Gardening and writing are a lot alike

A few weeks ago our family planted a garden. We'll be eating plenty of cucumbers, cantalope, bell peppers, tomatoes, and even yellow watermelon (hopefully) in the next few months. But before spending hours in the backyard cutting out grass, leveling the ground, making a wooden frame and bringing in dirt and soil, we germinated most of the seeds under a grow light in the house.

It took less time than we expected to see plants sprouting out of the soil, and with only a little time, effort and water, our seedlings became big and strong. The next step was transferring them to a larger container so their roots could grow, and then it was time to get them accustomed to the sun. It's been really windy here the past month, so along with getting used to the sunlight, the little plants also needed time to get used to being whipped around.

Planting day was a laborious job, and not a fun one, in my book. I followed the girls around, tsking them for not packing the dirt in enough around the delicate little plants, or getting tired when they were only halfway done. But we survived the long afternoon, and it is now time to deal with the task of weeding and watering, and the enjoying the process as we watch them grow.

Two weeks ago we realized we'd forgotten to germinate our squash. My mother-in-law even came over to help, and we sat around the dining room table, preparing the soil pods, organizing the seeds, and labeling them with little signs. After a week or so, I decided it was time to move them outside. And then... I got preoccupied with my writing.

This is how they ended up.

DSC_0002.jpg picture by munchi5gal

See what happens when you don't give them the time and effort that they need?  These plants used to be nice and strong... now they are ugly and weak.  I was staring at them the other day, frustrated with myself for wasting everyone's time, and then I realized...

Gardening and writing are a lot alike. For one, it's easy to see the end result in the distant future, to automatically expect the big, bountiful production that's bound to arrive, eventually, at the end. I'm going to have big juicy watermelon, tons of plump tomatoes, and a bunch of cucumbers. And with the latest piece I'm working on, I'm going to have a neat ending, everything will come together, and the story will be wrapped up all perfect and nice.

But nothing is that easy. Rewards don't come without hard work, and the little things, preparations that go into gardening, like consistently pulling weeds and watering to keep the plants alive can be monotonous and time-consuming.

It's exactly the same with writing. The day to day process may not be fun, but making time everyday to consistently crunch out words and ideas in order for an entire story to come together - well, that can be just as monotonous and time-consuming as gardening, if not more so.

And just like with gardening, it doesn't take long before you start feeling worn down and stop seeing the fun in it, if you forget to look at the work right under your nose and only focus on what should happen in the end.

I'd like to be able to say that after my little gardening epiphany, things picked up and both my garden and my WiP are in tip-top shape. That would be the perfect ending to this post, don't you think? Sure, the garden is doing well, and for the most part I've gotten over the fact that our chance to have squash this year has been squashed. (Ha ha.) My writing, on the other hand? Well, that's a bit of a different story. (Bah-duh-dum)

I know the beginning, I know the end, I know the middle. Actually, I know the entire story line, but the problem is, there are two. The main one has been obvious from the beginning, but the secondary one, yeah, not so much. So instead of looking at the ending and being frustrated that I can't get there as soon as I'd like, I'm going to cultivate my ideas, store them as they come to me, and write them down. Every. Single. Day. And eventually, just like with our garden, I'll have produce. It may take longer than the summer, or who knows, maybe one day I'll go from having a few ideas to suddenly knowing the entire thing.

Either way, I plan on sticking with it, no matter what. You know why? Because nothing feels better than showing off something you grew with your own hands. Well maybe one thing does - showing off something you wrote all by yourself.

1 comment:

Susie said...

Go for steps add up. Great thoughts, thanks.