Sunday, September 1, 2013

This Writer's Vineyard

Tending to a writing career is similar to tending the vineyard in the hopes of growing grapes which will eventually become wine.
The secret is in having a plan and then beginning with healthy plants. Tending the plants takes time and energy and if nurtured carefully, blessed by appropriate amounts of rain and sunshine, the vines grow, the leaves uncurl, and one day the little buds of fruit appear. At this point the wine is still a distant dream, but the vineyard is off to a healthy start.
Rather like a writing career. Most often we don’t start with a plan. I did. My plan was to write a book and the whole world would want to read it. However, while I waited for that to happen, I first had to write the book and that first experience taught me I needed more than just the desire to write, I required some information, education, and focus.
Five or six books later, a publisher found one of my books good enough to be published. Not long after that yet another publisher liked another of my books. I kept writing. A couple of my books won prizes in competitions. Like the successful wineries, I could add that appellation to my labels. They sold moderately well at first, but after some neglect, people lost interest.
Tending the vineyard requires more than growing good grapes. People have to know about your wine. This is where publicity, public relations, and networking come in.
While I am on the computer several hours every day, I still feel inept when it comes to twittering, tweeting, and hashdashes, whatever it is people do on line to expose themselves and their work to the rest of the world.
 In spite of that, I have learned that diligent pursuit of the craft pays off eventually.
This week when I decided to update my webpage, I looked at my personal calendar in order to transfer dates to the web. The surprise that greeted me cheered and terrified me at the same time. My calendar has appearances, workshops, and conferences for me to attend straight through the next four months. And these are all by invitation, not anything I solicited.
When I speak, teach, or attend, the opportunities to talk about my already published and soon to be published books will undoubtedly come up in conversation. I can justifiably brag about the two published and one about to be released books with some pride and humility. Two more books are waiting in the wings, going through the gauntlet of critiques and beta readers before being exposed to the publishers for their review and, one can only  hope, acceptance.
So I nurture those vines, the fruit and keep on writing, knowing if I am diligent and caring about its development, my writing will improve, like wine, with age.
How does your vineyard grow?

Veronica (Ronnie) H Hart is this year’s faculty chairman for the Florida Writers Association annual conference. Her books, The Prince of Keegan Bay (Champagne Books) and Elena-the Girl With the Piano, (Double Edge Press) are available from the publishers and other ebook outlets. Waiting in the wings The Reluctant Daughters, due to be released in May 2014 by Double Edge Press. Running through the gauntlet at the moment are The Corpse in the Swimming Pool and Silent Autumn.


Big Mike said...

Yeah, I had a plan to hit the lights with a million copies sold and never happened, yet my sells turned from red to black. Simply needed to adjust my expectations.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Good analogy with the grapes, and then the history of the grapes. What inspired the grapes, etc.?

Veronica Helen Hart said...

The idea that I am now receiving more invitations to speak caused me to take a look at my progression as a writer - and as the column we write for is "The Writers Vineyard" it was a no-brainer for me.

Liz Fountain said...

I remember hearing Jasper Fforde say it took him ten years and seven books to "succeed." I'm becoming more convinced that tending a writing (or any creative) career is essentially the same thing as tending life. One step at a time, lots of love and determination, and gratitude for what grows.