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Writing Is Like Gardening

file0001038044748Every year, our garden produces way too much of one thing. This year, it’s tomatoes.  I carry bags of tomatoes with me everywhere I go, giving them to anyone who will take them. We pick them almost every day, but a new batch seems to ripen overnight.

I wish I could produce written material as fast as these plants produce tomatoes. Perhaps, if I treat my writing like gardening, I can be as prolific as these tomatoes. What if I followed the gardening protocol to produce written words?


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 homeschoolers, I’ll go to a Christian book store and peruse home school resources. Surf for blogs on the subject or interview homeschoolers. (This is the fun part.) For the tomato crop, we went a bit overboard with this step. We wanted to try new varieties, and we got too many plants.

Plant and cultivate

Next, put the seeds in the ground. Then water, feed, and weed. This is the part where I get dirty. I research my subjects, sometimes collecting too much information. I then try to organize my research and identify specific approaches that might interest my target market. I write first, second, and maybe even third drafts. I proofread and weed out needless words. I solicit critiques for my work. Sometimes, this step is more work than fun! Like this year’s tomato plants, once I get started, I keep churning out the finished product.


When my product is ready for public consumption, I package it for the market. Whether it’s articles or books, the prospective buyers will have submission guidelines. I follow them to the letter. Then comes the waiting. Will it be accepted or rejected? Some of the folks I try to give tomatoes to don’t want them. But, I don’t let that stop me. I kept offering tomatoes to everyone I meet. And, I eventually find a home for all of them. The same is true with the articles and stories I write.

Cultivate your writing like a garden. You’ll have a bumper crop of published work in due time.

Image Credit: Morguefile,

2 Responses to Writing Is Like Gardening

  1. Cecelia Lester August 29, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Emily: I like what you say here. I try to spend the late summer and early fall choosing topics for my blog and my column. This year, I have chosen my topics for my column by following God’s leading. Some of my monthly blog topics remain the same from year to year,God’s Love, Lent, My word for that year. Thankfulness (Eucharisteo). and Advent. These are just a few of my topics for 2016.

  2. Emily Akin August 29, 2015 at 4:36 pm #

    Good topics, Cecelia. I look forward to seeing your posts.

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