This picture is just one of the hot banana pepper plants from our garden last summer. For months, it was loaded with peppers. And—we had three more plants just like it. I carried bags of peppers with me everywhere I went, giving them to anyone who would take them. I picked them almost every day, and, the next morning, it seemed that they grew new peppers overnight.
I wish I could produce written material that fast. Perhaps, if I cultivate my writing like a garden, maybe I can be as prolific as those peppers. What if I followed the gardening protocol to produce written words?
Plan: Choose the seeds, the topics to write about. Identify where to plant them. In other words, who is the target market? Read what’s already written on chosen topics. Talk to people who match the demographic of the target market. For example, if I want to write for home-schoolers, I’ll go to a Christian book store and peruse home school resources. I’ll surf for blogs on the subject or interview home-schoolers. (This is the fun part.) For the pepper crop, we went a bit overboard with this step.
Plant and cultivate: Next I’ll put the seeds in the ground, water, feed, and weed. This is the part where I get dirty. I’ll research my subjects, organize my research, and identify specific approaches that might interest my target market. I’ll write first, second, and maybe even third drafts. I’ll proofread and weed out needless words. I’ll solicit critiques for my work. Sometimes, this step is more work than fun! Actually, the pepper plants only needed water now and then. Once they got started, they seemed to be on a roll.
Harvest: When my product is ready for public consumption, I’ll package it for the market. Whether it’s articles or books, the prospective buyers will have submission guidelines. I’ll need to follow them to the letter. Then comes the waiting. Will it be accepted or rejected? Some of the folks I tried to give peppers to last summer didn’t want them. But, I didn’t let that stop me. I kept offering peppers to everyone I met. And, I finally found a home for all of them.
Cultivate your writing like a garden. Maybe you’ll have a bumper crop in a month or two.