I always thought harvesting was the fun part of the growing cycle. I still do; I just didn’t realize that it could be such hard work.
I’m not sure what I was thinking when I planted so many apple trees, but I certainly wasn’t considering what it would take to pick, move, wash, and press 1000-plus pounds of apples every year. (Wonderful friends recently saved us by helping us press!)
With a harvest, if you don’t pick your crop in time (or at all), you lose what you grew. Our tomatoes come in late and usually are still ripening when the October rain starts—leading to rotten tomatoes and a smush-fest.
There’s a stage at the end of a large and lengthy project that’s like harvesting—it’s called completion.
It’s fun except when you’re ready to be done—which I almost always am.
Authors can spend years writing, editing, and preparing for publication, only to discover when they’re ready to be done that they still need to market. (You can hear their laments rising off the pages, “But I’m not a marketer…”)
Despite the pure joy of seeing my book in print, I know there’s a lot of work ahead if I want to “harvest” the fruits of my effort.
Starters vs finishers
Normally, I’m the kind of gal who prefers to start projects rather than tidy up and finish all the details at the end. But I promised my book I’d do the work of bringing her out to the world.
(She has become rather animate, like a friend, and I don’t want to let her down.)
If, like me, you prefer to start projects rather than tie them up at the end, what do you do to motivate yourself to see a project through to completion and then some? It’s the part of the book journey that authors rarely think about when struggling to figure out what they have to say.
In a project life cycle, the “harvest” and completion stage rarely gets much attention. Putting all the tools away at the end is a lot less sexy than “Visioning” a project’s start.
This is new terrain for me, and I’m no expert. But I built some endurance by finishing my doctoral dissertation and picking way too many apples; I hope I can use some of that completion muscle to market the book.
My stepson runs marathons and knows he has to manage his energy to be able to cross the finish line—even when he’s exhausted.
To my creative friends who prefer the early stages of their work: keep going and finish at least a project or two so you can enjoy the fruits of your endeavor.
For me, it’s harvest time—so I’m off to pick a few more apples, pull down the quince from the tree, and clean up tomatoes—and promote the book.
I’m actually excited to be marketing Meeting the Muse. It’s been a long haul—but I’m starting to get my second wind.