Friday, January 09, 2009

Garden Views: Editing

Over time, we change, our taste changes, the publishing world changes, the amount of time we want to spend writing changes and our capabilities to manage our writing and ourselves changes. What this means to garden writers is that their careers should be periodically edited.
When? When that career no longer functions as intended, when gardens don’t provide a source of mental or emotional stimulation, when the writing has grown too dull, when the two magazines that were the primary income source have folded and sadly, when garden writing no longer provides the pleasure it once did.

As with everything in life, career happiness is directly proportional to the difference between our expectations and our ability to achieve them. If you can only earn $2,000 per year writing gardening articles, it’s unrealistic to hope that you’ll have earned $100,000 at the end of your five- year plan. You must either change your expectations, or your ability to sell your writing ($100,000 is not a realistic income expectation for a garden writer).

Editing usually means taking something out, but it can also mean moving things around, so that the writing, or your career, flows more smoothly. This can apply to the list of publishers you approach, your work environment, your schedule, your work mix, etc. Apply the 80/20 rule: 80% of your income will come from 20% of your clients. Concentrate 80% of your efforts on those publishers!

Think about the best use of your garden writing time and talent right now. Then start editing to bring that vision closer to reality.

Lois de Vries' thoughts on gardening and environmental issues run the gamut from gardening in her own back yard to promoting land management practices that reconnect people to the Earth. Lois is seeking a publisher for her book, The Transformational Power of Gardening. Visit her blog at

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