Monday, January 19, 2009

Pinch Off Those Suckers

Fresh, homegrown tomatoes. Ah, my mouth waters thinking about them. My grandmother and mother grew these plants from my earliest memory. While I enjoy growing vegetables, there's something special about watching these juicy treats form on the vine.

Mom taught me to pinch off the suckers on the tomato plants. While those shoots look promising, they siphon off energy from the fruit-bearing branches. By simply removing them, the plant gets a much-needed boost.

There's a ton of information out there on the Internet about writing, marketing, blogging, and every possible genre. I'm one of those people who dive in with both feet, and often find myself drowning in facts. Recently, I've become more selective about the websites and blogs I frequent. If it isn't moving me toward my writing goals, I "pinch it off" my writing plant. My time and energy is conserved for the "fruit-bearing" efforts of improving my craft, building a platform, and putting in that all-important BOC (bottom on chair) time.

Are there areas in your writing life that may be fun, but not moving you closer to your goals? Have you cut back in some ways or re-focused your attention when it comes to the Internet?


Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, what a great, great metaphor! Yes, I used to read author's websites and tons of articles about the craft of writing, but haven't now in a long time. There's only so long you can read about something before it's time to do it. :-)
I didn't know about suckers on tomato plants. My husband likes to grow tomatoes. I wonder if he knows?

Good for you, for using your time wisely. I'm still discovering ways to do this too.

Terri Tiffany said...

Good post--I've had to limit my time and some blogs I visit as I find they aren't providing the motivation I need.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Motivation is a key issue for me also. Sometimes I don't need a lot of technical direction, but simple encouragement to persevere.

Thanks for commenting.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

"There's only so long you can read about something before it's time to do it."

We can apply that principle not only to our writing, but also to our Christian walk. Scripture talks about being doers of the Word and not hearers only.

Great, great point. As far as using my time wisely, I win some and I lose some. I'm still learning how to prioritize.

When I do my morning devotions, I ask the Lord to lead me and show me what he wants me to accomplish.
This morning, I prepared 3 devotionals for submission and worked on a short story.

Thanks for commenting.

Susan :)

Rita Gerlach said...

Like Terri, I too have limited my time of blogs. I recently went through my list and deleted the ones that are not providing good information or motivation. This caused me to analyze my own blogs. I joined a bunch of Ning networks for author, as well as Shout Life last year, and could not keep up. So they are on the back burner.

By the way, Susan. You asked on InSpire if I'd share about Platform building. I have posted the first of 2 articles on Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers blog.

Sarah said...

Unfortunately, a lot of what I read on the internet doesn't really move me ahead with my writing ambitions (not including your blog, of course). Sometimes I just want to be entertained.

I don't watch TV too often so I figure this is my trade-off? :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

Whew! I'm glad I'm not one of those suckers you need to pinch off. LOL! I sure try to provide solid, encouraging content.

As I said over at Jessica's blog in the comments, Facebook is great. I've been in love with email ever since I discovered it, but Facebook is even better. Consequently, I have to watch the amount of time I spend on it.

When I come down to my office, my first instinct is to go on the Internet. Lately, I've gone directly into Word and tried to get some BOC time first.

Oh my, this is longer than my post!

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Inspire -

I went through my Favorites the other day and deleted about 10 blogs I rarely visit. Others, I visit weekly and skim to see if there's anything I want to read.

One thing I've learned is to keep my posts short. When I see a super-long post, my eyes glaze over.

Thanks, I'll pop over to Stepping Stones this evening.

Susan :)

Kevin said...

Wow. Thank you for this. I am just getting started on this journey, and I've noticed I spend more time looking at 'how to' postings on blogs than BOC time--- that is so cute! Did you invent it?
Thanks again for helping me focus. And, I totally agree with simply needing encouragement more often than I need another 'how to' article.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jeanette -

I wish I had coined that term, but it's been around for awhile. :)
One thing I need to remember is that writers WRITE.

Glad the post helped you.


P.S. I still have not been able to comment on your blog. I get to the word verification and hit the button, but nothing happens. You might want to look into the problem.

quietspirit said...

I am doing a study on Proverbs 31:10-31 this winter. One of the days studies last week pointed out how we need to be selective in what we do.
I have found,as a writer, I have to be selective in internet time, chat times with friends, television time, and going out to eat with my husband.
As for writing time, I still am limited to afternoons and evenings. But I do NEED to watch where I go on the Internet.
Thank you for the reminder.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

You made an important observation. Where we go on the Internet, what TV programs we watch, and the amount of time we devote to leisure activities will impact our writing.

It's not only the time involved, but the content. There's a saying with computers, "garbage in, garbage out." If we want quality writing to come out of us, we have to nourish our spirit and soul with God-honoring material.

Gotta run. Off to get my hair cut.

Susan :)

Christina Tarabochia said...

I used to visit my entire blog roll daily. Now I go through once or twice a week. I miss the instant gratification, but I really need to be writing when the kids are otherwise occupied!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Christina -

I go through my blogroll every day. My problem is I go through everyone else's blogroll too. LOL!
Did I tell you? I love blogs.

Anyway, I've cut back on that practice. It's so easy to get caught up on the Internet for hours.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Susan :)

Crystal Laine said...

I just learn so much from you! I love tomatoes and used to grow them when I had garden ground. Sigh. Made me miss my garden, but now I have a woods!

I just awarded you the Premio-Dardas Award on my blog. Thank you for beautiful posts.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal -

Thank you so much. You made my day. With all your writing experience, I'm humbled that you can learn anything from me.

I don't do as much gardening as I'd like. My present yard is not conducive to planting. My last tomato plant was grown in a container, but I did have a good crop. :)

How exciting! I'll have to pop over to your blog and see the award.

Susan :)

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA said...

Tomatoes hold a very special place in my heart and in my life too, dear Susan. We Italians use the tomato as a staple food without which Italian cuisine would hardly exist. :)

Your post about removing the "suckers" from tomato plants is so a propos. Thanks for the great reminder.



Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Mary Ann -

I'm only 1/4 Italian, but it's the strongest part of my heritage. I can't imagine my diet bereft of meatballs and spaghetti and other Italian specialties.

BTW, check out the latest post. You were given an award. :)