After yesterday’s planting fest, I realized my body had muscles I didn’t know existed. In the process of planting, matting, staking and tubing 736 trees and shrubs, I must have performed over 1,000 squats and walked many miles over rough terrain.
The weather was by no means warm, and in fact, hovered around 55 with gray clouds and a raging wind. Even after nine hours of working hard, I never really got warm.
And yet, it was extremely satsifying to walk away from a job well done–even though I know the elements and the wild life will kill off about 20-30% of what we planted. Not every tree will live through the summer. Even more will die off over the cold, lean winter when the temps and the hungry deer will sap away the life of some trees.
Writing is like that. Not every manuscript we start will get finished. Not all beginnings are worthy of living past the summer heat and the winter frost. Still others will die along the road to submission, when critical plot errors are revealed.
And yet, knowing this shouldn’t stop us from planting the seed–from writing those first words, second chapters and final scenes. It just means we need to try. For if our words are never written, they cannot be rejected. Nor can they be accepted and flourish to maturity where the fruits of our labors are noticed.
Writer, beware. There are crucial steps between planting and maturity.
The tie straps that hold the tubes on can break and need to be replaced. The winds can knock over even the best hammered stakes and irrevocably stunt the tree’s growth or kill it altogether.
Weeds can choke out each plant as the matting gets battered in the wind, and when the trunks and branches outgrow the tops of the tubing, deer will ruthlessly eat the buds and strip the bark. Spraying the growing trees becomes an annual job.
From planting to maturity, trees–and writers–need an agent to help them survive. They need a support network to watch their backs as they navigate through those crucial budding years.
A dear writing buddy from AQ just announced her representation last week by an amazing agent. Two weeks before that, another AQer friend announced his. These writers persevered, and now they each have an agent to support their journies to maturity.
Peter and Jenny, congrats and best luck as you continue your path to publication. Writing a manuscript is difficult enough. Snagging an agent who believes in your work is nothing short of amazing in these tough times.
I look forward to taking your books off the store shelves and placing them on my own.
To the rest of my writer friends still in pursuit of an agent, keep the faith. Keep writing and keep believing. Don’t be afraid to walk away from one manuscript to nurture another one. Not every piece is meant to published, but by caring for those that are, you will be one step closer to your goal.