Monday, January 5, 2009

Planting the right seeds

The new year's seed catalogs are beginning to arrive in the mail. If you're a gardener like I am, you flip through the pages, looking for just the right seeds to grow in your garden. You think about what your family loves to eat, what veggies taste best fresh from the garden, and which grow the easiest in your weather zone.

Planning your writing is like planning your garden. What do you love to read? Do you enjoy romance or any of its subgenres? What about fantasy or science fiction? Maybe mysteries are your cup of tea. Just as you would pick the right tomato seeds because your family adores heirloom tomatoes, you should pick the right genre for your fiction writing. Don't choose to write romance simply because you think more people read romance than science fiction. Write romance because you love the way it tastes, feels and smells to you.

Did you decide that peas picked fresh from your garden are superb? Is this the one vegetable you can get even your picky seven year old to eat? The same goes for your writing. What feels fresh to you when you write? Do you have to force yourself to write fantasy because you want to be the next J. K. Rowling? Make your writing fresh by writing what comes naturally to you.

Just as you want to plan a garden that grows well in your weather zone, pick a field of writing you know you can write well. You may have to try a few varieties of seeds before you find that Blue Lake Green Beans grow better than another variety, so too, you may need to try different types of writing. If you've struggled to write poetry, maybe children's literature is what you should try. If you are getting nowhere writing non-fiction, give romance a try.

If you plant the right seeds, your writing will grow.

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