2 min read

Planting lettuce.

At the desk, 8:28 a.m.

For the last few weeks or so, I plant some lettuce seed in the garden on Monday mornings. This morning, I also planted radishes, kale, spinach, and some blue flax.

Why do I plant every week?

Two reasons:

  • For the last couple of years, our backyard has been a bit of a construction zone. While the vegetable beds were available for planting, the rest of the yard was, in my words - "a mud pit." Last summer, we got it together to get the rest of the beds ready and the grass replanted. I have a lot of space to fill. Since our weather in Denver is so wonky, I like to plant from seed. I find the plants grow in better and last longer than the ones grown in perfect climates and moved here.
  • I plant once a week so that I can harvest once a week. This morning, I harvested 'Little Gem' lettuce to make the husband's salads for the week. (For the record, my lettuce is not as big as the one in the picture.) By planting more lettuce seed, I ensure I will have lettuce to plant about six weeks from now. In a week or so, I'll move the lettuce planting over to cooler beds in the hopes of having lettuce all summer.

I think writing is a lot like planting. In order to harvest lettuce (make money) all year round, you have to plant (write and/or publish) a little bit every single week.

The truth about planting lettuce, and writing, is that not everything you plant is going to sprout.

In the garden, sometimes the temperature is not right. Sometimes, it's too wet or too dry or too hot or too cool or there simply isn't enough sun. That's not to mention the fact that maybe you have the wrong seed for your environment. Or what's more likely, your seeds will sprout a year from now or maybe in the fall or maybe not until 2021 when you've completely forgotten you'd planted there.

You have to keep planting because truth be told, no one - not the big publishers, not the small niche publisher, not the folks at Lulu or CreateSpace - knows what people are going to like. Talk about speculation! The book industry is based on speculation. The statistic used to be that 50% of all traditionally published books sell exactly 50 books. With the ease of publishing and eBook, the statistic now is more like 80% of books sell 20 books.

Sure, you might write one book and make a million dollars. We certainly talk a lot about the authors who do that. But most authors, including best selling authors like Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, or James Patterson write a lot of books. Some books sell well, some don't.

Take Dan Brown for example. It wasn't until he published The DaVinci Code that Angels and Demons, published 3 years earlier, received any attention at all. He wrote, edited, published, and marketed (planted) Angels and Demons with big six, New York City publisher. Yet the book (seed) never grew. The DaVinci code created the light and heat Angels and Demons needed to grow fruit.

That's how it works in the garden and in the book world.

If you're a writer, get out there and plant your work on a regular basis. How else will you have a crop to harvest all year?