Farming ... Er ... Writing Life

I have a drive—the drive to always improve. I’m never satisfied with my writing life.

That doesn't mean I’m not happy with my writing, but there's always room for improvement.

I dunno. I guess that's just part of my personality. I'm never completely content with my sales, my reviews, or the writing itself. I always think they can be more! And it’s true … they can be.

Writing is like farming. Neither writers nor farmers can control all that happens. Farmers can cultivate, plant, prune, and fertilize and then it's out of their hands. The type of soil, the amount of moisture falling from the sky, or the destruction of the crop by pests are mostly (totally?) in God’s hands. The harvest is dependent on more than their efforts, no matter how skillful they might be.

And so it is with writers. We prepare to write, “the cultivating,” by learning our craft, reading widely, and gaining knowledge and world experience. We then write, “the planting.” After the rough draft, we edit our work, “the pruning.” And then we get input from others, beta readers, editors, perhaps even publishers, “the fertilizer.” Once our book is published, we writers must step back and await the harvest. We have done all we can do and now external factors come into play.

Writers, like successful farmers, must learn to be stoic, patient in times of drought, persevering when locusts devour their plants, and grateful, no matter the harvest. 

To persevere, to be contented in their profession, farmers must learn to operate on an even keel, just as writers need to learn to be neither hyped when success comes nor depressed when sales drop.

And I'm not so much interested in money or success as I am in leaving something my ancestors can be proud of, something that will bring a smile to someone's face, something that will help someone overcome a bad time.

And so I will be like the farmer and continue to plant, continue to toil, and learn to be stoic.

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