Anne Bean

I make delicious words. // I make words delicious.

Sow What You Plant

Or, some ways that being a freelance writer is a lot like gardening.

image: raised garden beds and containers in a front yard near a street

My actual vegetable garden. Definitely not my freelance writing career.

But, like, high stakes gardening where you don’t have a grocery store, so what you sow is what you harvest, and that’s both what you eat and where you get your money from.

And maybe you can do some trading with other farmers so you don’t have to, like, raise a cow if you were really just trying to focus on vegetable gardening. And sometimes you have a pretty well-balanced garden, but sometimes you’re like, hey, I have zucchini…and…zucchini. And then people are like “do you know how many people in this town have zucchini? I could definitely find someone to sell it cheaper than you’re offering.” But then, you can’t lower the price of your zucchini or give it away for free, even if people are like “but I’ll give your zucchini to such a big audience! It’ll be great exposure!”

image: zucchini growing in a gardenAnd in general you have to remember to do succession plantings or else your crops will all ripen at once and you’ll have like two hectic weeks where you make a ton of money, and then a huge dry spell where you have to wait for the new seeds to grow. And you have to pay attention to your garden every day or else some connections will run dry and some of your crops will die out, and you’ll have to plant them all over again. You have to pay attention to your garden every day. Weekends? What are weekends? Plants don’t recognize weekends.

And the thing is, you only have so much time and space to garden, and even if you have extra seeds, there is only so much space for them to grow. When your beds are full, they’re full! And if you’ve chosen to grow something that’s not a particularly good crop, or a crop that takes up a lot of space for a low yield, then that’s what you’re stuck with, and that’s the money you’re going to make.

And there are definitely seasons: sometimes some crops just don’t grow as well. There’s usually something you can grow to make it through, but sometimes taking care of the garden will take just a little bit of time and then you have a whole bunch of extra time on your hands to plan the next season or to feel a sense of existential guilt because your career path doesn’t look Normal. Sometimes everything is ripening at once, and you’re run off your feet.

And you’ve got to make sure that you’re talking to plenty of people around town who have a keen interest in vegetables. Sometimes you get a gig with some bigger institution like a restaurant, which is great because they’ll order a lot of vegetables from you. But sometimes you’re selling veggies to individual people.

Some lucky people have made this CSA site called Patreon work out for them, but you’ve got to be a specific kind of gardening operation for that to work.


Anyway I was going to write about freelance writing, but whatever.

1 Comment

  1. So, I looked at Patreon and wondered how one got on the site and if the money listed under their names was from donations. Do you know? Then, I wondered, do the site managers sift off some of the donations to support their own venture.
    Also, plants don’t recognize weekends, but people do and NEED them, even if they do not happen on Saturday or Sunday, the culturally official weekend. As a fellow creative person, I cherish my stepping out of the current Market Place so I can paint, write and think without having to have money and other’s opinions involved.

    Want steady money to support your creative habits??? Easy. START WRITING GROUPS for younger people…like 6-10 and 11-17 (I guessed random ages, YOU have a better handle on this.)

    My suggestion is based on a personal whine. I was “whining” that Mother would say “just do it”, without any teaching or modeling. She did not show me how to do things, I was just expected to know when to help and how to wash dishes, set tables, sweep floors. At least I was not burned to death in a house fire while she did drugs…so I am not dissing…just whining. Actually, I prefer “whinge”, but words are not real unless in a dictionary, right? Well, it’s THERE, but it is not in the Scrabble Dictionary. WOW, actually it IS THERE….so why in hell can I not use it in my online Word games!!! (Whinge!)

    So, writing groups for kids who are interested….like sports for those who’d rather write. Hugs

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