As I weeded my garden this morning, I thought about yesterday’s post. Maybe the sun was getting to me (it hit 80 here for the first time this year), but I started to equate my writing to gardening. In many ways, they are the same.
The end result: What I get out of my garden is directly proportional to the amount of work I put into it. Writing is the same. It takes constant nurturing, constant work, and constant attention to bring forth a worthwhile product. Just as a halfhearted garden will grow poor quality vegetables – if anything at all – a halfhearted writing effort will result in a substandard story.
Weeding and thinning: In my garden the weeds seem to grow quicker than even the zucchini (zucchini would grow on the moon, I’m certain). If I didn’t pull the thistles, clovers and dandelions, they would easily take over and strangle the desirable plants. Equally important is thinning. I planted beets and was surprised to see every single seed germinated. I had to make the hard decision to pull up a bunch of baby beets. I generally removed the smaller ones but occasionally found two of exact height growing side by side and had to sacrifice one without disturbing the other. If I didn’t do this, none of the iron-rich root veggies would have adequate room to grow correctly, and I would have a poor harvest. Again, this can be applied to writing. Some parts are obviously garbage and should be deleted while others seem ok, but one has to make the hard decision to cut them out and permit the better parts to be strengthened.
Know when to fold: I planted cucumbers this spring. Because of my northern climate, they did not do well. After a month, the seeds were a no show. I opted to plow that part of the garden under and plant collards – a more appropriate cool weather crop. Within a week I had sprouts. In writing, one has to recognize when something is not working and have the intestinal fortitude to scrap the crap and start all over again.
I’m certain many more comparisons can be made between the two – reap what you sow, use the right tools, or something about patience (a virtue I do not have) – but you’ll have to excuse me from elaborating any further. I have some serious weeding to do. Indoors.