Planting your novel

The sun is shining, the snow is melting (mostly) and I have two hoop houses in my back yard.

Under the hoop houses, the ground has already thawed. Seeds are planted and green is showing! The hoop houses allow me to extend the growing season for certain types of plants.

So in that sense, the experiment worked. In another sense, the ground everywhere else is still frozen so there’s the “what now” feeling of having something half finished. In the hoop house I kept the plants alive even in single-digit weather. But they didn’t thrive. The circumstances simply were not right.

Sometimes in writing we have something that we think has some serious potential, but it’s buried under the snow. The ground is frozen and until it thaws we’re stuck. Sometimes we can help and nurture that little seed, (put it in a hoop-house, in essence) but everything else we need to do on it has to wait–we can’t make spring come any sooner.

As we learn and practice the writing craft, the ground begins to thaw–just a little–and we’re tempted to stick the seeds in the ground and wait for flowers to spring up. But seeds planted too soon or in the wrong circumstances seldom sprout, and even less seldom do they become something we want to display.

So while you’re waiting let your ground thaw. Work on pulling the weeds that will keep your work from sparkling when it finally see’s the sunlight. Clean away the debris of the winter. Learn what is keeping your masterpiece from sprouting. If your hoop house allows you to plant the seed, you still need to wait for it to come up, and you won’t have a fully fledged garden until the rest of your ground is thawed.

Spring forces you to be patient, to wait and work and learn so that when you do plant that seed it will not only sprout, but thrive.


2 responses to “Planting your novel

  • M.L. Forman

    Sound advice, but it’s not always easy to wait. Just remember that if you push forward too soon you may end up with more cleaning up to do when the real flowers start to grow. In the words of Inigo Montoya, “I hate waiting.”

  • Lauren

    Or you may end up with some sort of mutated hybrid steroid-fed piece of junk. 🙂 And yes, those take considerably more work to clean up.


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