Sunday, May 28, 2017

Writing is Like Gardening by Connie Vines

Gardening and writing are all about the big picture


Now one thing is certain – both activities require a great amount of planning if you wish to be successful.

Gardens are made with planning in mind, especially if you happen to be a person who likes the visual arts.  Writing a novel, short-story, or an article carries the same care, understanding, and patience to gently usher a new life from the soil and see it grow and bloom in the light of day.
Much like lawn care requires trimming and hedging, weed control, and careful gardening, writing requires information gathering, sifting through data, facts and rumors to forge the ideas from all of this into something coherent and easily repeatable by all who read it.

The little details shared between both.

There are plenty of small details to worry about with small seedlings struggling in rain, wind and sunlight to grow and thrive in the light, possibly becoming large and strong plants as time goes by.
Just like this, writing possesses the same attention to detail needed to make sure your works thrive in the long run. Depending on what kind of writing you do, your articles, books or stories will also need to extend their roots toward the very ground that feeds them – the human mind.

Much like plants, your works may one day blossom to become a center of human attention, basking in the sun of popularity and giving fruit for those around them, spreading their ideas like seeds.
Patience is key to growth

Much like the tender beginnings of seedlings need patience, care and love, writing your own work requires the same approach.

The scenes you create, the information you share over the course of time will help become the food for thought of the final form of your work, just like all seedlings need care to become majestic plants. To reach the destination at the end of the road, you will need to walk that road first.
The goal is the fruit of your labors.

You can’t always control the outcome of what you do; it is much the same with writing as it is with plants. Your works won’t always flourish, the conditions may not always be right for them to grow and some will wither and die.


It is inevitable, such is the circle of life, such is the circle of ideas and information around the world. Keep that in mind, keep working hard and even as you fall sometimes, pick yourself up and remember that the end of the road holds the biggest prize you will ever have – your own success.
My latest lesson involved tomatoes. This year I’m trying to grow the Heirloom variety. I’ve never succeeded in growing them in the past, but I so love their colorful, crunchy addition to my salads that I keep on trying. This summer, my Early Girl tomatoes are growing in abundance.  But I’ve again watched helplessly as a late cold snap in May (unheard of her in So. California) turned the health green leafage into curling yellow leaves and the promising green globes into not-so-healthy appearing offerings on the vine.



I asked my local ‘plant guru’ and consulted past journal scribbles (yes, I keep notes about everything 😊).

I planted too early.  I planted too late.  Heirlooms don’t do well in this area.  Go back to planting Beef-Steak tomatoes.

So many suggestions.  So many paths.

What does this have to do with writing novels and short stories for publication? Or with life in general? Everything.

We often believe that, if we have a goal and work hard at it…we should expect to succeed. But in life, as with gardening, events over which we have no control may either enhance or stand in the way of our success.

For tomatoes, if the soil (never plan in the same location year, after year) or weather aren’t right (or disease, vermin, or insects attack the plant), the plants may not develop healthy fruits. I can try to solve the problem, if I ever discover what it is. But I also might be wise to vary my crops in the hope of coming across another vegetable that I can successfully grow with a lot less trauma.
New writers often start out having a vision of a particular story. If that completed novel, novella, or short story doesn’t get snapped up by an agent and immediately sold to a publisher—the author may be tempted to either give up on writing altogether, or spend years agonizing over revisions of the same story.

A senior editor at a major New York publisher once told me that her best advice to novice writers was to, yes, be persistent—work on your craft daily and keep submitting—but experiment with a variety of genres and styles of writing. Because we just don’t know what we’ll be good at.

Besides, we can’t stand around forever, mourning those rotting tomatoes or underappreciated stories.
Much like plants, your works may one day blossom to become a center of human attention, basking in the sun of popularity and giving fruit for those around them, spreading their ideas like seeds.

Keep writing.

Keep gardening.

Keep working hard and even as you fall sometimes, pick yourself up and remember that the end of the road holds the biggest prize you will ever have – your own success.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Connie


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