I left the farm for a weekend and flew south to Tennessee for a writing conference.
No matter how far I go from the farm, though, I always seek out farmers—so I started Saturday with a visit to the Franklin Farmers Market, where I picked up some fresh turmeric from a farmer who told me, “our soil looks like chocolate cake.”
I almost wanted to eat the soil, but they hadn’t brought it to the market.
If I’m seeking out farmers everywhere I go, why leave the farm?
Farming and writing aren’t so different from each other.
Both require cultivation. One of soil, one of words. One of customers, one of readers.
Both require pulling and pruning. Pulling weeds, pruning suckers. Editing out what doesn’t serve the larger story.
So I left the farm to cultivate my own creativity, to sow and grow relationships to nurture the writer part of me, which is just as essential as the farmer part.
I know you have different parts, too—different aspects of your life that feed your body and your soul, and I believe they’re worth cultivating. The world needs your work, needs you to show up and grow.
Still, it can be scary.
There are so many voices out there already. Some of which seem to be there just to stop you from speaking or planting a seed. If there’s one lesson to share with you from the Tribe Conference, it’s this:
“You cannot avoid rejection and do your greatest work.” –Jeff Goins
This is as true for the writer as it is for the farmer. Not everyone will want to read your work, let alone like what you write.
Take this blog, for example. Someone who’s scared of dirt and hates even the idea of growing food just isn’t going to read it. On the other hand, if someone truly believes organic is a waste of time, they’ll leave this website in a heartbeat.
That’s okay. If they get curious, I’m here.
But if I changed everything I wrote to please the people who don’t want to hear my words, then I’d miss you. And you are who I’m writing for.
For the farmer, some people will show up at market and tell you they can buy cheaper produce at the supermarket.
You know a homegrown organic tomato is an inherently different thing than a conventional tomato flown thousands of miles across the country (or countries).
Maybe the conventional tomato-like thing is cheaper. But it’s not the same. It won’t offer the same nutritional value or anywhere near the explosion of taste and tangy juice. So maybe you don’t make a sale to that person, but does that mean you’re going to cheapen the food you grow to please them? No.
It means your greatest work, the perfect tomato, is meant for someone else. Someone who can’t wait to slice into it, sprinkle sea salt and pepper over the ripe fruit, and eat it naked and raw because it’s perfect that way.
Whatever it is you choose to do in life, recognize that rejection is a sign you’re making something worthwhile.
Will you need to edit, revise, and improve your craft along the way? Absolutely.
But the more you create and the more you grow, the more you’ll understand when a rejection comes because what you made isn’t for that particular person, versus when it comes because the tomato just isn’t ripe yet.
Will you be rejected? Yes. Don’t let it stop you from doing your work.
Because beyond the rejection is celebration. Beyond the rejection is the person who will celebrate your work, eat every bite, and ask for more.
So go out and plant a seed. Grow. Make. Create something you love for someone who will love it.
Start now by deciding. What do you want to grow and create?
Put it in writing and let me know in the comments below. We can support each other and help each other grow.