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He Sowed Seeds, I Sow Words: Lessons on Writing from my Grandfather

By Tamara D. Fickas

Grandpa spent much of his life working the land, coaxing forth new life that would nourish many. Farming was in his blood, so he toiled long hours in the fields. Over the years, I realized there is much I could learn from Grandpa. I don’t sow seeds; I sow words. Writing is in my blood, so I toil long hours at it. I found there are some things writers can learn from a farmer.

1. We must nurture our work.

Before a farmer even plants the seed, he works the ground. The ground is broken up and fertilized. Without that beginning nurture, the seeds have less of a chance to make it. After planting the seeds the farmer must then water and watch for weeds.

In the same vein, we writers have to prepare our writing. This may be taking classes or seeking out mentors. We need to spend time learning the craft in order to be successful. If we neglect the nurture, our work will be flat and lifeless like that field that has been neglected.

2. Hard work comes before the harvest.

From sun up to sun down, the farmer learns to use his time wisely. The backbreaking work may have been made some easier by modern technology, but it is still hard work. All summer long he labors over his fields to keep the crop growing. The harvest can’t happen unless the work happens.

Writing is hard work. The internet and computers have made our job easier in some ways, but the only way to be successful is to put in the hours. Writers must use their hours just as wisely as a farmer in order to be successful. Without the hours in the chair with hands on the keyboards we will never have the harvest of words for which we strive.

3. Sometimes the ground needs to rest.

A farmer learns to rotate his crops and let fields lie bare for a season. This replenishes the soil and is an important step to producing good crops. Without the time to renew the land, the harvest will not be as abundant as it could be.

We writers also need to learn when to stop and rest. We need to allow our work to sit for a while before returning to edit and revise it. Trying to rush the process only succeeds in making our work less than it can be.

Yes, my grandpa had a very different life than I do. He worked a very physically demanding job for many years. As a writer my job isn’t physically demanding, but it is mentally demanding. Still, there is much to be learned from my grandfather’s work. The lessons I have learned from him have been applied to my writing. In our differences there is similarity. It is true, I am a farmer’s granddaughter and I am working my writing fields.

Tamara Fickas – Christian, storyteller, writer, speaker, encourager. She lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her beloved kitty boy, Wilson. When not writing she loves adventures, time with her dad, reading, and making people laugh. Life experiences, her vivid imagination, coffee, and Hot Tamales fuel her writing.

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2 Responses to He Sowed Seeds, I Sow Words: Lessons on Writing from my Grandfather

  1. Love the analogy! In the spring farmers sow their seeds with such hope, and most years reap disappointment in either the weather or the market. But then there’s that year that everything comes together for a bumper crop with good prices. Writing is like that, too.

  2. Beth K. Vogt says:

    Beautiful analogy here. And I also appreciate what Pat added to it. Both farmers and writers need to live each day with faith and hope, believing their hard work is worth it. We must persevere through the good times and the difficult times.

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