Scott Gese: April 2015 Barefoot Writing Challenge Winner

Barefoot Writer Scott Gese

Barefoot Writer Scott Gese

Congratulations to Scott Gese for Winning the April 2015 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The Challenge was to write an essay that answered this question:

Spring is a time of renewal. What’s something new you’re doing this year to move yourself closer to your Barefoot Writing goals?

Scott shared the story of how he realized what it takes to grow a thriving, bountiful writer’s life. Enjoy his winning submission:

How Gardening Improved My Copywriting Career

By Scott Gese

It was the weekend and I was up early, searching for a way to bring in more revenue from my fledgling copywriting business. I had started out strong, but recently, the number of jobs was beginning to level off and I was trying to comprehend why.

As I enjoyed the warm rays of the bright morning sun streaming in through the breakfast room window where I sat, I could see my neighbor, Ned, out in his yard. He was turning over the soil in his vegetable garden. Seems he was always out there doing something.

Ned was a total distraction to my thought process. I couldn’t help but watch him as he used a spade to meticulously turn the soil when he could have done the job much faster by using a rototiller. It bugged me.

But, that’s Ned. He’s very organized and seems to do everything with a purpose in mind.

Each year, his garden offers up the most wonderful bounty. It’s truly a sight to behold. The plants are almost cartoonish in size. Very well fed, lush, and healthy. They produce more than enough to feed his family for the year, and what can’t be used, he graciously shares with others.
I throw out a few seeds myself each season but never seem to get the same results. I always use a fresh bag of fertilizer purchased from the local hardware store and a professional grade weed killer to boot. I even water several times a week, but my results are a far cry from the garden of my neighbor.
Ned, on the other hand, spends much more time and energy on every aspect of the process. He hand spreads organic compost and skillfully works it into the soil. He sprouts his seeds and selects only the best ones before planting them with care. He even gets down on his hands and knees to pull weeds, and he waters his garden every single day.

As I sat there contemplating the difference between our two techniques, it hit me.
I realized something I had learned early on in my copywriting career, but had been seriously neglecting.
Unlike my neighbor, who understands the whole concept of raising a healthy garden and works each aspect of the process in order to achieve a favorable outcome, I’ve been letting my copywriting business cruise on autopilot expecting great results to just fall in my lap, but my lack of effort is showing me otherwise. No wonder my workload had been so light.

Thanks to Ned, I’ve come to realize that copywriting is a lot like tending a garden. You get out of it what you put into it — and I haven’t been putting enough effort into either one. This year, I plan to take charge of the whole process. My business will be better for it, and so will my garden.



  1. Tim Matassa on

    Truly a great lesson I need to keep in mind, Scott. And it made me think of my grandfather’s garden from years ago. Congratulations!

    – Tim

  2. Hi, Scott:

    Beautiful essay, visual and thoughtful. As I read it, a main theme stood out to me: care. When we care for living things, they grow, be it our garden…our writing business. Thank you.

    Best of luck and congratulations.


  3. RockyBallad on

    Scott – a garden can be a wonderful source of inspiration for many different reasons. You associated its aspects to the kind of copywriting we all wish to have – one that thrives! Kudos.

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