As is often the way with everyday magic, you don’t notice it even when it’s right under your nose. Or encircling your back yard. We lived in the house for a few years before we realized we lived in wild berry heaven. Our land bursts with joyful, succulent gifts every July, but we never noticed until we slowed down to a toddler’s pace and humbled ourselves to look at the world through the eyes of a child.
And now our second girl is a passionate berry picker too. She’s insatiable, really, but at least we know where to find her when we say “but I thought YOU were watching her!”
This need to chaperone a two year-old in a fruitful paradise that also features thorns, concealed ditches, ticks, snakes, and poison ivy brings life to a halt a few times each day.
When at my best, I'm a merry companion willing to tear my dress to reach that perfect cluster of sweetness. Then there are the moments when I’m itching to start dinner or do some writing or simply go find some shoes so I can satisfy the incessant requests for “Berries! Berries! Mama, ber-RIES!” without injuring myself.
We’re not just picking fruit in the berry patch. We're taking lessons in patience, creativity, and picking the perfect moment.
There are also the in-between times when it’s possible to be the present parent and take an expedition into my own creativity at the same time.
As I said, it took us a while to notice we even had something so wonderful to harvest. But now that we know what to look for and we’ve come to expect this annual burst of Mother Earth’s abundance, we have a chance to learn the berries’ stages of growth. And impatient pickers that we may be, we try to act accordingly.
We know the tight fists, tough beginnings, sparkling jewels, and shining stars. These are the prickly buds, the unripe fruits, the ultimate treat, and the beauty left behind when a berry has been picked.
You can develop and enjoy the harvests of a writing practice in the same way.
Now, think about that story you’ve been longing to tell, the idea that you long to pull out of your head and put on paper. Consider the post that you want to see take root in the hearts of your audience…
At what stage are you? What can you do and what can you expect?
Is it a prickly bud? Perhaps all of the energy still needs to be aimed inward. The idea still needs more time. Though things look quiet from the outside, there’s tremendous growth and organization happening within. The reward seems terribly far off, but the promise is huge.
You need to give yourself time to write some meandering first drafts and to let yourself spend time on the self-focused first draft. Allow. Explore. Practice patience.
Is it unripe fruit? Maybe the structure of the piece of writing has emerged and now you’re tempted to push it out into the world, even if it’s not fully ready. This is when you must remember that the surest way to a disappointment - and a sore stomach - is found when you force a still-in-process post or product in the world. Perfection isn’t the goal, but putting out something that you know is unready is a way of devaluing yourself, your story, and your audience.
Walk away from the piece for hours or days and return with fresh eyes. Call on a friend or think about hiring a writing and storytelling coach who can help you see the big picture and fit all of the vital pieces together.
Is it the ideal moment to harvest? With love, time, and attention - or water, time, and sunshine - that piece of writing is ready to emerge in all of its fullness. Oh, it tastes so sweet on your tongue and it will bring such pleasure and nourishment to those you share it with!
Hit publish and savor the sweetness.
Is it time to share the beauty? There’s a bit of sadness when you release a treasured idea into a world where it might be gobbled up or left to rot on the shelf. Trust that you nurtured your idea with attention and patience. Trust its inherent nurturing nature and promote yourself.
Let other people know about your little shining star. And what if you put it out there and no one seems to notice? Try again. We live in an age of media saturation and a lack of response isn’t a judgement of your work’s worthiness.
I wish I could have you over for a chat down in our berry patch. Let's try the next best thing: set up a free 15 minute consultation to discuss how I can help you get from first shoots to a brilliant harvest.