by Rhonda Eichman
I signed my name to my first traditional book contract a few weeks ago, marking the beginning of spring and a new beginning for me. Before retiring at the end of last year, I worked for over 48 years in offices doing clerical and bookkeeping and squeezing in writing time on breaks and lunch hours. I have written and published a few poems and even an article for a local magazine. They all had one theme, the Kansas prairie and how it looks, smells, and feels. I have lived on this prairie my whole life and love to explore it. It blossoms in the spring with wildflowers and dries up to brittle plants that crack under your feet my summer’s end. The area in the southwest where I live is suffering drought and has been for the last few years. We cherish each drop of rain. If you want to plant and nurture a garden, one must have an irrigation or sprinkler system for the garden plot. I plant each year and each year I have better results. The first time I planted, it died out half way through the season. Now as each year progresses through the seasons, I have harvested vegetables and collected flowers for bouquets for myself and others.
It works that way with writing too. You jot down a few seeds of ideas and then work with them to create a poem or an article and finally one finds a theme that begs for water and fertilizer to bloom into a book. I found one of my seeds from a short story I wrote that just did not want to end. My first historical fiction novel, Bargain on the Prairie, is coming out in October of this year from DWB Publishing. I am working on the second book, Horsethief Canyon, a sequel because the story will just not stop. Hopefully it will see the light of day also. My contract for the first novel has a right of first refusal for a sequel. I plan, or should I say, plant to harvest again. I am also nurturing seedlings on the window sill in preparation for the garden plot out on the farm which led me to my folder of poetry seeds. I water my seedlings on the window sill and sit down to edit and dust off enough of my poetry for a poetry collection that I hope will be of interest to an editor. This year will be the bounty of harvest for garden produce and for my writing.
Whatever you write, water it every day with your time and energy. The plant will produce for you, then you can decide how to use it. Whatever you do, do not leave it in a drawer where it will never see the light of day and will just whither and be tossed out when you finally clean out your desk. Give yourself the fertilizer of rest, healthy exercise, and clean foods so you can produce and flower with words that others will enjoy and find a useful place for in their lives. Offer all you have in every bouquet and do not be afraid to trim and edit your stems, so they are just the right height for a reader to enjoy.
* * *
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!