By Nichole Giles
In the spring, I wrote about planting roots. I had planted some vines and shrubs only to have my dog rip them back up again and drag them through my yard. Upset as I was, a few months later I noticed little green shoots poking out of the soil where the vines had been.
Now that fall is nearly upon us, I am looking out my window at a vine that has grown more than nine feet tall, winding in and out of the lattice it was planted against, and over and through my back yard pergola. The roots I planted grew up healthy and strong. And my dog has learned to leave them alone.
As I mentioned before, this is very similar to our work as writers. As we are beginning, we find ourselves making mistakes. Our manuscripts come back to us full of red ink, and corrections to be made. But we take our lessons and we learn from them, and in the end we become better writers.
About the time you start admitting to people that you are a writer, a seed is planted in you. It doesn’t really matter if you’ve been writing for your whole life, or just a few days. That seed begins to grow and swell. If we ignore it, eventually it might die. But if we nourish it, water it, give it sunlight and room to grow, it will take off. Before you know it, you’re looking at a nine-foot manuscript that is ready to be packaged and sent to an editor.
The important thing is not forgetting to water it. Find the time to write every day, or at least several times a week. Regular writing keeps you going, even if you aren’t taking a writing class, or attending a conference.
Even as your writing continues to grow, it may take a while before it blooms. That’s okay too. I’ve read that my Wisteria plant won’t bloom for about four years. At first, that seemed like a very long time. But looking at it through a writer’s eyes, I’ve decided that four years is a reasonable amount of time to get from creation to publication. Some plants will need more time, and others will need less. The most beautiful thing about writing is choice.
We get to decide how often we water our manuscripts, how many conferences and classes we attend for nourishment, how much we sunlight we edit in and out, and how long we wait before sending them away to bloom. During the entire process, we are fortunate enough to be able to watch our manuscripts grow, change, and become.
As long as we don’t forget to water.
So, with just over a year of serious writing in, I have three more years to keep writing and submitting. Maybe by then someone will have invented a nine-foot envelope. If not, there’s always scotch tape and glue.
(Special thanks to Keith for inspiring this blog with, "The Wise Old Tree Root.")