My friend Debra happily jumped in to help with the drawing for Sheila Roberts's new book, Small Change. We did it just like last time.
The winner is...
Marsha, please email me with your mailing address and I'll send you the autographed book ASAP!
Moving on to today's topic... (how's that for a transition?) I was working in the yard yesterday, and I got inspired to do a post comparing gardening to writing. Hubby Jim loves working in the yard and spends lots of time there. He's really good at it. I, on the other hand, don't usually enjoy yard work. At all. While reading The Secret Garden might make me feel like tending my own section of our yard, working in the fresh air and nurturing plant life in the soil around our home, the inspiration never lasts. In this way gardening is nothing like writing to me because I love writing, I look forward to it, and I spend as much time as possible writing or doing something that is writing-related. Writing is my passion while gardening, for me, is a chore. (I hope those of you who love gardening will still respect me in the morning.) Still, I can be found in the yard on rare occasions, enjoying myself.
Keeping in mind that my gardening knowledge is oh-so-limited, tell me if you think I'm on to something here.
How gardening is like writing:
1. You can't be afraid to get your hands dirty.
When you're writing, everything will not simply fall into place. To fix plot holes, to build on your theme (and you may not even be fully aware of your true theme the first time through), or to be open to revision, you have to be willing to get your hands dirty. How this is like gardening is a no brainer since, you know, plants live in the soil (a.k.a. dirt), and if you're going to mess with them...yeah. You get it.
2. Not everything we grow is fabulous. Or even good.
In writing, we sometimes get excited over something we've written that...well, sucks. These little darlings must die before they spread their little roots and choke the life out of our good stuff. Be willing to kill your darlings like weeds.
3. If you can't tell your weeds from your plants, ask for help.
Last year, I almost ripped out a dahlia thinking it was a weed. Luckily, I only garden on occasion because the little bugger blossomed into something beautiful before I got to it. I clearly need a second set of eyes in the yard. I also need experienced eyes to look over my writing.
4. If a plant is dying, maybe it just has to be moved--or nurtured.
When I kill my darlings, I often cut them out of my manuscript and paste them into a file labeled "snippets." They'll probably never see light of day, but they may make it back into the manuscript in a different spot. There's also the slim possibility that they'll take root and transform into a better idea with a little love.
5. Don't expect a miracle over night.
It takes time to make your yard beautiful. Same goes for your manuscript. Invest in your passion for the long haul.
Rather than leaving you with pictures of plants, I'll show you a few of my favorite yard sights.
This is Jim working in the yard. He's rolling out weed blocker before spreading mulch.
Isn't my little frog adorable? I saw him at the grocery store a few years ago and knew I had to have him. (Jim's story is similar, only we weren't at the grocery store and it was more than a few years ago.)
These are my yard chickens. I *heart* my yard chickens. Again, Jim's story is similar because I *heart* Jim too. Way more than the yard chickens.
What do you think? Is gardening like writing?