Monday, July 16, 2012

Stuck in the Middle


Post by Jenny

To all gardeners who are enjoying the fruits--and veggies--of your labors, my sun hat is off to you. My garden is pretty sad. Although I’ve gotten a couple of decent zucchinis and a few cherry tomatoes, the rest looks…unmotivated. The usually-reliable beans, peas, and broccoli have done zip-nothin.’ Same for the yellow squash. The herbs are wilting in the heat, though I am able to rouse them to semi-consciousness with daily watering.

The other day, I was tempted to pull most of it out and replace it with something foolproof. Plastic daisies from the craft store, maybe. Tacky, sure, but sturdy enough to survive a Colorado hailstorm. But when I looked at the calendar, I realized that it’s only the middle of summer. With any luck, I still have at least two good months of growing season, and a lot can happen in two months. (Yeah, I’m looking at you, broccoli.)

The middle can be a sticky place. The excitement of beginning is a memory, and the finished product is barely visible over the hill. Things in the middle may not look as you expected. They may be better, or they may be worse. They may require much more work than you ever anticipated. But they may also be hinting at rewards you never dreamed of. They may point you in an entirely new direction.

I am referring to gardens. But I’m also referring to any project that takes weeks/months/years to complete, such as—oh, gosh, let me see—a manuscript. If you’re feeling stuck in the middle of one of those, I wish I could offer you some easy solutions, such as Miracle-Gro or hungry ladybugs. Lacking that, my best advice is to keep at it. Put in the daily work. Tend what you’ve done and encourage new growth. Spend a quiet moment appreciating what you’ve accomplished. Don’t focus on the weeds, for those can be pulled out later. Celebrate each success, no matter how small. My first cherry tomato of the season was tiny, but it packed a lot of flavor.

What do you do when you’re feeling stuck in the middle with your writing?

5 comments:

mare ball said...

Oh gosh! You could be writing about MY garden. It's a sad little plot. We got 17 green beans, one butternut squash, no watermelons, two cukes, and a bunch of worms. So discouraging! We're planting sunflowers next year. When i get stuck w/ writing, I take a break for day, and then reread a bit of where I left off. Things are usually clear then.

Patricia Stoltey said...

My garden too. The heat threatened to burn up everything. Flea beetles put a billion holes in my bok choy and kale leaves. My tomato plants are hysterical...they're tall and spindly and most of the blossoms turned brown before producing fruit. I've replanted some sections with beets, Swiss Chard, and green beans to see what happens.

But I do like that idea of Miracle Gro applied to a manuscript when we reach the middle. :D

Jenny said...

17 green beans is 17 more than I have :-)

A flea beetle?? Maybe I'd be a better gardener if I knew about things like this.

Linda Osmundson said...

Our garden is the pits this year also. Even the zucchini plants are suffering. The only thing growing well is the pumpkin vine that has blossomed but will probably never provide fruit. I recently planted some old seed packets. We'll see if they grow. Today we bought a honey locust tree to replace the removed purple plum that didn't survive the winter. Directions say to feed it in 10 days and 20 days after planting plus water it 5 gallons at least twice a week.

Perhaps that is what my writing needs - occasional feeding and watering twice weekly.

Kerrie said...

Love the comparison with gardening and our writing. Our garden is actually doing pretty well this year, thanks to my husband's green thumb and drip-line watering system.

I love your last paragraph: "Tend what you’ve done and encourage new growth. Spend a quiet moment appreciating what you’ve accomplished. Don’t focus on the weeds, for those can be pulled out later. Celebrate each success, no matter how small."

That is so true! We have to keep going and not let the weeds hold us back.

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