Monday, April 11, 2011
This Year's Garden
I'm equally passionate about writing stories, editorials and blogs . . . my novels. Cut me off from composition and I find myself doodling on napkins, snatching up crossword puzzles, marking strengths and weaknesses in magazine features.
My garden changes each year. First, you can't plant some vegetables in the same ground each year. The proper practice is to rotate your crops every season. Done correctly, each crop fertilizes the soil for another vegetable. For example, you follow a root vegetable of potatoes or carrots with a legume such as peas or beans, then switch to something in the family of cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and from there to tomatoes or corn. So that means I'm forever replanning my 40 x 50 foot garden. There's the sun's directional movement to consider, the water runoff, and walking paths.
My nemesis is watermelon, which happens to be my family's favorite fruit. Each year our melons rot before they ripen, and I've moved them to four different places. This year, I built trellises to get them off the ground. They are
strong, anchored and designed not to block the sun from the other crops. My signature change for 2011.
My signature writing changes for 2011 are honing social media and molding a more complex plot for my newest novel. My plot is my garden trellis - more strength and more support. The garden and the story will grow better.
Goals are important. Each year I analyze what worked and didn't work last year with my crops. I do the same with my writing. Last year, I gave up magazine writing (except for Chicken Soup submissions - a weakness) to focus on my fiction. The year before, I entered novel contests. The year before that I played with sidekick characters for the novel series.
Never settle for last year's goals. Even if last year grew well. Like a garden that isn't rotated, disease sets in. It takes constant analysis and adjustment to keep the plants alive, thriving, and productive.
NOTE: That pic is in my kitchen, a small sampling of last year's crop. This year? Bigger, better, and onward!