :-)

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  3. As every gardener enjoys a bouquet of her own flowers, or a taste of his own tomatoes, I like displaying my published works on a shelf. Seeing what I have produced inspires me to add to my "crop".

    Now, real gardening, umm. I allow Mama Nature to take care of my rose bush, and while my hubby tends the vegetable garden, I cultivate words.

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  4. Planning and plowing and planting is hard work, but fun, because you do it with the dream before you. Next you wait - and wait - and wait. Then suddenly in one week you get three checks in the mail, an email acceptance, a Paypal payment, and an award notification. A full writer rose garden. Ah - bliss. And so worth it. Love this post!

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  5. And then, there is cross-fertilization in the gardening process, where seeds from your garden cross over to mine, and vice-versa, and then grow and flourish. So it is that writers learn from each other as we read, review, critique, and try our hands at different genres. I have learned so much from Jennifer and the writers who post and are featured on her blog.

    Love this post!

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  6. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 28, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Yasmin,

    What a sweet (and clever) comment! Here's hoping that we each "blossom" more in times to come.

    Thanks so much for your support and readership!

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  7. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 31, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Thanks, Cynthia! Good to hear from you today.

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  8. Mmm, I do like the analogy, Some years ago I tried to grow Tulips and it appears that when it's hot weather they need a lot of water, and before you know it it was much to dry for them, and it probably was also not the right soil for Tulips.

    I only did grow - one - really unique tiny white 'Albino Dwarf Tulip' Only it supposed to have been several big red ones. So I do believe that I can learn from it that I haven't been that good at growing Tulips. (except for that one really unique one that you will need a magnifying glass for to be able to see.)

    'However some other type of flowers
    did blossom really great.'


    So I can probably learn from this that the same goes for writing, that I might not be good at all types of writing, So maybe I need to take a closer look at the things that did become Successes in the past, things like for example the many Slogans I won, and possibly also some of the Blogposts that actually made it into the Most Popular List. (those Fruitfull ones that I am sure - everybody reading this - already made you bookmark my Blog..? :))

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  9. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 22, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Good feedback, H.P.!
    Thanks for sharing this.

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