Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Enriching Your Plot by Andy Scheer

This past weekend I began turning over my garden.

With the first bite of the spading fork, I was surprised anew by the rich, dark soil.

A dozen years ago, it was little more than sand. With the added challenges of Colorado's dry climate and short growing season, I wondered if gardening would be a waste of time.

For some crops, it was. I discovered that with the cool nights at our 6,800-foot elevation, I could forget about getting ripe tomatoes. But potatoes and carrots? Wow!

Still, not at first. Success came only after I'd spent a few seasons improving the soil. Each fall I'd use a mulching mower to shred our crop of aspen leaves, spread them over the garden, and dig them in.

Year by year, the ground became more fertile. And the crops grew more fruitful.

But it's never easy. Before I plant, I'll need to turn over the ground a few more times, clear some sticks, roots, and old stalks, and smooth the surface. I'll need to decide what seeds to buy and actually plant them. Then comes a season of waiting, watering, and weeding.

Only then, if all the conditions prove right, comes a harvest.

Gardening reminds me of writing. Especially improving the soil. If you long for a harvest of publication, I hope you're enriching your garden plot by investing in classes, critiques, coaching, and conferences.

Compost whatever you can, like rejections or projects that cease to bloom. Take those experiences and work them into the ground of resources, skills, and experiences from which you write.

Then if you plant something, it just might grow.


Rick Barry said...

Nice analogy, Andy. You reminded me of this quote from Tolkien:

“One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps. No doubt there is much selection as with a gardener: what one throws on one’s personal compost-heap; and what my mould is evidently made largely of linguistic matter.”

(Tolkien: The Authorized Biography by Humphrey Carpenter. Pg. 126)

Davalyn Spencer said...

Enjoyed this post. Such great visuals to apply to the unseen stirrings within.

Linda Glaz said...

So very important to do our prep work no matter what we are doing with our lives.

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...


That quote looks vaguely familiar. I probably read it decades ago, and its been composting in my mind since.

Diana Flegal said...

Great word picture. :-) Makes me itch to get into some dirt.