Tomatoes and Writing Books: Try, try again

You don’t know how magical these little berries in my hand actually are. Well, they’re not berries. They’re tomatoes.

Or they will be anyway.

I have tried to get tomatoes now for exactly four years. My family and I moved to our new home four years ago and one of my goals was to garden for the first time ever in my adult life. I really wanted tomato plants more than anything, but if you’ve ever gardened you know it’s not as simple as dropping seeds in the ground and praying for rain.

Three years ago I wasn’t ready. We were still very much moving. In fact, we still have boxes in the garage to unpack!

Two years ago I planted little tomato plants, but I did not follow the instructions. I planted them too late in the season and immediately in direct sunlight. They died- quickly.

One year ago, I followed all instructions. I was so prepared. I had planned for this season for months. Two weeks in the ground and all plants looked great and were going strong.

One morning I went out to check on them and half of them were gone. By the time I realized the deer had gotten them and returned from the store with a “deer net” the rest were gone.

But this… this is my year. I have done the research. I have paid the price. I have poured sweat and tears. I have laid the foundation.

This year I am finally seeing the fruits of my labor.

The key? I didn’t quit.

I don’t think I could have achieved these results in one season and in fact, I didn’t. I think this whole tale is an analogy for my writing career and probably for a lot of others too. I never gave up on my plan to one day have tomatoes. Even though I dove in and put the plants in the ground the very first year, I still had a lot to learn. I did the research and came back stronger each time. And this year I am getting my tomatoes.

Writing is not always the easiest industry to be a part of. You open yourself up to a lot of criticism and there is a lot to learn. Writing a book is much like gardening in that way. When it comes to both, I want to encourage you to keep showing up strong every season.

I want to encourage you to try and try again.


When it comes to both tomatoes and authoring, be open to feedback and research. Consult with people who have done it before. Put something in the ground. Water it and shine some light on it. Protect it, nurture it, watch it grow. Share it with neighbors and coworkers.

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It might not look like you want it to I’m the first year or two, but if you don’t keep coming back, the one thing we know for sure is that it will never happen. I would love to hear your stories about your author’s path.

Shoot me an email at Just don’t stop doing the things your heart is calling you to do.


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About Deedee Cummings

As a therapist, attorney, author, and CEO of Make A Way Media, Deedee Cummings has a passion for making the world a better place. All 15 of Cummings’ diverse picture, poetry, and workbooks for kids reflect her professional knowledge and love of life. Colorful and vibrant, her children’s books are not only fun for kids and adults to read, they also work to teach coping skills, reinforce the universal message of love, encourage mindfulness, and facilitate inclusion for all. Cummings has spent more than two decades working within the family therapy and support field and much of her writing shares her experiences of working with kids in therapeutic foster care. As a result, her catalogs of published books for kids are filled with positive, hopeful messages. Using therapeutic techniques in her stories to teach coping skills, Cummings also strives to lessen the stigma that some people feel when it comes to receiving mental health assistance.
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