Sunday, July 4, 2010

gardening and writing

Here's some more writing insights I've learned from gardening. I don't go for the formal, defined garden, but even a casual, informal garden takes a lot of work. While I love color and blossoms, I also love shade trees and lots of green. The two don't always mix. In my writing I lean towards the dark side of life - which doesn't mean it has to be dreary - I just have to remember to have pockets of sunlight - surprise hugs of warmth. Contrast keeps writing and gardens interesting.

Gardening, like writing, is more successful when there's anticipation. And a garden with plants that promise future blooms, rather than a constant sameness of color, keeps the garden visitor coming back for more. Each morning I walk through my garden and indulge in the growth that makes for constant change. In books, I want a character and a plot that surprises me and that makes me want to re-visit the character and see what's developing in that imaginary world.

I've also learned that pruning and weeding are ruthless, but necessary parts of gardening. To do this properly, I've had to learn to identify the difference between a weed and a promising flower. It's taken me a while, but I'm learning. In the same way, some words I write are simply weeds. But it's only by getting in there and writing that I can gain the confidence to distinguish strong writing from weedy trash.

And the greatest thing about gardening and writing, is that you can always re-plant and re-write. And then there's that great recycling place called the compost pile. Nothing is ever wasted. All it takes is time and a little bit of getting dirty.

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