It's that time of year when we move the small plants from the poly tunnel outside in the vegetable patch to grow. The other week, I was planting out some courgette plants, tomatoes, sweetcorn, and sprouts, as well as some sweet peas that I had been nurturing for the last few months. As I was doing so it occurred to me that writing and publishing are in some ways very like gardening. I'm sure this metaphor has been used before, but bear with me...
The thing is - planting seeds, seeds from a packet, in the cold of the late winter, or early spring, you have no knowledge of whether it will blossom into something. There's the excitement, hope, expectation that it will grow into the flowers/vegetables.With writing, it's much the same. When you get an idea, and begin to develop it, you imagine what it might become, as the idea is sown. Except sometimes it stalls there, and doesn't quite get past the initial idea, just like some seeds don't flourish for whatever reason.
But if they do flourish, there's then the waiting, as you tend to it every day, water them, check them, feed them, and you have to do much the same with writing and ideas. You have to tend to them, nurture them, and make them grow.
And at that point, you don't realise quite how much work it's going to be to make sure that they don't die, or get eaten, or attacked by slugs or frost.
Then, there's the planting out aspect - even more risk and uncertainty here - will the frost or slugs get them, or will they wilt, or will the soil not be good enough? And in the same way with writing, once a story is out of your hands, it's down to your critique partner, or agent, or publisher - whatever stage you're at - to respond and give you feedback, and take it on, or not.
Growing plants is also a waiting game. You never know quite when it will pay off - if ever. And, I guess, in a similar way, writing, and publishing, is like that. There are so many different variables, and things, especially once you start hoping to be published, that you cannot control, that you never know quite what will happen.
Waiting. Lots of waiting.
And hope. Hope and faith are essential.
But here's to growing happy seeds and ideas!