Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. I am JQ (Janet) Rose, your host.
Photo by JQ Rose
tomatoes at the moment. GT, (Gardener Ted), made 1.5 gallons of tomato juice yesterday!
The question is:
What Do Gardening and Writing Have in Common?
What do gardening and writing have in common? You may smile at that question because that sounds absurd. But, after much consideration, I realized they are very similar.
|GT in our garden|
Perhaps you’re wondering why I would even think about such a comparison. It’s because my husband, Gardener Ted, is the gardener in our family. I am the writer. These two topics are foremost in my mind in the growing season.
Read on to find out what similarities I see in gardening and writing in preparation, planning, nurturing and harvesting. Can you think of more?
*Preparing a garden for planting—Before a gardener can plant the garden, she has to turn the soil over to get rid of all the dead plants, leaves, and detritus in the plot. Perhaps the garden needs added nutrients to grow the plants, so a soil sample sent to the County can help determine what is required to grow plants. A water source close to the plot is ideal so one does not have to carry buckets of water every day.
A writer prepares to write by gathering the seeds of inspiration that try to root in our fertile brains. Select one, then focus on that one. It seems that ideas fill the writer’s brain while walking, in the shower, or in the middle of the night when one does not have access to writing down those brilliant ideas for characters, settings and situations.
|Gardening and Writing|
*Planning a garden—Before doing any planting, the gardener sits down and sketches the layout of the plot to determine how much growing space she has. This will help her decide where to put the plants and how many she needs for the season.
In my case, as a planner, not a pantser-style writer, I make notes about the story I am going to write. Some writers outline their story, make a storyboard or sketch scenes that they see clearly. Then there are the pantser writers who write by the seat of their pants with no planning. I have tried that, and I made more work for myself because I had to remove a LOT of words that did not move the story forward.
*Planting the garden-- One does not haphazardly decide to throw seeds in the garden or plant seedlings anyplace without considering the shade and sunny areas. Read the back of the seed package to discover when to plant the seed and how many days it will be for harvesting. Be practical and realize the size of the area you have for a garden. Don’t buy a ton of plants with no room to plant them!
Planting for a writer is putting words on the page. Beginning a story can be difficult for those who are perfectionists. Don’t be paralyzed by trying to get the perfect beginning to the story. From experience, I realize the beginning usually has to change once the ending is written. The first draft is written knowing there will be changes to make a tighter, stronger story in the second draft, and the next and the next... Ernest Hemingway said, “The only writing is re-writing.”
*Nurturing the garden—I love gardeners. They are optimists. Every spring when they plan and plant the garden, they always look forward to a great harvest. Even if last year’s crops were pitiful, they plant with happy hearts seeing only a productive, tasty outcome. But they do not plant the garden and then leave it to grow on its own. It takes work to get results--caring for the plants by weeding, fertilizing, and fighting pesky insects’ invasions as well as, protecting the plants from hungry rabbits and deer. Because Mother Nature likes to play tricks on gardeners, they are always watchful of temperature changes and rainfall.
A writer doesn’t write the story and then leave it alone either. There must be many readings to edit for the flow of the story, character development, grammar, punctuation, making sure your character has blue eyes and drives a red car throughout the story and a satisfying ending that wraps up loose ends.
*Harvesting the garden—The reward for the hard work is a crop of delicious vegetables brought from the garden, washed, prepared and eaten at the gardener’s table. Another unexpected reward is the smiles on neighbors and friends when the gardener shares her vegetables with them.
Much like sharing the harvest, the reward for a writer is finishing the story, poem, novel or essay and sharing it with others. I know many write for the joy of telling a story but keep it locked in their computer, a drawer or hidden under the bed. I encourage you to read or tell your stories whether reading them to a friend or group or publishing them for the whole world to enjoy.
Another reward I didn’t know about until I was a published author is meeting other authors/writers along the way. I have met so many generous, kind writers through the Internet. Many I call friends even if we have never met in person. The whole world opens up to you when you join the amazing folks who are writing their stories.