By Monet M. Jones
As I approach the nether years of life, I have learned that the best way to garden is to let my son do it while I give him sage advice and praise. However, gardening is still an important part of my life and the obvious similarities with writing intrigue me.
A serious gardener is always planting seeds into small peat pots in anticipation of the next growing season.
A writer is constantly observing and cataloguing characters and situations in anticipation of the next story.
A gardener must decide where to plant. This decision is contingent on many factors: available land, sunlight, drainage, etc.
An author must decide what to write. This decision is contingent on many factors: area of expertise, audience, saturation, etc.
A gardener plants more seed than needed; this necessitates thinning (the very painful process of destroying some of the precious babies simply because they are too many).
A writer writes much more than needed; this necessitates self-editing (the very painful process of destroying some of the precious babies simply because they are too many).
A gardener prunes the vine for better fruit; this involves cutting away part of the vine.
A writer submits his work to peer review; this involves cutting away part of one’s soul.
A gardener must contend with insects and disease.
An author must use proper grammar and a spell checker.
A gardener must eventually destroy the plants and till the soil.
A writer must eventually submit to the ministrations of an editor.
A gardener with a good crop enjoys the fruits of his labor, and preserves food for the coming year.
A writer with a good story submits it to a publisher, who casually tears it apart and tosses it into the trash, then chortles as she sends a form letter of rejection, indicating that the company is not interested in publishing such a story at this time.