After planting the garden last month, my son and I hovered over the fence everyday, waiting for the seedlings to poke through the soil. Then - viola! - there they were.
Red-leaf lettuce, check
Sugar snap peas, nada.
"Maybe we planted the seeds too deep," my son said to me as we dragged our trowels across the dirt, making another trough for the seeds.
"Or too shallow and the birds ate them," I offered.
Or maybe it had nothing to do with our planting skills at all. Maybe it was just another incident of Mystery Garden Fail. The pea trellis he built from metal stakes and wire the month before stood woefully bare. Now it had to wait another month to get any use.
Then last night I saw the culprit: a baby bunny hiding in the tiger lily patch slipped out from under the leaves and started chewing on the newest pea seedlings. Hmmm. So far he's content with those and the dandelion leaves along the border. We stuck a cheap wire fence around the lettuce and carrots. We've given up on the peas for now.
Writing is like gardening. Sometimes we write and write and write, producing nothing more than words on a page. The sentences don't grow into paragraphs that grow into chapters that develop into a manuscript that tells a good story, no matter what we do. Or maybe we write a good story but it's not a marketable story. It languishes in slush piles. It collects rejections.
Next spring we'll line the bottom of the garden fence with wire mesh to keep the rabbits from slipping under for their late-night snacks. We've learned from experience, and that sometimes we have to start over, reexamining our methods. But that's okay, right?
Writing, even if it seems fruitless, is how we learn to be better writers.
"All we can do is write dutifully and day after day, every day, giving our work the very best of what we are capable." - Madeleine L'Engle