Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness by Allison Symes

 Image Credit:  Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay photos.

Given we are now into autumn, I thought it apt to use part of Keats’ well loved poem as my title here.

There is one big problem with fruitfulness. It takes time. It is not an overnight thing. You can see the immediate parallels with the writing life I’m sure. This is why I feel it is so important to love writing. 

I’ve tried to go into things with my eyes wide open knowing I am going to get rejections and no hears. Every writer does. But you also know (a) this is part of your apprenticeship as a writer and (b) you get used to it given enough time. 

What keeps you going is loving what you do. But it took me a long time to get to that point. (It helps me a lot to know that most writers experience Imposter Syndrome too. It was a relief to know it wasn’t just me). 

Sometimes fruitfulness comes when you finally learn to target your work to the right market for it. It took me ages to do that. 

So I know now in a way I didn’t when I started out some of the rejections I received were nothing to do with the quality of my work. I had simply sent them to the wrong place. It is as you find out more about the writing world, you then discover other markets and competitions which are more suitable for what you do and you learn to become the square peg fitting into the square hole.

When the acceptances come, you truly will have worked hard for them. Fruitfulness has to come out of something.

I am no gardener (mowing the lawn is my top skill here) but I do know to get anything out of the ground the gardener has to prepare as much as they can by feeding it (and inevitably hoping for the rain to come at the right time in the right quantities). As writers, we have to prepare the ground too. How?

We work with our imaginations. We need to feed them. The best way to do that is to read widely and well. Read inside and outside of your genre. Read paperbacks. Read ebooks. Read magazines. Read contemporary and classic. Have a great reading diet. 

I was judging a woman’s short story competition earlier this year and one of my top tips there was to read regularly the magazine they were targeting with their tales and to tell their loved ones they were carrying out vital market research! (They would be too! It is one of the loveliest features of the writing life is we get to read as well - two interests for the price of one if you like).

And fruit does not start out as the finished result. It starts with a seed. Seeds grow. Writing grows. Give yourself time. And read. Did I mention that already? 

Post a Comment