We writers are pioneers — with the opportunity to become heroes.
“Do what?” you say.
Here’s how I connect the dots, or the rows, in this case.
I now realize how much writing is like gardening. I grew up in the country, with parents who toiled under hot sun and long days. There were eight of us in the family, so we gardened to survive.
I can still see my mother making mud when she swiped her saturated forehead with a soil encrusted hand. “Break the ground up until all the chunks are gone, and the dirt feathers through your fingers.” Then she’d demonstrate, watching streams of brown flow into the wind.
After softening the soil, we fertilized with a mix designed to enhance growing power, making sure we didn’t scorch the tender seeds we hid beneath a blanket of dust.
Every seed looked different. We placed pods, beans, tiny black dots, and flaky wisps into the ground, then covered them according to the depth of their needs, before watering. The scent of earthy musk was strong, as wet and dry mingled.
But still, the work wasn’t done between planting and harvest. It took several days before the first fledgling shoots peeked into daylight. We hunkered over the dirt, waiting to glimpse the sprouts. The first took the longest, but when it popped, the landscape was soon covered in bright green, fragile plants, all groping higher for the sun.
Once we saw progress, even harder work began. Hoeing, weeding, continual watering, fighting the heat of radiating summer days. Sleep. Repeat. Sleep. Repeat. While the plants slowly grew taller and thicker.
For weeks, we followed this pattern. The newness had long since worn off. We were hot. Tired. Bored. And ready for the monotony and harsh elements to end.
Until finally. Harvest time. Though it was still too early for the soothing calm of autumn winds, gleaning fruits and vegetables energized our dry spirits. We plucked juicy tomatoes, and ate them like candy. Fresh cucumbers refreshed our hot lips. We shucked silk from raw corn and popped it in our mouths. Life was good, and we wallowed in its glory. Until canning and freezing time.
I won’t go into plucking, shucking, de-stringing, pressure-cookers, mason jars, freezer bags, or the other finger-numbing parts of putting food away for the winter. I think you get the picture. We couldn’t rush the process.
And writing connects with this scenario. So do pioneers and heroes.
Think about it. When you write, don’t you have to prepare the soil? Deal with fertilizer, but then realize it adds fodder to your crops? Don’t we seed devotions, articles, webzines, copy-writing, books, and speaking platforms?
We water, hoe, weed, and care for our tender publishing shoots.
Then we finally harvest. And we wallow in the glory of it — until we realize how much more work must be done.
This is where I think of pioneers. Many of us dare new territories with our messages. We explore and discover. And like the pioneers who founded America, we stake claims, work hard, protect, and we pray. Sometimes all manner of crisis, like harsh winters, droughts, prairie fires, tornadoes, and hail, threaten to destroy what we’ve built.
But like the sturdy pioneer, we must determine not to give up. This is where heroes are born. Those hardy souls who will not be moved from the place they are called. Who refuse to buckle under the bellows of the wind.
Those who know growing a writing garden is not something everyone can do. But who believe in their message, the impact, the harvest — and don’t give up. Because the honor of feeding a multitude makes dealing with every clump of dirt worthwhile. And so they hoe.
How does your writing garden grow?